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Music Schools BC

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The official blog of the British Columbia Association of Community Music Schools

Friday, August 20, 2010

B.C. arts cuts called 'strategic error'

The board of governors of the Canadian Conference of the Arts says British Columbia is making a "strategic error" in cutting spending in the arts sector.
Kathleen Sharpe, the president of the national arts organization, has written to B.C. Culture Minister Kevin Krueger on behalf of the CCA expressing concern over the cuts and over the resignation of Jane Danzo as chair of the B.C. Arts Council.
"With all due respect, we submit that this is a strategic error that will have negative impacts not only on tourism and economic development but also severely compromise the role your province plays in defining Canadian identity at home and abroad," Sharpe said in a strongly worded letter.
She also expressed support for Danzo's decision to resign, calling the former B.C. arts chair "widely respected."
Danzo spoke out Wednesday about cuts to arts grants, saying she had to step down from her post at the B.C. Arts Council to be free to criticize Liberal policies.
A spring budget cut the funding the B.C. Arts Council hands out to groups from around $14 million to about $8 million.
Groups across the province are facing deep cuts, including a 70 per cent reduction in the operating grant for the Victoria Symphony, 60 per cent less to the Vancouver Fringe Festival and the elimination of grants to Ballet Victoria. Gaming funds that supported other arts groups have also been diverted.
Sharpe said the CCA does not often intervene in provincial matters but "cannot remain silent" while B.C. abandons support to dozens of organizations that are CCA members.
"It bears repeating once again that the arts and culture sector is at the vanguard of the shift to a post-industrial economy which much be strategically guided by Canada's various levels of government," Sharpe said in her letter.
B.C.'s arts and cultural sector employs 80,000 people and contributes $5 billion to the provincial economy and the recent Cultural Olympiad held alongside the Winter Olympics confirmed the role of the arts in crafting Canada's image abroad, she said.
"The arts are a growth sector in most Canadian cities and Vancouver boast the third largest concentration of professional artists in Canada," Sharpe said.
"Investing in the arts and culture sector should be a strong component of your government's strategy to tap this inexhaustible natural resource to advance creativity, boost the economy, lead to greater social cohesion and contribute to our identity as a nation."
The cuts are the result of a "short-term view" of growth, she added.

Read the article from CBC News

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Former B.C. Arts Council chair Jane Danzo speaks out

The former chair of the B.C. Arts Council has slammed the government for provincial cuts that are hobbling arts groups. She is also speaking out about the Liberals’ lack of support for the council.
Jane Danzo, who left her post on August 11, told the Straight she resigned the position she held for a year to protest the provincial government’s lack of consultation with the B.C Arts Council and its slashing of core funding.
“It was a very difficult decision but I thought I could probably effect more change by stepping down than I could by staying,” Danzo, past president of Pacific Opera Victoria, told the Straight. “The main factor was that the council was challenged in what it was mandated to do.”
In her letter of resignation to Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Kevin Krueger, Danzo criticized cabinet's refusal to take its the legislature committee on finance and governmental affairs’ recommendation, in November 2009, to restore arts funding to ’08/09 levels. Instead, in their spring budget, the Liberals axed the funding the B.C. Arts Council hands out to groups by an estimated 50 percent, from around $14 million to about $8 million.
Danzo also expressed dismay that the government refused to consult the B.C. Arts Council when it established a new $10 million Arts Legacy Fund, despite its cuts to core operating grants. Her letter states: “Even after the announcement, the Board was not consulted for input, nor was it permitted to know the details as they were developed by ministry staff over a four month period. Meanwhile, the arts community struggled, some members with life-threatening uncertainty, as they reduced their programming, laid off staff, and made poignant appeals to patrons and donors for further support.”
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Arts funding for kids?

While scanning through the Government of BC's web page listing all the Community Grants applications in process this morning I couldn't help but notice the number of applications still listed as being "in process".  For community organizations under the umbrella of "arts and culture" the application deadline was May 30th, with final notification by Aug. 31. This year only arts organization dedicated to Youth arts activities were even allowed to apply.

So here we are, two weeks before the deadline, and as I go through the list of organizations that are marked as being "complete" I notice a disturbing trend that all of the "complete" organizations, at least in Delta and Richmond are sports related.  All of the community arts organizations and school PAC committees are still listed as "in process".

So after last year's funding fiasco where all of BC's arts groups lost funding (except those on multi-year contracts which the government decided to uphold) are we faced with Round 2?  It was on August 24th last year when the government issued their press release indicating that all funding had been frozen, and we would all have to "wait and see".

So does does our provincial government value Arts Education, or even public school education in our province? I guess we still have to wait and see.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Itzhak Perlman on Charlie Rose

In a recent interview with Charlie Rose,  IItzhak Perlman give his ideas on practicing, auditioning, and conducting.
If you're talented, practicing more than 5 hours a day is not necessary..  .If you really, really realize what you are hearing, the minute you feel it, I will hear it in your playing...
 Link to article on Charlie Rose. from Monday August 9, 2010

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Arts Summit 2010 Keynote Address

Here is a copy of the keynote address from the Arts Summit 2010 hosted by the Alliance for Arts and Culture. This year's keynote speaker was Arlene Goldbard. As we are all painfully aware arts funding in this province has been cut to the proverbial bone. Arlene's address discusses the differences between "intrinsic" and "instrumental" value.  Arlene makes the argument in this address that using facts and figures and showing the "economic benefits" of investment in the arts is not working, and theses sorts of arguments have a history of having no effect on politicians throughout North America.

Art and the Public Good: Your Money or Your Life.
Arlene Goldbard (2010) address.  June 2010

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Charitable and Not-for-Profit Community Response to the Long Form Census Debate 

It seems every summer some crazy political story surfaces that just makes you wonder what people are thinking and make us ask "why would anyone do that?". This "summer of discontent" issue seems to be the debate about our Canadian Long form Census. What is most baffling about the debate is that the average Canadian seems to be totally unaware of how that information could be used, or be beneficial to community  groups of all stripes with basic issues of program planning.  Those of us who plan programs for community groups actually look for statistics and hard data to see what the trends are within our communities.  Otherwise we are kind of in the dark,  making decisions based on our own personal perceptions, which sometimes prove to be right, but many times can prove to be wrong. Demographic data from the Census is but one tool in the process those of us working behind the scenes use to determine what our communities need, what sort of new programs they might  support. Without that data many of our community organizations would be running down some blind alleys always assuming what worked yesterday will work tomorrow..Our communities however are not static.

Both Imagine Canada and the Canadian Conference of the Arts have written to Industry Minister Tony Clement to express their concern about the Government of Canada’s decision to replace the mandatory long form census with a voluntary household survey. You can read Imagine Canada’s letter here and the Canadian Conference of the Arts’ letter here.

Charitable and Not-for-Profit Community Response to the Long Form Census Debate | Orchestras Canada

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Report Says Students Don't Study Enough

Students these days study only about 14 hours a week, down from 24 in the early 1960s, according to a report released Thursday by the American Enterprise Institute. The report, "Leisure College, USA," rejects the idea that technology has decreased the need for studying, and suggests that colleges are failing to assign enough work and to enforce requirements. "[T]his widespread deterioration of the standard for student effort demands attention and considered action from all who have a stake in the quality of higher education in the United States," says the report. The data are not substantially different from those reported in the National Survey of Student Engagement.

Debra Humphreys, vice president for communications and public affairs at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, said that many in higher education are in fact working on these issues, but that the changes that are needed go beyond just assigning more work. She noted that educators in her association have focused on "high impact practices" (such as undergraduate research and senior capstone courses) that "ask the students to participate in high-intensity, extended-effort assignments." These kinds of experiences "force students to spend more time and more engaged time with their work." But she added that "if we want to reverse the patterns of under achievement, these practices need to become common rather than rare,"

Report, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

Quick Takes: Report Says Students Don't Study Enough - Inside Higher Ed

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Bernstein at Harvard

Emotion and meaning in music. Food for thought...
Leonard Bernstein teaching at Harvard. From 'The Unanswered Question' lecture series.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

For-profit vs. Non-profit Music Schools

An interesting discussion surfaced at our AGM discussions this year about Non-profit vs. For-profit music schools. So what is a non-profit school? What is the difference between a for-profit and a non-profit school? Who benefits by supporting a non-profit school as opposed to supporting a for-profit school?

Perhaps the main difference between the “for-profit” vs “non-profit” or perhaps a better term would be “social profit” enterprises, would be the purpose behind the reason for forming the school, and the beneficiaries for its existence. By definition the fundamental purpose of a for-profit enterprise is to do just that; make a profit. The beneficiary of that profit is usually those that invested in the business, or its stakeholders. Those stakeholders are those who work for the organization or those who have invested in the organization in some way. Starting a for-profit enterprise usually involves some sort of investment of time, labour and capital resources. For a music school this could mean instruments, other equipment, space (physical location) and the materials required for sustaining the business. The primary goal of any for-profit enterprise would be for the stakeholders to recoup their investment and to make further profits. Otherwise why would potential stakeholders invest in a for-profit business? The purpose then is for someone’s personal gain.

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