Living in times of change includes facing new societal, political, educational and technological developments and changes to value systems. As a reaction, there is a constant need for transformation which, at the same time, is both an opportunity and a challenge. When looking towards the future, it is important to reflect on and embrace change in order to shape it collaboratively. Music (education) will remain an important element in this development.
On September 6 2023, the EMC hosted the webinar “Changing Times: Music (Education) Still Matters" for which they gathered high-level experts from the field of music education and music practices. During the webinar panellists take a look at the current challenges music education is facing, including COVID, recruitment issues and maintaining music’s place on the curricula of schools across Europe. The webinar also explores possible solutions and what the notion of cultural citizenship means for developing Europe’s societies. Jointly, the invited experts will look at what strategies and actions are needed for ensuring that music still matters in the future.
Dr Marina Gall studied Music at Manchester University, UK and then taught music, drama and dance in secondary schools before attaining a PhD on “music technologies in the classroom” at the University of Bristol, UK. Since 1999, she has led the one-year secondary music teacher education course at the same university. She also teaches and supervises in the field of inclusion. Marina is president of the European Association for Music in Schools (EAS) which, currently, has National Co-ordinators in 29 European Countries. It holds an annual conference which, every second year, is also the European Regional Conference for the International Society for Music Education (ISME); separate student teacher and doctoral fora run as part of every conference. Marina has led work on large-scale UK research projects focussing on music technology in schools (2001-2004) and on inclusive practice in music education (2015-2018) https://www.bristol.ac.uk/sps/gettingthingschanged/. She was a researcher and chair of the steering committee for the COMENIUS-3-Network project “MeNet” (2006-2009) concerning school music and music teacher education and is part of the Erasmus Plus Teacher Academies project TEAM (Teacher Education Academy Music) (2023-2026) which connects 15 music teacher education institutions from 12 countries.
Stefan Gies is heading the Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC) as its Chief Executive since September 2015. His work focuses on networking with other organisations active in the fields of music, art and higher education at European and international level, as well as on lobbying the institutions of the European Commission and the European Parliament. Stefan studied viola, composition, musicology and music education at the Musikhochschule Freiburg in Germany. Stefan looks back on a wide range of professional experience as a performing musician, music teacher, humanities scholar and researcher. For almost 25 years, he has been active as professor, dean and principal at Higher Music Education Institution in Germany. Stefan is a member of boards and committees at national and international level, including being a board member of Culture Action Europe."
Sonja Greiner is the Secretary General of the European Choral Association and a member of the Board of the World Youth Choir Foundation, as well as governance advisor to the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM). With her German father and French mother as well as her two brothers, she spent several years of her childhood and youth in Peru and Ecuador, Latin-America, and thus learnt three languages at the same time. She later spent one year in United Kingdom (as Au Pair) and one year in Metz, France (as language assistant). After studying English, French and Spanish in Freiburg, Germany, and doing two years of teacher training, she first became the manager of the International Chamber-Choir Competition and the festival Musica Sacra International in Marktoberdorf (Germany) at the beginning of the 90ies. She later became deputy Secretary General and then Secretary General of Europa Cantat (European Choral Association since 2011). Sonja Greiner was a member and Treasurer of both the European and the International Music Council between 2000 and 2013 and was elected Honorary Member of the International Music Council in 2015.
Till Skoruppa has been a music freak for as long as he can remember. Both privately as a concert organiser, touring musician and avid record collector as well as in his professional life that started with a master’s degree in musicology from the university of Bonn. His professional experience includes working as a radio promoter for an international heavy metal record label, as programme manager at the European Music Council (EMC) and as head of communication and marketing at the Bonn Classic Philharmonic Orchestra. He currently serves as secretary general for the European Music School Union (EMU), the European umbrella organisation of national music school associations representing over 6000 music schools from 26 European countries.
Blasko Smilevski has been working for Jeunesses Musicales since the age of 16. As a volunteer he has organized numerous concerts and musical quiz competitions in public schools and contributed to the creation of the first youth chamber orchestra in North Macedonia. In parallel to his studies of international public law, he became international secretary for the national JM section. He started participating in JMI in 1994, that led to his election to the JMI Board in 1997, then President of JM Europe 2000-2006, JMI Vice-President 2003-2006 and JMI President 2006-2007. He was also board member of Culture Action Europe, the International Music Council, and the World Youth Choir Foundation. In parallel to his JMI engagements, he was active in the national youth council, working on the promotion of non-formal education and learning for youth and organized international youth activities, in particular training events with Greece. Later, he participated in the creation of the state Agency for Youth and Sports where he supported the youth department in the creation and the implementation of the first national youth strategy and served as Director of the World Bank Children & Youth Development Project, Chairman of the Central European Initiative Youth Committee, and member of the Stability Pact Youth Working Group. This experience got him engaged as World Bank consultant for youth development (ECA and MENA regions) in post-conflict countries. Blasko is Executive Director of JM International since 2008 and today he also serves as board member of the Euro-Arab Youth Music Centre and board member of Music Crossroads International.