Positivity in Music Education

I believe that we are at a crossroads in music education, one that will determine how and why students learn and study music in the next few decades and that decisions made today will strongly impact the next 50 years in our field.

               The rise and influence of digital music making, cuts to the arts and music programs, the decline of student population participating in traditional ensembles such as band, choir, and orchestra, and the burgeoning field of AI-created music are all debates that will need to be addressed as the 21st century enters its third and fourth decades. How music educators will adapt to modern musicianship and what are important concepts for us to teach our students will be contemplated as we attempt to make sense of the changing musical world around us.

               It’s easy to get bogged down in the negativity of it all; the pressures on music education seem to be coming from every corner. How do we cultivate and foster a positive worldview and resist the allure of cynicism when it seems like music education itself is under siege? Finding the antidote for negativity can be as simple as turning towards the positive voices in our profession.  An important voice for positivity is composer and music educator Vaughan Fleischfresser, who you can find on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/VFleischfresser

What I like about his posts are his gentle reminders about how important music is in our schools and our lives, the positive impact that being involved in music programs can provide, and the large picture reminder of how important music educators can be to their students. He is able to tap into the essence of why many of us became music educators in the first place and has a refreshing dose of positive energy in an increasingly cynical profession.

               In this season of festivals, contests, and concerts, it’s easy to get bogged down and embrace the negative aspects of a profession that is in flux. How do you choose to embrace the positive on the daily? How can we better spend time lifting each other up instead of the natural comparison that so many of us seemingly dwell on? Let’s be kind to one another out there and remember that the first one to be kind with is yourself. You are doing great work.

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