Dance Daily. Dance Early. Dance Now.
As the title declares, this essay is intended to encourage every teacher, parent and care-giver to think about and act upon the idea of some dancing each day in the lives of small children. Brighten the corner where you are! But it is also an appeal to join us at MUSE, Inc. by visiting our website, supporting us with your membership and contributions (475 Beard Ave., Buffalo, N.Y. 14214, Phone 716-834-6873, that's 834-MUSE!), sending in your thoughts about these urgent reforms suggested below, getting in touch with the author (via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or via regular mail, 22 Wells Hill Rd., Lakeville CT, 06039).
Paidia Con Salsa
Presented at various meetings in the early 1980s and first published as a chapter in Becoming Human through Music (Ed. David McAllister 1985), "Paideia Con Salsa" contains the main ideas and arguments for our Muse incorporating work. The most successful educational theory and practice in the history of the world -- the 'paideia' of democratic Athens -- was entirely devoted to the active energy of words and sounds, rhythm and harmony, music and sports in the formative years. The music-dance-drama traditions of Africa and the African Diaspora could have a similar impact on children today. "The unification and fine tuning of the full sensorium, perfecting mental-motor coordination in music, dance, arts, sports, achieving a personal style in shared modes of expression, these are the prerequisites for confidence and competence in other disciplines and more importantly, for the pursuit of truth and justice in the larger society."
Muse Incorporating and Applied Sociomusicology
Presented at a conference in Berlin, May of 1996, on Grounding Music for the Global Age (hosted by Profs. Peter Wicke and Veit Erlmann), Muse Incorporating and Applied Sociomusicology reviews the development of Muse, Inc. theory and practice to date, with particular attention to: 1) the ways musicking became ungrounded, 2) the obstacles in the way of every child becoming fully musical, 3) the importance of recent brain research establishing the major role of musicking in shaping intelligence, 4) the urgency of establishing sustainable music-dance traditions at the center of a public education system that is under heavy attack.
Whose Music Do We Teach Anyway?
Christopher Small is author of Music: Society: Education (1977), Music of the Common Tongue: Survival and Celebration in Afro-American Music (1987). His "musicking" concept is at the heart of MUSE (ie, music as a process, not a thing). "Whose Music Do We Teach Anyway?" is from an adddress he gave in 1990 for the Music Educators National Conference in Washington, D.C. "What I believe we shall be treasuring above all is not so much any music objects, however splendid they may be, as the music act, musicking, that remarkable form of human encounter in which people come together to make meanings, to explore and affirm and, yes, celebrate for a while their common humanity and their sense of who they are and of where they belong. Because that's what seems to me the real nature of what is called music and that's what its function is in human life....."
Musicking: A Ritual in Social Space
A Lecture at the University of Melbourne June 6, 1995 "It was a great pleasure for me to be invited to take part in this centennial conference in, if not precisely my own country, at least in my own part of the world. But there's another reason, also, why I'm pleased to have been asked to speak here today. It's because taking part in this important event has required of me that I try to put my ideas in order concerning the art that I have been practicing for some sixty years now, so that I can say what it is that I believe to be important in that art. ..." ...the rest of Dr. Small's lecture.
Copyright 1997 This essay is about grooving and music. `Groove'-a word still maintaining slang status-is hard to define, whether in refernce to music or other activities. It is perhaps easier to describe what `grooving' is like. Most people, musicians or not, have some sense of grooving, so groove is not only a musical term. People claim to get into gardening, studying and house-cleaning grooves. Athletes talk about being in `the zone' and in `the groove' interchangeably. Groove also resembles The Way or Uncarved Block in Taoism (Kaltenmark 1965, Mitchell 1988) or the dissolution of the ego into the Beloved in Sufism (Rumi 1986, 1988, 1993). As saxophonist Ornette Coleman puts it, "I am so busy and absorbed when I play that I am not aware of what I'm doing at the time I'm doing it" (1960). Most people have experienced something like this state of participation. People in a groove experience a kind of altered state of consciousness, perhaps a light trance. Socially, people grooving together are unified. No matter how elusive groove is, it refers to a common human experience which deserves the study that it's just beginning to get.