The future of classical music comes down to creative education - two writers share their viewpoints
Julliard-trained violinist and writer Emma Sutton-Williams has written an article for Rolling Stone magazine titled, "Julliard Must Modernize, or It Will Disappear," arguing that in order to keep classical music alive for the future, music conservatories need to be more innovative in their education to connect and draw parallels to popular culture. Read her view and a response to her article by local music educator and entrepreneur Ashley Danyew.
Sutton-Williams points out that the way music has and is being taught, from beginners to the conservatory level, has not changed for decades. She suggests that for classical music to remain relevant for a new generation of listeners and musicians, we must find ways to link the old and the new. Whether one is studying the compositions of Bach and Tchaikovsky, or the music of Springsteen, Taylor Swift and Sting, the fundamentals are the same. Whether it is Baroque, Classical or Romantic music, or the music of Broadway, gaming or films, there are parallels that can should be taught to make classical music relevant for the future. It is no longer enough simply to develop great performers.
You can read the full Rolling Stone article here.
In response to this article, musician, educator, writer and entrepreneur Ashley Danyew presents this blog "The Case for Musicianship Skills" (My Response to the Rolling Stone Article).
As Danyew points out, the Rolling Stone article prompted a great deal of discussion in the classical music world, as well as at her own dinner table. She and her husband Steve, a composer and musicpreneur, frequently have long talks about this kind of topic over dinner.
Danyew talks about how teaching at the conservatory level hasn't changed since the 19th century, yet music has changed. Instead of studying the same canon of classical music, much of which was created by white men, why not explore the diversity of styles of music, discovering the commonalities, rather than the differences? After all, musicians today use many of the same compositional skills, techniques and motifs of the great composers of the past. But these skills could be taught in a way that will serve the whole student for a variety of circumstances.