Magazine article The Canadian Music Educator

Sociomusicology: A New Dimension for Canadian Music Teacher Education (Professor Emeritus) Donald A. McKellar the University of Western Ontario

Magazine article The Canadian Music Educator

Sociomusicology: A New Dimension for Canadian Music Teacher Education (Professor Emeritus) Donald A. McKellar the University of Western Ontario

Article excerpt

I wish to thank the members of the executive for the privilege and pleasure of speaking to this, the 1971 Convention of the Canadian Music Educators' Association. I am sure I, along with all of us here, feel a special glow, a unique Canadian pride, that must go with being in Charlottetown, P.E.I. Charlottetown has great significance to Canadians. We who believe in Canada with its great history, difficult problems, and unlimited potential know that much of the realization of the Canadian fact began in this charming city in this beautiful island province.

For the Canadian Music Educators' Association to meet in Charlottetown is of special significance. It means that the CMEA is symbolically aware of its role of national leadership, just as over a hundred years ago men of vision met to chart the future of the nation itself. Those of us here today, who are the CMEA, must assume this role of leadership and the responsibility for the future of music in Canada. I believe that the CMEA is well-equipped to take this responsibility and that we are prepared to give the time and energies for leadership.

In our session this morning, we are looking at one of the most crucial areas in the future of music education in our country; this is the area of music teacher education. As we stand on the brink of the last quarter of this twentieth century, we are aware, as perhaps as never before in the history of man, of the extraordinary potential within our grasp and of the enormous complexity of the future that we must face. The professional music teacher tomorrow must reach for much more than just the one dimensional school music teacher of the past. It is this teacher and his training that I wish to discuss today and to suggest, if possible, a broad new dimension expanding our traditional concept into that of a community music teacher.

Our Canadian school music programs have taken tremendous strides over the past century, and particularly during the past two decades. In the matter of teacher training alone, we now have over twenty-four universities involved in preparing musicians for the future and by far the majority of the students studying in these universities are planning to teach. The new music department here at Prince Edward Island University is an example of this rapid and recent proliferation of schools and departments designed to graduate the practical musicians, the teacher-conductors of the future.

However, I do not plan to dwell on the past but on the future. In 1780, John Adams said,

"I must study politics and more, that my son may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give his children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain"

I would contend, Ladies and Gentlemen, that we are now, two centuries later, at the time when our children have the right and, indeed, the urgent need to study painting, poetry, and music. Thus, we, as teachers, must be even better equipped and better prepared to minister to this right and necessity.

And Canada is a most fortunate country in this regard. Perhaps no country in the world is better prepared to give its children the tools and the time to live with the high arts. The sixties have made us aware, often through the clamour of the young and the more impatient elements of our society, of our one dimensional society. The sixties have made us aware of the disproportionate amount of time and energy taken in the pursuit of the "increasing gross national product." We are, as never before, aware of the physical exploitation of our environment. We are aware of the depressing economic problems and their resultant political and social conflicts. No thinking Canadian today can ignore the confrontation of the French and English fact in our country. We cannot take ourselves for granted and I for one do not believe in the statement that one commentator made at the last Commonwealth conference, "Canadians are the most boring people in the world. …

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