Sunday, 26 April 2009

Why music education ? Inspiring women teachers

Governments slash arts funding, and get away with it because people don't value culture. Yet arts education opens far more doors than people realize. Although it's not narrowly vocational, it opens doors to history, literature, philosophy and the appreciation of human values. Sometimes, anyway. It teaches sensitivity and the ability to intuit feelings from abstractions. Minims and crotchets speak! These habits are useful in most kinds of business, so they have commercial application in many fields.

There's a lot more to music teaching than technical exercise. Good teachers bring out the best in those they teach, inspiring them to learn and create. The latest issue of Signature magazine is now out. (click link) It's devoted to different ways of music education : Clara Schumann, Nadia Boulanger, Elizabeth Maconchy and many others less famous, like Guirne Crieth, and Denise Restout, companion of Wanda Landowska.

Diana Ambache contributes a thoughtful chapter on Nadia Boulanger and her impact on 20th century music. The article on Clara Schumann is by Annemarie Vogt, extensively researched and detailed. These two pieces alone are reference resources. I was also moved by Pam Blevin's tribute to her own, charismatic teacher : a humble person whose impact on others was great.

Signature is rewarding as it approaches music from a different perspective. Women have always played a part in music but they tend to get written out of history because they aren't appreciated. Yet their contributions are significant and unique. Download the current volume (80 pp). It's a good read.

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