Commitment to Innovation

In the latest issue of the American Music Teacher magazine, a publication of the Music Teachers National Association for its members, I found a couple statements by Executive Director Gary Ingle to be quite thought-provoking:

“I believe the next 15 years will be the most challenging in our history and will require more commitment to innovation. Over the past 135 years in general and the last 15 in particular, we have done a great job with the second part of our mission statement: to support the professionalism of music teachers. However, we haven’t done as good a job on the first part of our mission: to advance the value of music study and music making to society…

if we don’t aggressively and innovatively pursue the first part of our mission, there will certainly be no need for the second.”

More commitment to innovation. I love the prospect of innovation in the world of music study. The word innovation means, “the act of introducing new things or methods.” Just like every other business and organized activity, we are competing for the time and attention of the market. And just like anyone in the business world will tell you, in order to remain viable in the marketplace, you have to be innovative. The one who stubbornly refuses to understand the changing times and resorts to whining about declining interest in his field might as well close up shop and apply for a job somewhere else. But the one who sees, embraces, and learns to utilize the changes for greater effectiveness has unlimited opportunity for creative development and growth!

I know this is all more philosophical than practical, but (to borrow a quote from author Voddie Baucham in an entirely different context) “it is much easier to go from good theory to good practice than it is to go from no theory to good practice.”

And so I find myself thinking about this whole concept of commitment to innovation and wondering how I can apply this to promote music study and achieve greater effectiveness as a music teacher in the coming years. Any thoughts?

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