If you are reading this note, then you survived Halloween – congratulations! If you’re like me, you stopped at the store on 11/1 to buy discounted candy to hand out to your starving students. Besides sugar and thrift, I’ve been thinking about the lifespan, longevity, and flexibility of our music education pedagogy associations. Because of my work with the Alliance for Active Music Making (https://www.allianceamm.org/) I get to represent GIML and MLT at opening ceremonies and in group presentations where I attempt to provide a little 10-20 minute snapshot of MLT pedagogy. Many of you have joined in this effort: Wendy Valerio, Diane Lange, Heather Shouldice, and others. This means we get to be a guest at other conferences and organizations to see how they are structured and how they come together to share expertise.
Few of us were born into MLT. Most of us started someplace else and either added MLT to our toolbox or jumped in completely. We were the new group on the block for quite a while. Some of us have ties to MTNA, which has been around since 1876, and the venerable Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, filling the concert halls and pubs of Chicago since 1946. How have these groups managed to remain vital and relevant all that time? In the middle are the European models, AOSA, DSA, and OAKE, which have all been serving teachers for over 50 years.
Last month I presented at the American Eurhythmics Society for their 7th national conference; they hold conferences every year. There we were in a classroom with about 40 enthusiastic participants that included all of their founders and many of their instructors. It made me think about the early days of GIML and how exciting it must have been to be part of its inception. For more info on those days, please see all the great material gathered by the Historian Committee, especially Gordon, Diane, and Denise.
Reflecting on these different organizations at different stages of life makes me recall Dr. Gordon’s frequent admonitions about the need for Music Learning Theory to be dynamic and evolving. I felt like he was handing the baton to trusted students who would carry on the mission but also evolve the pedagogy to be applicable and relevant. I think he would be so pleased to see the growth in membership and chapters—westward and outside the U.S.
Thanks for all you do to support MLT and GIML and our continued presence among the influential pedagogies of music education.
Wishing you best wishes,
Butch Marshall, GIML President