Oct 3rd 2016

Music and Social Action (Coursera)

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What is a musician’s response to the condition of the world? Do musicians have an obligation and an opportunity to serve the needs of the world with their musicianship? At a time of crisis for the classical music profession, with a changing commercial landscape, a shrinking audience base, and a contraction in the number of professional orchestras, how does a young musician construct a career today? Are we looking at a dying art form or a moment of reinvigoration? In this course we will develop a response to these questions, and we will explore the notion that the classical musician, the artist, is an important public figure with a critical role to play in society.

The course will include inquiry into a set of ideas in philosophy of aesthetics; a discussion about freedom, civil society, and ways that art can play a role in readying people for democracy; discussion on philosophy of education as it relates to the question of positive social change; and an exploration of musical and artistic initiatives that have been particularly focused on a positive social impact.

Guiding questions for this course inquiry will include:

- How can classical music effect social change?

- How has music made positive change in communities around the globe?

- What can the field of classical music learn from other movements for social change?

- How have educators and philosophers thought about the arts and their connection to daily contemporary life?

Each class will explore one critical question through lectures, discussions, interviews, or documentaries.