Death By Music Education: University Of Texas Fine Arts Dean Calls For An Overhaul In The Education Of Musicians At First Conference On Music Entrepreneurship
With a career in music being second in competitiveness only to professional sports, Dr. Robert Freeman, dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin, plans to call for major changes in the education of musicians at the first U.S. conference on music entrepreneurship. The Brevard Conference on Music Entrepreneurship (BCOME, http://www.bcome.org) will be held July 14-16, 2006, at the Brevard Music Center in Western North Carolina, one of the nation's leading music training programs.
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Saying that "music is a seductive art but a terrible way to make a living," Freeman, who for 24 years was director of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, says it is imperative to improve the demand for the employment of musicians. "It is not realistic for any young musician to sit around waiting for lightning to strike and spontaneously launch a concert career," Freeman said. "The chance that it will do so is almost nil.
"Music education provides too narrow a focus. A great many music students not only do not achieve anything approaching a liberal arts education but are seriously deficient in the skills of thinking, reading, writing, and speaking -- all of which will be necessary for the success of musicians in the new millennium," said Freeman.
Freeman will share his insights, along with some of the country's major musicians, teachers, and entrepreneurs at the three-day conference established to help musicians explore career tracks beyond the traditional job pathways. Thought provoking and innovative, BCOME offers workshops, lectures and instruction on how to envision and establish one's own career as a music entrepreneur, with unique tracks specifically tailored for performers, college faculty and industry professionals.
"The conference will help performers learn how to earn a living doing what they love," says Michael Drapkin, BCOME executive director.
According to Freeman, music schools today are developing too many narrowly trained specialists -- and too few musical generalists in the mode of a Leonard Bernstein, who was a conductor, composer, pianist and teacher. "How many young musicians are we developing these days that can compose, perform, and teach in the breadth of musical repertories that Bernstein controlled?" asked Freeman.
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