Music institutions are prone to categorizing and separating students from each other. They offer degrees in many areas of specialization that concern performance, education, composition and musicology.
Unfortunately, they’re not prone to demonstrating how these specialties work together to contribute to the Big Picture. Does this system lead us to believe that we’re more unrelated than we are?
I propose an addition to school course calendars everywhere: The Big Picture 101.
How does music spread its influence? How does music survive?
My theory is that for music to have a lasting impact, the above-mentioned specialties would have to work together in close synchronicity. Of course, there are other forces that will contribute such as politics, environment, culture and geography but The Big Picture 101 would focus on what’s practical for people working in the music industry.
It’s more than a history class, although there could be historical elements. History focuses a lot of its attention on pinnacle figures… Bach, Miles, Callas, Elvis etc. Although they’re all major contributors, it’s not the Big Picture.
In the Big Picture, the elementary school music teacher is just as critical to the equation as the performer on the world stage. Future heroes have to come from somewhere, maybe they’re studying with you?! But forget the heroes. What about future average Joes? How will they contribute?
… Undoubtedly, with a more cultured perspective, which would rub off on their family, friends, colleagues and descendants. ‘Lineage’ and ‘community’ would then be an important theme in The Big Picture.
Maybe your teaching gig isn’t as lame as you think? After all, we’re all making an impact; we’re all contributing to the Big Picture!