National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy – Thursday 3:45

Marienne Uszler gives the next keynote presentation, Outside the Box, Yes, but Which Box?

Ms. Uszler shares that she has always been fascinated by perspective and wants to help us gain a perspective on music. While music is very personal to us, for many others in the world, the meaning is entirely different. For example, for most people music is:
Electronic
Elective
E (oops! can’t remember this one…)

Panning out from the discussion of music, Ms. Uszler discusses the impact of media as a whole on our culture. Music used to be entirely passive, however, now all forms of media have become highly interactive.

Panning out further, US Census predictions for the year 2050 based on race:
* Hispanic population will have tripled
* Asian-Pacific population will have tripled
* Black population will have not quite doubled
* White population will have decreased by 16 million

She went on to discuss the musical contributions of each of the above people groups and its impact on society.

Panning out even further…world predictions for 2050:
* All growth will be in the developing world. Developed countries will remain more or less static.
* The population in the poorest countries will have doubled.
* India will overtake China as the world’s most populous country.

In a sense, we are kind of going through an Ars Nova. She related our society now to the 14th Century – a disintegrating, morally declining society. Western civilization is under siege.

Ms. Uszler interjects, “By this time you are saying, ‘Get this woman off the stage!’ This is frustrating and certainly not practical.”

She then referenced a Charlie Brown cartoon where Charlie Brown is at summer camp, at night, dangling his legs with a friend at the end of a pier. The friend is looking up and says the following, “Carl Sagan says there are a hundred billion stars in our galaxy and there are a hundred billion galaxies. Sort of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?” And Charlie Brown says, “I miss my dog.”

Sometimes we are very busy saying, “I miss my dog.” If space exploration has done nothing, it has at least made us think. Ms. Uszler is referring particularly to the image the astronauts have taken of the earth from outside its sphere. “What am I really saying?” Ms. Uszler asks if it is necessary to try to escape our world, to find some other world. No. “Love what you love. Play what you play. Do what you do. Believe what you believe. But try to see and appreciate your reality, your music, in the context of a hundred billion galaxies. You and your dog, as much as you love one another. You are not the whole world.”

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