A Reflection on Music Coursework

I presented a paper this weekend at the New Directions in Music Education Conference at Michigan State University. Throughout the sessions, presenters discussed approaches to student-centered opportunities that addressed such issues as popular music, world music, composition, improvisation, digital media, among others. While collaboration was brought up within music education programs, it is also important that we reach outside of our departments to collaborate with ethnomusicologists, jazz faculty, and composers. This raises several issues including differing discourses (both in the classroom and in research practice) and the ability to bring others “to the table” as partners in towards the same goals (life-long musicians and educators, in the broadest sense).

Ultimately, team-taught courses that are inter-disciplinary would be ideal; the time of adding a course for each competency has long outlasted its usefulness (if one could ever say that approach was beneficial). I realize the notion of programs giving up FTE to address common goals between programs cuts against the grain of most programs in higher education and requires large systemic change. This is exactly what I propose is necessary for programs to be proactive instead of reactive and flexibility instead of static in the 21st century.

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