That is not to say that there does not exist a strong emphasis on performing modern works; in fact, performance of modern works is strongly encouraged. However, that encouragement to perform modern works seems unsupported by sufficient intellectual preparation. We have courses on baroque performance practice and the song cycles of Schubert, for example. Yet, I find these courses redundant since the style of these periods are thoroughly covered within the performers private lessons. What conservatory students really need is a survey course on the composers, inspirations of those composers, compositional techniques, and musical thought of the 1960's and forward. We need a lecture-series including innovative, contemporary composers as speakers, and not just for the composition department. We need a more interactive forum that will fester with creativity and newness; and one which will provoke active engagement in the music rather than the customary passive complacency that comes with disciplined defining of antiquated styles and performance practices. Upon further research, I was amused to discover that many of the composers of the 1960's have already explored concepts which to me are new and unexplored. Imagine the impact we would have on culture if we caught ourselves up to all that has been done; then we might have more originality and relevance when it comes to what's possible.
Some fundamental attributes of modern music that have been neglected by conservatories:
- conceptual music
- fusions between western classical and the classical music of other nations.
- relationships between music and other Art disciplines
- music and politics
- music and spirituality/mysticism
- I am sure there are a lot of more that I have yet to discover