Saturday, November 24, 2012

Music's Box

Why educate children to meet the standards set by an older generation when the standards they will have to meet are embodied in the needs of their own generation?

"Far From the Tree," Andrew Solomon's brilliant new book on identity, is really a book about community based on a dynamic of empathetic acceptance by both generations: parents and children.  The community of learners I have fostered since 1985 is based on attentive acceptance embodied in music--principally contemporary music, the music of our time, including improvisation.

Children educated in such an environment learn more than subject matter.  They learn curiosity about otherness; they learn to find themselves in a diversified culture.  This, their future, was for many people in my generation a negative experience, i.e., an experience of having to hide otherness, whether because of brilliance, or intellectual, physical, or perceptual challenge.

Music study has long been associated with conformity.  Let's get music out of its box.