Music – The Challenge Ahead
Technological advances continue to transform our lives at work, at home and in our leisure activities. Susan Haltam discusses their impact on music in Britain.
In the latter part of the XX century, we saw a rapid increase in the opportunities available for listening to music through radio, TV, records, tapes, CDs, videos and a rapidly developing range of multi-media techniques. Along with this, there has been a decline in the performance of live music and in the full-time employment opportunities for professional musicians.
Indeed, a society without music is surely unthinkable and it seems that the issue is not whether there will be music in the XXI century but what the nature of that music will be; and also whether there will be a continued perceived need for people to learn to play musical instruments.
In addition to its vocational significance, there is a growing body of evidence that playing an instrument may be beneficial to the development of skills at an earlier stage. Research in the USA has suggested that listening to or actively making music has a direct positive effect on spatial reasoning, one aspect of the measurement of intelligence.
Taking the idea behind such findings one stop further, current research is investigating to what extent playing an instrument may even encourage the development of transferable skills. For instance, the need to practise regularly may assist in the acquisition of good study habits and focused concentration; playing j in concerts may encourage habits of punctuality and good organisation.
While there are many possible scenarios, I believe that two possibilities are likely. Firstly, the kinds of music to which people will listen will become more diverse. New genres will develop which will integrate different styles. Secondly, there will be an increase in the use of technologyto compose and perform music. This will widen access to composition as there will be less reliance on technical skill but at the same time, it is likely to further reduce the need for live performance and musicians whose role is solely related to it.
If this vision of the future is to be realised, what does the music profession need to do in preparation? The focus of instrumental tuition will need to change. Ways will need to be found to enable more people to learn to play a range of instruments, throughout their life span.
Crucial to the success of the process will be the training of musicians. They will need to be able to motivate, inspire and teach learners of all ages, develop skills for working with large and diverse groups and acquire the communication, social, entrepreneurial and management skills necessary for community work.
Finally, we need to strive towards raising the profile of music itself. Music plays a crucial role in our lives but all too often it is taken for granted. Those involved in the music profession at all levels need to work actively together to ensure that this changes.
A) As a result, the impact on the instrumental curriculum and the measures used to assess progress through it will be such that they will need to adapt to maintain their relevance for a broader sector of the population. Ultimately, they will need to encompass a wider range of musical skills.
B) For all these reasons, there is likely to be a continuing demand for instrumental teaching in the short term. What about the longer term picture? Is there likely to be a shift in focus and. if so, what direction will it take?
С) I would respond to the latter question on a positive note. The music industry is one of the major generators of income in Britain and musical skill and talent will continue to be important in preparing individuals to work in a variety of professions, in particular those related to the media.
D) This represents a fundamental change from traditional practice and it will be accompanied by the need to respond to demands for public accountability. Viewed positively, this should provide an opportunity for all those involved in music education to demonstrate the high quality of music tuition available.
E) There seems little doubt that the widening access to music is likely to continue, fulfilling as it does so many human needs. On a national level, no major stale occasion is without music. For individuals, it provides opportunities for numerous activities, formal and informal.
F) One of the best-recognised functions is that of providing an outlet for emotional expression. Its influence on our moods can be therapeutic. It provides a means of communicating which goes beyond words and provides us with shared unspoken understandings.
G) Developing in parallel with this trend is a likely increase in the number of people, across the whole age range, who wish to actively participate in music making. Such activities are likely to be community based and will reflect the musical traditions of that community whatever they may be.
H) While these results are still to be successfully replicated, other data from Europe has indicated that an increase in group music lessons can have positive effects on social relationships in school and on concentration in young children and those with behavioural difficulties.
8. For Questions 1 – 15, read the text about a famous British singer, Kathleen Ferrier, and decide which answer А, В, С or D best each space. There is an example at the beginning (0).
Kathleen Ferrier was one of the greatest contralto singers that Britain ever (0) C .She was born in 1912 and her early (1) ... was to become a great pianist. It wasn’t (2) ... 1940, when she was 28, that she (3) … to take singing lessons. In the (4) ... of music this was quite a (5) ... stage to start a (6) ... . She (7) … several oratorios (that is, musical compositions (8) ... for several soloists) and rapidly became very successful. She was (9) ... for the purity of her voice and her (10) ... musicianship. She sang arias from Handel’s “Messiah” and (11) ... pieces by Bach which were recorded and (12) ... on discs. She went to perform the parts of Lucretia in Benjamin Britten’s “The Rape of Lucretia” and Orpheus in Christoph Gluck’s “Orfeo Ed Euridice”. She toured (13) ... the world and acquired a great (14) ... in Europe, Canada and the United States. She died tragically of cancer in 1953 at the age of 41, but many people still (15) ... her with love as brilliant.
9. Read a magazine article about a modern British write of musicals. Seven paragraphs have been removed from the article. Choose from the paragraphs A-I the one which fits each gap (1 –8). There is one extra paragraph which you do not need to use.
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