As most of us have likely experienced firsthand, music teachers are inherently creative people. New York professional-pianist-turned-music-educator Adam Goldberg has taken creativity in the classroom to a whole new level. He discovered a way to serve students with disabilities that expands the boundaries of music education. Goldberg uses tablet computers to allow kids with challenges the opportunity to play and enjoy music. "We have some really, really low-functioning students who I could never really involve in the music activities," Goldberg says. "But the iPad has pretty much taken care of that. I can't say I have 100 percent involvement. But it's pretty close." Students use keyboard, guitar shredder, recording and other apps on the tablets to create and produce music, which would not normally be possible with acoustic instruments. This report from NPR's "Morning Edition" is worth a listen below, where you can hear inspiring stories of achievement as well as some of the tablet-created music.
Music education after No Child Left Behind: music classes still prevalent, but limited access for many students
New research published earlier this month in Pacific Standard reported that music classes continued to serve students despite fears that "No Child Left Behind" would reduce access. "It should be heartening for most music teachers to learn that a core group of just over one-third of all U.S. high school students, for nearly 30 years, has consistently chosen to enroll in a music class," said researcher Kenneth Elpus. There was also troubling news in the study, which tracked 9th through 12th-grade music class enrollemnt from 1982 to 2009. The report showed under-representation in Hispanic students, students with Individualised Education Plans and English Language Learner students. Advocacy efforts among teachers, parents, administrators and the music industry have been effective at keeping music strong in our schools; however, we have work to do. Visit the Advocacy portion of our website for tolls and resources to advocate for music education.
Last week, the U.S. Senate confirmed President Obama's appointment to chair the National Endowment for the Arts – Jane Chu. Chu previously helped build and run Kansas City's stunning new performing arts center, the Kauffman Center. Chu succeeds Broadway producer Rocco Landesman, who left the NEA in December, 2012. As chair of the NEA, Chu will become the face of the arts and public funding for the arts in the U.S. Music for All is proud recipient of several grants from the National Endowment for the Arts over the past few years. Since its founding in 1965, the Endowment has provided over $5 billion in public support for the arts.
Across the pond, the British Broadcasting Company just launched a new music education initiative to introduce young students to classical music, harnessing the creativity found in classical music to inspire children. The program selected 10 pieces across the classical music spectrum to provide an entry point to classical music for primary school students. BBC will utilize workshops and performances in schools to promote the program, utilizing the BBC Orchestras and Singers. While very similar to other symphony concerts for children, the nationally-based program displays the UK's commitment to music in schools. The list – found here – ranges from Handel to Stravinsky, and even a new percussion piece from young composer Anna Meredith. As a horn player, I'm thrilled that Mozart's 4th Horn Concerto is well represented, but the pianist in me is searching for a Bach piece on the list. What are your thoughts of the list?
This summer, the world has turned its attention to Brazil for the 2016 FIFA World Cup. Just here in the MFA office, I've noticed a few staffers catching up on the world's most watched sporting event (yes, even more viewership than the Olympics) while making final preparations for the MFA Summer Symposium. All the attention the World Cup receives is a boon for marketers across the world, and they're using music to connect the global marketplace. "The World Cup is universal. Music is universal too," said Joe Belliotti, director of global entertainment marketing at Coca-Cola, in a recent AP article. "And if you can find that simple melody and simple lyrical idea that can translate and connect with people around the world, that's the formula we strive for." Coca-Cola has created a song, "The World is Ours," and translated the song for 32 countries, featuring local artists. Those 32 versions have hit Top 10 charts in 40 countries, connecting and engaging with millions of customers. If you're more into the classical fare, opera superstar Placido Domingo will be performing before the World Cup finale on July 13, continuing his 30+ year tradition of performing at the sporting event.