Given what we found, we suggest that the field of music education should continue to expand to go beyond the boundaries of schools. This should be done at the philosophical level, theoretical level, and practical level. Recognizing the need for different philosophies in different settings, the teaching staff and administrators in each music education program should develop a philosophy with life beyond schooling and the world outside of the program in mind. Theories on how to implement each program should be developed based on the literature and onsite data. Eventually, actions should be taken, reviewed, revised, and taken again to implement the program and to improve on it. Although we see a need for bridges between programs in the schools and the world outside of the schools, there will always be a boundary as long as schools continue to exist. We do not recommend breaking down this boundary completely, but building bridges within and outside of the school should be a constant aim.

In school. School as an institution should continuously be viewed as part of the community. Administrators should provide support for any innovative approach to engage learners of all ages, including students of all grade levels in the schools and members of the local community. We are obliged to defer to administrators working with teachers to come up with a creative scheme that works locally. Suggestions here are only based on our broad view in this direction but leaving the specific local context open. Programs should be designed in such a way that learners of all ages could have opportunities to work together in appropriate settings despite their likelihood of differences in musical abilities. These opportunities should be balanced with music learning settings for learners of the same age and level, which is currently the norm in most school settings. Ideas presented in the following paragraphs should not be implemented exclusively but be incorporated on an occasional or a regular basis as the need arises and as the situation allows.

Mixing different ages and levels may be a novel concept because it is impractical for most school subject areas. In music, however, learners at different levels could play different musical roles as appropriate. Musical techniques with a tendency to be less difficult, such as drones, ostinati, simple rhythmic patterns, and occasional percussive effects, could be apt challenges for novice learners. Technical showcases such as virtuosic melodic lines, complex countermelodies, unusual chord progressions, and series of short percussive passages could be designated for more advanced learners. Both the simple devices and the more proficient showcases could coexist in the same piece of music. Music programs could be designed with this idea in mind. Furthermore, advanced learners could be engaged in “teaching” the less advanced learners. The more advanced learners could provide inspiration to the less advanced learners to become more advanced. Learners of various levels could be more connected. This could become a virtuous cycle and make the music learning experience highly productive. All learners could be more committed to the participation.

In general music classes at the elementary and middle school levels, this idea could be implemented in various forms. For example, students of more than one grade level could meet together in a team-teaching setting with two or more music educators and assistance from community volunteers. Special exchange projects could be set up between grade levels, between elementary and middle schools, or between a school class and a community group. These programs could be built into the school schedule or implemented outside of the school day as extracurricular or cocurricular activities. These types of projects could begin on a per-incidence basis while the possibility for a long-term pattern is explored. In addition, blocks of time could be set aside in the school day to allow all students to participate in multiage learning activities simultaneously. If a more radical approach is desired, one could consider making all classrooms in a school multiage (i.e., similar to a setting like that of Montessori schools, but not necessarily teaming up with consecutive grades only).

To preserve the excellent tradition of Western music ensembles in secondary schools, music programs in bigger schools could have large ensembles of varying levels from beginner to advanced, separated, but without the ensemble level tied to age or academic grade level so that anyone could begin at any time and feel welcomed. Music programs in smaller schools might be better off having a range of smaller ensembles with a similar setup. Settings as such would allow learners to enter the program at any time and still feel welcomed. Again, these ensemble activities could occur in the school schedule or as extra- or cocurricular activities. Later in life, these learners might be less likely to feel intimidated to seek out appropriate musical groups in which to participate.

To engage members from the local community, parents, musicians, and other adults from the community could be involved in creating, performing, learning, practicing, or listening to music side by side. This practice would not only engage members of the community but also utilize experts from the community, help learners to connect with members of the community, and provide role models for younger students as lifelong learners. Furthermore, the musically capable parents and musicians of all traditions could be involved as volunteers, leaders, or facilitators in the teaching of the music. This could potentially expand on the variety of music that could be offered. Along these lines of connecting with community members, schools could model after some of the successful intergenerational music programs (e.g., Alfano, 2008; Frego, 1995).

Music in the schools is often conceived as a presentational form of performance, in which there is a clear divide between performer and audience, and planning and rehearsal are some of its key features (Turino, 2008). To provide a supportive context for this presentational form, school music programs should constantly be making connections with the community by performing at community venues, on themes that meet community needs or express the sentiments of the community. In intergenerational programs, school music groups could perform with community members. For example, patriotic pieces could be performed around national days. Further connections could be made if the music program is linked to various sectors of the community, such as businesses, religious institutions, government agencies, or music professional organizations.

We recognize that many schools may already be practicing these, but probably incidentally rather than regularly as a goal or a part of the program’s mission. If avenues for these practices are in place, it would be sensible to elevate such practices and incorporate them as strategies for some of the long-term goals. If such practices are not already in place, it would be necessary for the teaching staff and administrators to establish goals that include such connections with the community.

Even if schools are already making connections with the community, it is likely that they are initiated by the teacher or an administrator. It is necessary for young learners to develop the habit of initiating such connections themselves so they are able to take ownership of the connection and become more likely to continue later in their lives. School officials might even encourage students to suggest, for example, a repertoire list for a specific community program or a performance venue in the community so students take ownership of the programing experience. When appropriate, students could direct the implementation of the program. Some of these recommendations can be implemented beyond individual schools and be considered at the school district level. Those involved in school leadership should take heed of these student-led suggestions and make every effort to explore the possibility of implementing them.

While educational institutions are set up to be more conducive to presentational music performance, music programs should allow opportunities for participatory music making in which, rather than a performer-audience divide, there is only a participant and potential- participant divide. In participatory performance:

the primary goal is to involve the maximum number of people in some performance role. . . .

The inclusion of people with a wide range of abilities within the same performance is important for inspiring participation. The presence of other people with similar abilities as oneself makes joining in comfortable. . . . When rank beginners, people with some limited skill, intermediates, and experts all perform together, . people at each level can realistically aspire to and practically follow the example of people at the next level above them. In participatory contexts, the full range of the learning curve is audibly and visually present and provides reachable goals for people at all skill levels. (Turino, 2008, pp. 26, 31)

This description strongly reminds us of the case study ofthe Pickers and Grinners (chapter 7), in which the full range of beginners through experts perform together and there is always an open invitation for anyone to join. Although the Pickers and Grinners group always rehearses and performs with the presence of an audience, the audience could easily be seen as potential participants of the group and they often participate by clapping, tapping, singing, or head-bobbing along. Experience in participatory performance is especially important if a music program is aimed at meeting the needs of all learners, with varied developmental musicianship skills, strengths, and interests. Participatory performance tends to rely more on aural and rote learning and less on the reading of musical notation. Improvisation is commonplace in some styles as well. The musical structure and method of musical socialization of participatory performance is distinctively different compared to the presentational type (as in the Graceful Singers presented in chapter 6). Vernacular musical styles, such as folk, popular, and country, tend to fit well in this mode of musical performance. Making both presentational and participatory types of music performance programs available will not only strengthen the connection between school music and music outside of school but also make school music more relevant to life outside of school, provide a wider variety of choices that utilize different types of musicianship skills, allow (re)entry into the music program at multiple points, and provide a supportive context for different types of musical participation within the school setting. This can, again, lead to a better likelihood of meaningful musical participation that continues throughout learners’ lives.

In addition to music performance, schools, including universities, should make nonperformance music programs available for all students as well. As we have included engaged listening as a way of music participation, areas such as music composition, music theory, music history and criticism, multimedia music production, and even recording skills and technical support all require intensive and purposeful listening and should not be ignored. These could be the best areas to serve those who have unavoidable circumstances that prevent them from singing or playing an instrument or those who have chosen not to do so for other reasons. They could be used to complement the performance area as well. They are no less important than performance, and they could be accomplished individually or in groups. Our data suggest that engaged listening contributes to senior citizens’ perceived quality of life almost as much as participating in performance.

Regardless of school size, there should be music groups, classes, or ensembles of varied types. The variety should be based on the different types of musical skills needed. Some may rely on notation reading and others may depend on aural and imitation skills, yet more could emphasize creativity, improvisation, or various musical genres and traditions. There could be a whole gamut of options made available, such as composition, engaged listening, drum circle, guitar, keyboard, steel pans, country music, popular music, digital music making and editing, and so forth. Several of these could be incorporated within one music course. Whatever students choose to do, they should be encouraged to stick with it for a substantial period of time for it to be meaningful. Advising is critical so students are more likely to commit to musical involvement.

Outside of school. The larger community outside of the school should view the school as a resource center for knowledge, facilities, and activities. In some locations, community constituencies have already taken advantage of this. Various community groups should take the initiative to invite school musical groups to present their music. Members of the community could even perform or compose along with the school groups. It is important that community members not just involve themselves with school groups on an incidental basis; if possible, they should take on roles to work with them regularly for an extended period of time. This can be a good role model to encourage younger learners to commit to a musical activity. As Turino (2008) points out, music could be presentational or participatory, and each has different emphases. It is possible that a presentational form of performance be turned into a participatory form, and vice versa. As students learn to switch back and forth between the two types of music making, some events in the community could be presentational and others participatory. Genres like drum circles, circle songs, and folk dancing are participatory in nature, and genres like band, choir, and orchestra are presentational in nature. However, there is no reason not to allow some creative maneuvers to switch them.

School music programs within close proximity should consider forming a network to allow students to participate in musical groups or non-performance-based music classes not available in their own school. Such a network could be open to the public as well, so anyone could either listen in during all rehearsals and classes or participate in the music making if they are able to follow. If the Internet is accessible, intergenerational groups that “meet” in person or in virtual space, synchronously or asynchronously, could involve school learners as well (e.g., Eric Whitacre’s group, see A practice as such would put making connections and community participation at the forefront. In the case of virtual groups, the dimension of connections could expand dramatically.

Be they presentational or participatory, in person or virtual, religious or secular, or intergenerational or monogenerational, community musical groups have a substantial role to play in a lifelong perspective. Since they are free from the constraints of educational institutions, they are open for participation throughout a much wider time period within one’s lifespan, whereas musical groups affiliated with educational institutions are limited to those who are within their schooling years. Therefore, we must admit to the large potential impact of community musical group participation on lifelong music making. As with most suggestions we make, the earlier the field of music education cultivates a sense of connection between individuals and the community and between school music and community music, the more likely students will be to extend these connections after their first 20-some years and produce a lifelong impact, potentially leading to a better perceived quality of life.

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