The Second European Music School Symposium that took place from 10 to 11 October in Vienna focused extensively on the topic of collaboration. In total, over 140 researchers and experts took part in the symposium. The event spotlighted 32 diverse presentations of research findings from all over Europe together with panel discussions and keynotes from renowned experts of 25 European countries.
The European Music School Union not only actively took part in the organisation of the symposium but also contributed by the diligent participation of its board members and by several joint presentations involving researchers and experts on music schools. During the final panel discussion, the EMU President Philippe Dalarun was interviewed on his vision of music schools in Europe in the 21st century. You can find his statement below.
“The first point I want to make, and it is very important, is the diversity of music education systems in Europe. Each country has its own history, traditions, socio-economic context, way of thinking and vision of the future. It is better to be involved in the process of knowing and respecting others rather than judging. We can learn from each other and exchange good practices, but we cannot try to impose one system over another. I am sure that music schools will evolve and strengthen their common values but will remain diverse: it is a richness for our continent, culture and democracy.
On a personal level, I am convinced that the connections between the different arts – music, dance, theatre, visual arts, etc. are essential and will intensify, but I respect art school-based and music school-based systems equally. The important thing is to believe in our own values while remaining open-minded and ready to move forward.
To be a little provocative, I would say that the “music” schools of the 21st century would have to deal above all with music and art, on a purely artistic and pedagogical level. Music and art are the essence of our humanity and in this sense are indispensable to us.
In an ideal world, that would be more than enough!
However, our world is far from perfect: climate change, violence, terrorism, socio-economic and migration crises, threats to democracy, etc. In this context, music and art represent a fantastic potential for creating social cohesion, well-being, respect, cooperation and communication between human beings, and an exceptional capacity to create and innovate.
Collaborations and partnerships then become all the more important because of their ability to act on society as a whole, in the educational, social, health and citizenship fields.
Cooperation with university research is therefore crucial to evaluate our action, measure our impact on society and have a higher weight on public policies.
As for the development of access to music education for a wider audience, this concerns the issue of equality and democratization. However, the place “par excellence” of democratization is the school. That is why I invite to strengthen collaboration and partnerships with schools everywhere and at all levels. In the same way, it is important to invest in all areas of society: kindergartens, hospitals, nursing homes, social centres, etc., for which music can be a source of achievement or well-being.
To conclude, beyond music and art education, it is a much broader issue aimed at building a society of respect and tolerance. This is only possible through the transmission of our magnificent European heritage leading to the development of common culture and values, without which there can be no life in society. But it is also essential to take into account particularities and cultures inside and outside Europe. Finally, everyone can come together in creative and innovative actions to invent our heritage of tomorrow.
Music education and the practice of the arts represent the seeds of a new humanism that Europe needs most”.
The detailed report of the symposium could be found here.