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Music Schools BC

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

Sunday, February 26, 2012

B.C. and the budget: What's old is new again

The new  BC child tax credits amount to no more than $25 per child per year for eligible families. An article from the Victoria Times Columnist  - Victoria BC

There is an old joke in which a professor asks a student, "What does 'paradigm' mean?" And the student, who may not have been listening that closely to the professor's clever language, blurts out a guess: "Is it 20 cents?"

So what is this new paradigm which Finance Minister Kevin Falcon talks about in the government's budget and fiscal plan for the next three years? At first blush, this paradigm presumably applies to the current Christy Clark government, as well as to any future government following the next B.C. election. Indeed, the budget speech implies that the B.C. Liberals have been artful practitioners of this new paradigm for more than a decade, a world leader then in fiscal prudence, in managing spending and taxation wisely.

But wait - loads of examples of an old paradigm are evident in this budget. The overall budgetary stance is rather old school: maintaining support for health care and education expenditures, although at lower levels of new investments, while holding the line or freezing most other government ministries and program areas. The finance minister announced that the government is preparing to sell some surplus assets that sit on government's books, costing money with no return to taxpayers. The stated goal is "to take those surplus assets and turn them into economic generators across British Columbia." Those in the provinces with memories of the 1980s may feel a twinge of déjà vu, recalling the privatization measures and policies of past provincial administrations
Read more »

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

CBC digital music service launched

The CBC is diving into the world of online music with the goal of providing listeners access to their favourite tunes, and a way to discover new artists and connect with fellow music fans.
The free digital service CBC Music, which launches on Monday, offers access to 40 web radio stations, a vast array of music and blog posts by CBC personalities through a website and via mobile apps.
The new initiative allows the public broadcaster "to connect with listeners in something we’ve done well — music — but in new ways," said Chris Boyce, executive director of radio and audio for CBC English Services.
"Not only are we providing music, we’re helping people find the music and understand the music... there’s a ton of rich content that helps people understand the music as well as listen to it."
The CBC launch comes after private radio network Astral's recent unveiling of its own on-demand digital music service, which continues its roll out through the spring.
A segment of Canadians already listen to regular local radio stations via the web. However, at present, "it's actually a very small number [using] any kind of online music streaming service or internet radio service in Canada," according to Jeff Vidler, senior vice-president of research firm Vision Critical Communications.
"It's really underdeveloped in Canada, relative to other territories. If you look at the U.S. or Britain, it's much higher in terms of use of internet radio services or online music-streaming services," he told CBC News.
Read the article at CBC News
CBC Music - music.cbc.ca

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Business Support for Communities Could be Waning

This study is based on what is happening in the US, but in many respects Canada is not following far behind.
Harvard Business School just released its first study of US competitiveness, reporting that almost two-thirds of US businesses will locate their new plants outside the US. President Obama addressed the issue in his State of the Union address, citing the same blocks to US competitiveness the study does, namely poor education and training, our complex tax code and regulations, crumbling infrastructure, and lack of political soundness.
None of this is surprising. But for me, one finding was truly shocking: only 22 percent of US managers believe that doing good for their communities will help their business.
Has the economic pressure really had that extreme an impact? I remember just a few years ago that managers believed that doing good for their communities was critical to their business and their reputations. Over the 15 years I consulted to Cisco, I heard President (then Chairman) John Morgridge say over and over, “We do well by doing good” and prove it with network training programs for poor students that expanded Cisco’s industry and customer base. Even today, Cisco is highly rated by CSRHub for its corporate citizenship. In 2008, an Economist study showed that over half of its executive readers linked good deeds to increases in their brand value and over 40 percent believed that corporate social responsibility (CSR) led to decisions that were better for business in the long-term. As recently as 2009, a study by the IBM Institute for Business Value found that 60 percent of business leaders worldwide believe CSR had increased in importance over the previous year. Only 6 percent said it was a lower priority.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Problem with "Problemization" in Arts Funding

I discovered an excellent article on the weekend that really gets to the heart of matter when it comes to the whole notion of  "project driven" and "problem driven" methods of arts funding.  This one is well worth a read if you are at all involved in raising funds in the non-profit world.

I wasn’t sure whether or not problemization was a word until I looked it up and found that it is one. Problemization is to consider or treat as a problem (Merriam Webster).
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. The reason is that increasingly when you look at a foundation’s grant guidelines you are asked: “What problem are you trying to solve?” I put the following into Google: “Foundation funding what problem are you trying to solve.” The search result: 182 million hits that included dozens of foundations’ guidelines and many articles about how to write successful grant proposals. The additional question is “What is the need or problem that will be eliminated if your request is granted?” (And subsequent questions about how you identified and documented the problem, what logic model you followed to design your solution and how will you measure your results.)
I wonder what effect this culture of pathology, of diagnosis and treatment, is having on the nonprofit sector in general and the cultural sector in particular. Do foundations increasingly see themselves in the role of a sort of benevolent physician, identifying social “disease” and using their grants as the medication needed for wellness to be achieved? Not that long ago, a primary framework for organized philanthropy was one of ideas and experimentation; the mindset was one of risk capital and the ability to fuel new ideas that are interesting and should be tried.
The problem/solution framework is especially insidious for the arts. Yes, we do solve problems in the arts, particularly we work on aesthetic and philosophical problems, though these are not problems a foundation could help solve (at least not directly). In fact, the problems we solve are not easily documented, it is difficult to apply a social scientist’s approach to them, and our documentation of results is more likely qualitative than quantitative.

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