Editorial: Spread the Word

One of the Forum for Music in Ireland’s most important roles has been its highlighting of the slow development of music education in Ireland. It does this through its bi-annual meetings, its website and its campaigns. The difficulty, however, has always...

One of the Forum for Music in Ireland’s most important roles has been its highlighting of the slow development of music education in Ireland. It does this through its bi-annual meetings, its website and its campaigns. The difficulty, however, has always been maintaining the momentum. The title of the Forum’s upcoming meeting is ‘Music, Enterprise and the Knowledge Economy’. One of the characteristics of a ‘knowledge economy’ is the free flow of information using technology such as computers and the internet. By exchanging knowledge quicker, the theory goes, we can address problems faster and speed up whatever development we are aspiring to.

Such practices have already benefited certain areas of musical life in Ireland enormously – contemporary music using the Contemporary Music Centre, traditional music using the Irish Traditional Music Archive, while Music Network’s online activities have also been important. These organisations and others distribute a huge amount of information and data which nurture new ideas and assist entrepreneurialism – everything from the production of magazines and CDs to television programmes, websites, PhDs and concerts.

Where knowledge is not flowing freely and quickly, an area will suffer through slow development, and the most clear example in our musical life is education. There is simply no central highway of free and fast information flowing between all music education related activities and initiatives. Instead, music schools, departments, organisations and initiatives often rely on slow travel, meetings, conferences, publications and reports to find out what’s going on, who is doing what, and what the latest thinking is, and one can never be sure if they are representative because not everyone is involved. Perhaps the challenge now for relevant organisations is to create a virtual information hub for all music education related activites, from Cairdeas na bhFidléirí to the Cork School of Music to the Bray Music Centre, and let the free flow of knowledge do what it does best: cause change.

Published on 1 January 2008

Toner Quinn is Editor of The Journal of Music. His website is https://tonerquinn.com/

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