A Survey on Beijing Academic Forum on Music Education for the 21st Century

On the afternoon of November 1st, 2015, after the Grand Ceremony of Central Conservatory of Music 75th Anniversary, the Beijing Academic Forum on Music Education for the Twenty-first Century launched. It was the most important academic event in the anniversary celebration series.


Professor Wang Cizhao, the President of the Central Conservatory of Music, proposed the establishment of the Beijing Academic Forum on Music Education for the Twenty-first Century. His proposal received very positive responses from the school leaders of many world renowned music educational institutions. The Central Conservatory of Music, the host of this forum, invited 24 school leaders from 24 renowned music institutions all over the world to participate into the academic forum.  These schools included the Juilliard School, Yale School of Music, Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, Hochschule fur Musik und Theater Hamburg, etc. located in North  and Latin America, Europe, Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan regions, and schools in the Mainland of China. Since 2008, the Central Conservatory of Music has hosted a number of international forums successfully participated by the leaders from top music schools all over the world, such as "Musicathlon: the Conservatory Music Festival," "Forum for Presidents of Chinese and Overseas Conservatories" in 2010, and "the 2nd Pacific Alliance of Music Schools Summit" in 2015. The level and the scope of the participating schools extended continuously. CCOM always attaches great importance to the international academic exchanges. The successful cases of holding these events showed that the influences of CCOM increased gradually among music educational institutes globally. At the same time, the events also provide important platforms to connect Chinese and Overseas music institutes.


The Forum was divided into 13 sessions, and each session included one speaker to give a keynote speech and one presider to raise questions according to the speech and organize the audiences to ask questions. The guests are not only the school leaders with many years working experiences, but also excellent musicians, composers, or musicologists. The attendees and the colleagues from other schools were inspired more from these educational elites' speeches and discussions to understand broader academic perspectives and prospects.  The 13 speeches and all questions closely focused on the theme of "music education for the 21st century." Under such a blooming development in media and internet of today's global environment, they discussed following three aspects on adjusting the construction of curriculum of music education in colleges and universities and clarifying the goal of the music education.



1, Change & Persistence


In the twenty-first century, flourishing internet, advanced technology, and rich information of multimedia not only provided a convenient path for the transmission of our music education, but also made new demands for the contents and model of music education. On the one hand, the opportunities of live performance by especially classical music artists decreased rapidly because of variety and convenience ways to transmit audio and video files through internet. The copyright issue on performing arts becomes more and more serious. On the other hand, rely on the advanced technology, it becomes much easier for musicians to make recordings and broadcast their music through the internet globally. And the popularity of distance learning programs offered more and more chance for all the people to study music. More importantly, the fusion of different music genres in multicultural environment provided more contents for the music education. In such a competitive and challenging time, the Dean of Eastman School of Music Jamal J. Rossi pointed out, "we must start by acknowledging that (we) simply cannot teach students everything they possibly need to know in the rest of their lives." Therefore, what proper changes we should make with the music education in college? And what are the purposes of our music education we should persist in the new environment? These are the questions that music educators in the twenty-first century must face up to.



President Joseph W. Polisi/The Juilliard School 

President Joseph W. Polisi/The Juilliard School
Dean Fred Bronstein/Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University 


Dean Robert Blocker/Yale School of Music 

Dean Robert Blocker/Yale School of Music
Interim President Thomas Novak/New England Conservatory 

Director Gretchen Amussen/Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris 

Director Gretchen Amussen/Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris
Director Xavier Bouvier/Haute ecole de musique de Geneve 

The President of the Juilliard School Joseph Polisi introduced that some of the faculty members of Juilliard School developed new teaching method by combining digital media and network technologies in music, dance and drama courses. He also pointed out that young musicians in the twenty-first century need to gain the influence not only through their excellent music performance, but also through their speaking and promotional technique to communicate to the society. They also need to learn about the marketing knowledge and enough computer and network techniques, which can help them to explore more options and control their own destiny after they leave school's educational environments. Ms. Gretchen Amussen, the Director of Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, presented three stories on how the contemporary music ensemble or musicians made a living and transmitted classical music in this modern society. The stories set examples on the relationship between the contemporary electrical and network music environment and the dissemination and development of classical music. The case discussion also related to the issue of musicians' responsibility to the audiences and the society. Director Amussen thought that music education institutes should cultivate the music talents who could create and reform our community with their spirit, generosity and joy in the process of transmitting their music.

President Joel Smirnoff/Cleveland Institute of Music  President Joel Smirnoff/Cleveland Institute of Music
President Walter Adrian/the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts 
Dean Jamal J. Rossi/Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester  Dean Jamal J. Rossi/Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester
Director Richard Kurth/the University of British Columbia School of Music 


Their speeches found an echo in several presidents' talks. Almost all the presidents emphasized that the career of being musicians became more and more competitive and higher music education institute should assist the students to extend and deepen their knowledge structure. However, they also stressed that, no matter how much the curriculum had been changed, we still have to persist in exploring the essence of music. The Dean of Yale School of Music Robert Blocker highlighted the universal value of music education. He thought that "teaching music to children" should be the high priority because music intelligence helped shaping everyone's personality. Music is bringing in hope. It is the sustenance of human emotion and spirit. President Polisi took the art practice project of Juilliard students as an example. He said, when the students went to hospital and even stepped in the ward to play music for the doctors and patients, they felt the straight and warm communication between the listeners and them through music even their play were not perfect. Through these experiences, students perceived the real sense of being performing artists. President Joel Smirnoff of Cleveland Institute of Music addressed the particular meaning of music education on inheriting and exploring culture. In short, " we must enrich the world by engagement with the world through our music." (Dean of Eastman School of Music Jamal J. Rossi) That would be the purpose of our music education.



2, Tradition & Innovation


Another topical issue in this forum was the balance between tradition and innovation on music education. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the cultures around the world have begun to encounter and collision frequently. The continuation of musical education system has been challenged by then. In the first half of the twentieth century, "East meets West" was the core issue of musical culture; then, the coexistence of "Classical and Contemporary" attracted people's attention in the second half of the twentieth century. When we stepped into the twenty-first century, "innovation" has become the key word of our time. Therefore, the relationship between tradition and innovation almost becomes a common problem in front of all the educational institutions. How to promote innovation with traditional strengths in the field of musical education also became the topical issue of the Academic Forum on Music Education for the 21st Century.

Direttore Alessandro Melchiorre/Conseratorio Giuseppe Verdi di Milano  Direttore Alessandro Melchiorre/Conseratorio Giuseppe Verdi di Milano
Director Bernard Lanskey/Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of  Singapore 
President Zhao Talimu/China Conservatory of Music  President Zhao Talimu/China Conservatory of Music
Director Gretchen Amussen/Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris 

The President of Cleveland Institute of Music Joel Smirnoff introduced to the attendees that CIM designed a program integrating the double majors of composition and performance for the students who are talented on both fields. He believed that the innovation on curriculum and program design was based on the historical tradition, namely, almost all the composers were excellent instrument players in the history. As a long-time member of the Juilliard String Quartet and an excellent violist performed on the stage over 20 years, President Smirnoff had very deep understanding on the inseparably connections between composition and performance. He explained that, "the player experiences music from the inside. They do not study it; they know it; they dream about it. It is all memories; it is all in their hearts." The interpretation on the relationship between tradition and innovation matched the point of Direttore of Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi di Milano Alessandro Melchiorre that, the innovation was not only a new thing, but also a different way to see the past.

Dean Rung-Shun Wu/Taipei University of the Arts  Dean Rung-Shun Wu/Taipei University of the Arts
Vice President Isao Matsushita/Tokyo University of the Arts 
President Bertel Krarup/Det Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium  President Bertel Krarup/Det Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium
Mr. Einar Rottingen, Chair of the International Grieg Society/Griegakademiet-Institutt for musikk, Universitetet i Bergen 


The President of China Conservatory of Music Zhao Talimu shared their experiences and procedures on the school's "preserving Chinese traditional music with modern digital technique" project. The purpose of this project is to protect Chinese traditional music and share the treasure with all human beings. Therefore, after the works of recording and analyzing the traditional music with advanced devices and equipment done, China Conservatory of Music would share the resources of these Chinese music culture with the fellows in music education through convenient internet. The Dean of Taipei University of the Arts Wu Rung-shun introduced the special structure of the school. Due to the special historical background of Tai Wan in the twentieth century, western music education system and Taiwan traditional music education system are co-existed in this university. Dean Wu presented some innovations on school curriculum, such as music notation course for the students from both systems, to illustrate the importance of balancing the traditional and innovational resources, which would also be the focus of concern for the Taipei University of the Arts in the following ten years. The President of Det Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium Bertel Krarup introduced that their school's students studied traditional and classical music through distance learning program. With their developed distance learning technology, President Krarup particularly mentioned the good results on Chinese traditional instruments training through their cooperation with Music Confucius Institute of CCOM. 

3, Common Development


In the internationalized environment of the twenty-first century, music education institutions around the world need to accept and respect each other's pedagogy theories and innovational ideas. We should work together to pursue our common development and excellent performance.  It is almost a consensus for all music education institutes. The President of the Juilliard School Polisi said that, "Far from being competitors, we are collectively the protector of traditions that represent some of the best qualities of the human experience." How to make a considerable development of the music education for the twenty-first century through our joint effort was also a core content in a number of presidents' keynote speeches.

President Wang Cizhao/Central Conservatory of Music  President Wang Cizhao/Central Conservatory of Music
President Xu Changjun/Tianjin Conservatory of Music 
President Zdzislaw Lapinski/Academia Muzyczna w Krakowie  President Zdzislaw Lapinski/Academia Muzyczna w Krakowie
Director Francisco Jose Viesca Trevino/Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico 


The host of this forum, the President of CCOM Wang Cizhao raised a proposal of establishing contemporary teaching assessment system for higher music education in China. The proposal took three main types of higher music education institutes in China (music conservatories, music departments in the arts colleges, and music departments or music college in the universities) as the research and implementing object. President Wang addressed eight principles of setting up assessment object, assessment basis, assessment method, etc. and offered many detailed suggestions. This proposal would have a positive significance for the stability and improvement of Chinese higher music education in the future.


Professor Zdzislaw Lapinski, the President of Akademia Muzyczna w Krakowie, introduced the features of music education in Akademia Muzyczna w Krakowie. He also introduced some positive results they had achieved in developing the international cooperation project with the Central Conservatory of Music. At the end of his speech, President Lapinski stated that, in the process of internationalization, we should remember to maintain the uniqueness of our school; it should become a precondition for our schools' development and international cooperation. President Polisi of the Juilliard School also introduced in his speech that Juilliard School and Tianjin Conservatory of Music would cooperate on the establishment of Juilliard School's Tianjin Branch. The new type of partnership of running higher music education around the world would be a new attempt on the common development of higher music education in the twenty-first century.

Rector Ulrike Sych/Universitat fur Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien  Rector Ulrike Sych/Universitat fur Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien
President Elmar Lampson/Hochschule fur Musik und Theater Hamburg 
Dean Kwihyun Kim/College of Music Seoul National University  Dean Kwihyun Kim/College of Music Seoul National University
President Cheng Teyuan/Tainan University of the Arts 


From the overview presented above, we could know that the issues discussed on this forum were not limited within music education, but also related to other educational fields, especially the arts fields. For all the artistic educational institutes, we must face the challenge together which the new environment brings to us and should have a deep thinking on the art education in this century. Over the years, the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing signed intercollegiate exchange agreements with over forty world renowned music conservatories and arts universities, invited a number of famous musicians and musicologists to come and conduct master classes and lectures, and also awarded over twenty maestros and scholars the title of Honorary Professor or the title of Guest Professor of our school. The extensive and frequent international exchange and the deep thinking for the purpose of music education have benefited the development of the Central Conservatory of Music in the twenty-first century. Our school would continually lead the exploration of Chinese music institutes and overseas counterparts on various levels, and create a new pattern of Chinese music education in the twenty-first century!





作者:by Wang Xiaoxi/photo:Xu Rui,Li Shaolu   来源:中央音乐学院   最后更新日期:2015-11-25 16:14:34    发布日期:2015-11-23 09:49:00