Authors: Helena Gaunt, Celia Duffy, Ana Coric, Isabel R. González Delgado, Linda Messas, Oleksandr Pryimenko and Henrik Sveidahl.

The AEC-SMS Working Group on the role of music and higher music education institutions in society published one of its major outcomes, the academic paper “Musicians as “Makers in Society”: A Conceptual Foundation for Contemporary Professional Higher Music Education” in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

The Paper sets the rationale for the AEC-SMS project, problematises the fundamental challenges in creating an appropriate education process, as well as the opportunities, and encourages institutions to rethink the nature of HME along these lines:

We examine concepts such as artistic citizenship, social responsibility and civic mission increasingly perceived to be relevant to the [higher music education (HME)] sector, and we explore their connexions to concepts of artistic excellence, imagination and creativity, and musical heritage.

We draw on the particular ethnomusicological concept of “musicking,” and we look toward a partnering of artistic and social values in order to enable HME to respond dynamically to societal need, and to continue to engage with the depth and integrity of established musical traditions and their craft.

Based on this discussion we propose a conceptual foundation: the “musician as a maker in society,” in which developing vision as a musician in society, underpinned on the one hand by immersion in musical artistry and on the other hand sustained practical experience of connecting and engaging with communities, offers invaluable preparation for and transition into professional life.

We suggest that a paradigm shift is now needed to re-envision the conceptual foundation of HME. For HME to look toward sustaining and strengthening professional music practises in societies, attention must be paid to this paradigm shift, and to the interdependent relationships it highlights between a musician’s vision, craft and artistry, and engagement in and for society. Maintaining a dynamic flow between artistic craft and imagination on the one hand, and societal relevance and engagement on the other hand, is a central and growing challenge.