In the fall of 2016 CNMN initiated its first formal study: how people in Canada come to the practice of new music, focusing particularly, but not exclusively on composers. Working in collaboration with experts in musicology, sociology (survey taking) and data visualization, we fashioned what promises to be a revealing study, the preliminary results of which have been presented at ISCM’s World New Music Days in Vancouver, November 2017. Once the full analysis is complete, results and interactive graphs will be shared on CNMN’s website; we are also investigating journal publication. The report below describes work carried out only to year-end, June 30, 3017.
The expert collaborators include: Mary Ingraham, Prof. of Musicology, University of Alberta (U of A); Gillian Stevens, Prof. of Sociology, U of A; Deanna Yerichuk, post-doctoral Fellow, U of A; sociology graduate student Aleena Hafez Amjad; Ross Waring (PhD USC), specialist in data visualization.
Discussion among this group, as well as community partners Canadian League of Composers, the Canadian Music Centre and ECM+’s Generation project, refined the thrust of the study: how the pathways to a life in new music may have changed over the past number of decades; gender and diversity; regional variations; and any changes in the importance of traditional musical literacy. The study also identifies events, perceptions, and experiences that propel some people into composition rather than some other musical occupation.
Work began in earnest in January with a series of interviews that tested the investigators’ assumptions of how people come to new music, and revealed what kind of range we might encounter. Over the ensuing months, questions were proposed and refined by the working group of Mary Ingraham, Gillian Stevens, Jennifer Waring, with Deanna Yerichuk and Aleena Hafez Amjad contributing critically towards the end.
This takes us to June 30. Next steps include CNMN’s subscription to a Canadian survey service, which, though slightly more expensive than the usual Survey Monkey, is not subject to American privacy legislation – an important consideration. In addition to CNMN’s membership list, we have access to those of community partners CLC and CMC, and also, through Canadian Institute for Critical Studies, to the improvising community. Stay tuned for the exciting and important conclusion to Pathways to a Life in New Music.
Submitted by Jennifer Waring, October 2017
Project team members: Jennifer Waring (chair), Mary Ingraham, Gillian Stevens, Deanna Yerichuk, Aleena Amjad Hafeez, Ross Waring