International symposium on 1st and 2nd December –Provinciaal Domein Dommelhof, Neerpelt
For two richly filled days, with participants from Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Portugal, Musica hosted the symposium Musicaklassen Extra: a glimpse of an educational future? With a week of real Musicaklassen in the background, the diverse group of participants were introduced to Musica’s ideas about music education, divided into four topics: listening, communicating, embodying and ‘musical thinking’. The aim was to subject our own approach to the critical gaze of specialists from Belgium and abroad. How do we look at musical development and why do we believe it is important? Which approaches are the most relevant? How do we deal with the widespread lack of active musical experiences among participants? What role can or should tradition play in this? Why is music so important in the curriculum and how can we stimulate music education?
Various participants gave presentations of their own, which often provided interesting links with Musica’s work and references to inspiring contexts. A discussion of the film Alphabet by Erwin Wagenhofer (2013) – which was quite provocative – led to intense exchanges. How do we balance structure and freedom, tradition and innovation? What does science have to say about these dichotomies? What models can we offer as support, and why? What role does the artistic play in all this, and what significance do we grant it?
As the keynote speaker, Lode Vermeersch of the HIVA Research Institute for Work and Society at the KU Leuven presented his vision of the formation of theories on cultural education based on research connected to Barend Van Heusden’s Cultuur in de Spiegel. It was a challenging topic, all the more so because many participants believed that the ‘time-based’ art forms (particularly music and dance, but to an extent drama and multimedia as well) do not really fit into the model all that well. This was a fundamental debate that will hopefully be continued!
The general conclusion was that the development of musical imagination and the creation of one’s own music must not be the icing on the cake, but must constitute the epicentre of every form of musical education, from the very earliest beginnings.