FFC welcomes back Guest Contributor Amy Dennison, Director of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s Preparatory Department. Always offering plenty to think about, Amy shares her thoughts on why our kids should make music to experience music – no matter how they make it. Her words make “listening” to Parker’s solos on her new drum machine (thanks Uncle Dwight) a bit more bearable.
At a recent conference, I had the privilege of learning from Eric Booth, one of the finest experts in arts education. He spoke about “art for many sakes.” With much optimism, Eric talked about engaging people in the arts in accesible ways. Public murals, created by professionals and community members alike, pepper Philadelphia. Yarn bombers take to urban sites and add original colorful additions to lamp posts and busses. And in a recent New York Times Magazine I read an article titled “You Tunes.” It echoes this concept of engaging those who otherwise might not consider themselves “artistic” or “creative” into the creative process.
The premise of the article was how users of smart phones and other techno gadgetry can create and play music in a variety of ways that is user friendly as well as engaging. The author Rob Walker notes that at the turn of the 20th century, “the principal way of distributing songs was on sheet music and piano rolls. The principal machine for rendering them was an educated daughter.” This resonates with me, since the Conservatory where I work, began in 1867 specifically to offer piano training for young women! And back then so many people made music in order to experience music.
Flash forward to 2011. Perhaps today, despite declining arts education in schools, some will find their way into the arts via these electronic instruments. When someone is actively engaged in an experience, they understand it and support it. And that’s what we all need to nourish the arts and our spirits.