ANU wants community views on the School of Music

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THE Canberra and music communities are invited to have their say on options for The Australian National University (ANU) School of Music following the release of a discussion paper.

The discussion paper follows consultations by Professor Andrew Podger.

Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt appointed Professor Podger in February to undertake a comprehensive community consultation about the School’s future.

The discussion paper identifies a number of options and poses a number of questions, based on community views about the School of Music.

“There is a strong desire, within the School, across the ANU, across the Canberra community and across the wider Australian tertiary music community, for the future of the ANU School of Music to be resolved,” Andrew said.

“People desperately want to put the past behind and to identify a clear vision for the future that can be pursued with passion and enthusiasm.”

Professor Podger said there was also broad acceptance that a new vision will not look like the School of the 1980s and 1990s.

He said a central question from the first round of consultations was whether the School’s curriculum should include a stream that produces elite national and international musicians.

“Those advocating for this stream will need to indicate how the University might find the necessary funds and to identify what exactly the stream should focus on – for example what music genres and what instruments,” he said.

“Those supporting the move away from elite professional performance need nonetheless to recognise that performance is still a vital part of a viable and recognisable School, attracting adequate numbers of students.

“This is also likely to require the School to choose a niche to establish a national profile and reputation.”

The paper also advocates for a strong academic stream in the School’s future operations, which reflects the University’s national and international role as providing excellence in the fields of teaching and research, while it also found universal support for the School to widen its ties with the Canberra community.

The interim discussion paper can be viewed at anu.edu.au.

Professor Podger is due to report back to the University by August this year.

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