Round Tables

Round Table 1

Creative Music Education: the Key to the Future

  • Moderator: Louise Campbell, Clarinetist / Educator / Member of the CNMN Board of Directors
  • Mary Dinn: President, CMEA (St. John’s)
  • Iwan Edwards: Artistic Director, Concerto Della Donna (Montréal)
  • Tawnie Olson: Composition Instructor, ACES Educational Center for the Arts (New Haven, USA)
  • Valerie Peters: Professor of Music Educations, Université Laval (Québec)
  • Theodora Stathopoulos: President, QMEA / Music Educator, FACE (Montréal)

The music lovers of tomorrow begin their journey in today’s classrooms. If today’s kids get excited about music, they will be more likely to make music a part of their adult life, whether as amateur musicians, concert goers, avid listeners, music educators or professional artists.

What are the issues involved in making music in the classroom, and more specifically, making the music of today in today’s classrooms? Teachers in the class are faced with many challenges: students of varying levels of knowledge, ability and aptitude; limited class time, equipment and budgetary constraints, expectations and pressures from the school’s administration and students’ parents, and curriculum requirements from the provincial Ministries of Education. The guests of this panel present real-life experience, knowledge and advice in creating situations that help kids be excited about today’s music.

Round Table 2

Audience Development: Creative Music Strategies

  • Moderator: Patricia Abbott, Executive Director, ACCC (Montréal)
  • René Bosc: Composer / Head of Music, Radio-France (Paris)
  • Coat Cooke: Artistic Director, New Orchestra Workshop Society (Vancouver)
  • Nancy Evans: Education Manager, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (RU | UK)
  • Matt Haimovitz: Cellist / Educator, Université McGill (Montreal)
  • Alex Pauk: Composer / Music Director and Conductor, Esprit Orchestra (Toronto)

Who is listening? The average concert hall is filled mainly with people who already attend concerts on a regular basis. If this is the case, then live contemporary music is getting to a very restricted number of people — so how do we get to everybody else, to all of those people who don’t usually go to concerts? The marketing buzzword is audience development, and the interest is sincere; music has the potential to speak to anyone, regardless of their demographic or manner of engaging with the music. The guests of this panel share their innovative thinking, motivation, strategies and initiatives in reaching out to a larger, more diverse public.

Round Table 3

Creative Music, Education and Society: a Critical Connection

  • Moderator: Nicole Doucet, Director of Arts Disciplines, Canada Council for the Arts (Ottawa)
  • Claude de Grandpré: Artistic Director, Théâtre Hector-Charland (L’Assomption) Raffi Armenian: Director, Conservatoire de musique de Montréal
  • R. Murray Schafer: Composer & Music Educator (Indian River)

Presently, there is little connection between creative music making and the current education system. However, Forum 2009 brings together many of those who experience this rare and powerful connection, and there’s a lot to learn from them!

At every stage of the public school system, Canadians find countless opportunities to learn art by creating their own art — when it comes to literary and visual arts, that is. In music class, they are taught to re-create the compositions of others, or at best, to improvise within a preconceived framework (i.e. jazz). For this reason, the art of creative music making remains an alien phenomenon to the majority of both amateur and serious music students. Can we really wonder, then, why the average member of society has such difficulty appreciating a work of creative music, compared to a new work of literature or visual art?

This disparity among the arts in the educational system is partly due to economic factors: most jobs require strong language skills, not musical skills. The result is a cycle that works to the detriment of musical culture: students are not given a chance to create music, they go on to become uncritical music consumers, and those who pursue creative music struggle to exist and to connect with their potential listeners. How can we break this cycle? Is it in the whole of society’s interest to invest in the education of musical creation? What kind of society would we see if creative music had an important, critical connection with it?