Analysis December 2021: Under the spotlight


This month, the future of UK conservatoire education will be discussed at a London conference. How can educators best help their students to become 21st-century musicians? By Peter Somerford

Against a backdrop of Covid, the climate crisis and Brexit challenges, and the impact of global social justice movements such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, conservatoires in the UK are realising they must do more to respond to societal and industry changes. In December, conservatoire and industry representatives will come together at London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama for a one-day conference to discuss the implications of a conceptual paper, ‘Musicians as “Makers in Society”’ ( published in August in Frontiers in Psychology: Performance Science. The paper calls for a paradigm shift in conservatoires’ teaching priorities to enable students to become ‘makers in society’. Musicians, it argues, should have creative ownership of their output, and not merely be interpreters of canonic notated repertoire; they should be curators of their performance and be able to explore diverse settings and contemporary contexts; and their music should be both socially relevant and interactively engaging for audiences…

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