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University of South Carolina hosts summit on the future of music schools

“21st Century Music School Design” will be held at the School of Music June 3-5

With 230 attendees from 48 states, Canada, Europe and Australia, “21st Century Music School Design” will be unlike the familiar academic conference. Music educators will share ideas, learn from one another and collaborate, focusing on three questions – one specific question each day: Why are we here? What should we teach? How do we make this change happen?

Sponsored by The College Music Society, “CMS Summit: 21st Century Music School Design” will be held at the University of South Carolina School of Music June 3-5, 2016.

The summit will consider solutions music schools can take to best prepare students for today's realities – not through an inflexible formula – but by defining and designing distinct approaches relevant to each music program’s mission. Participants should emerge with a concrete framework for advancing change within their home institutions.

“This CMS Summit represents the kind of experiential and collaborative engagement that our profession so badly needs,” said Tayloe Harding, USC School of Music dean. “In the history of the music in higher education industry there has never been an event like this. We are so pleased to have been able to leverage the University of South Carolina’s School of Music and its national leadership role in progressive education for tomorrow’s music professionals. By partnering with the College Music Society to use its dynamic summit format, we are gathering many leaders in music higher education to focus on the three questions to make the designs of our music schools more sensitive to and influencing of the future. Together and in teams we will explore and discover methods for pursuing change and evolution in musical instruction – both purely musical and not purely musical – that our students must experience and that society already demands of us.”

Keynote speaker Aaron Dworkin, dean at University of Michigan, will address “The World That Welcomes Our Graduates.” “48 Big Ideas at a Fast Tempo” – short TED-like talks – considers 21st-century values underlying music curricula while suggesting strategies for re-imagining traditional requirements. Participants will form interdisciplinary teams to design new 21st-century music performance, education and baccalaureate music degrees. There will also be a focus on the process of change, examining vision and implementation approaches of progressive institutions that have already undergone significant evolution.

Summit director David Cutler, USC associate professor of music entrepreneurship and author of “The Savvy Musician,” change expert Elizabeth Hinckley, founder of DefCult, and an impressive roster of 90 presenters representing the full range of disciplines and institution types will help shape the conversation. On this list are a number of leaders who have overseen major change initiatives and contributed to the national dialogue, including Shelton Berg (Miami), Robert Cutietta (Southern California), Tayloe Harding (South Carolina), Richard Kessler (Mannes), Mark McCoy (DePauw), David Myers (Minnesota), Mary Ellen Poole (UT Austin), Timothy Rice (UCLA), Ed Sarath (University of Michigan), Brian Pertl (Lawrence), and others.

“In a world defined by disruptive technology, it is essential that we train music students to become engaged, relevant citizens with sustainable career paths. While there are many potential approaches, one thing is clear: change is necessary. Success tomorrow will not look like it did yesterday,” said Cutler. “This summit is designed as a think tank for music in higher education. With a dual focus on product and process, our goal is to challenge assumptions, unlock imaginations, celebrate leadership and build community. We hope attendees emerge with practical solutions and the courage to dream, as well as excitement about an uncertain but spectacular future that values music and music education as never before.”

The Summit is complemented by the “SAVVY Musician in Action,” an experiential arts entrepreneurship workshop held June 7–12, directed by David Cutler and held at the University of South Carolina.

For more information:
The College Music Society Summit web page
SAVVY Musician in Action web page