The big point that critics of college teaching fail to understand is that teaching music is more than just teaching music. A good teacher connects the great musicians and musical works of the past with the present, while paving the road for the future.
Looking around, listening around, culture is as stylistically non-hegemonic as I’ve ever experienced. But parallel to that is a kind of greater semiotic compartmentalization: the vast majority of cultural artifacts I encounter keenly announce their stylistic allegiance early and often.
Evan Ware suggests that his piece is an invitation for an interpretative dialog between his listeners’ experiences and his music’s ingrained symbols. Yet, even if we accept this premise, how do we evaluate the way pieces of music, and their composers, foster the formation of listeners’ interpretations?
There’s a lot of blame to spread around for our music appreciation downgrade, but I think there’s a single phenomenon that’s working harder than all the others: the constant bombardment of music functioning as an aspect of an environment.
In the past four years, a new cash spigot has been cranked open for contemporary arts funding across the nation: Creative Placemaking. If current arts policy trends continue, then new music’s institutional vibrancy might depend on how it fits into this rubric, interfacing with communities on levels rarely considered in the past such as neighborhood pride, commercial impact, and livability.
Whether you’re a composer or a musician or an enthusiast, I know you’re probably pressed for time, but chances are your perspective is not being represented. If you don’t share it, who will?
Assumptions are baked into every aspect of music notation, often layered one on top of the other, and they color the kinds of music we can make. Make too many wrong assumptions about a notation and you’ll quickly dig yourself into a hole.
New music proponents are uniquely qualified to stop worrying about the Major Symphony Orchestra in favor of much more productive—and yes, more American—channels.
There’s a belief among musicians that there is a cabal of jazz writers, reporters, and critics who influence, undermine, and control jazz musicians. As someone who has had the tremendous privilege of working as a jazz writer, reporter, radio station music/program director, documentarian, and essayist for 25 years, I can honestly say that no such cabal exists.
Since we’re constantly talking about 21st-century music on this site and we’re not even a sixth of the way through the 21st century, it should be fair game to reminisce about 2014.