But, even more than these great people, I am inspired by the music that is being made all around me, from all corners of our state. Today I saw a fantastic jazz band from Flowing Wells HS in Tucson and the Mountain Ridge HS Wind Ensemble performed an amazing Renaissance suite (Margolis's "Terpsichore" based on music by Praetorius) on authentic instruments. And yesterday's performance by Desert Vista HS really demonstrated how skillfully and musically high school students can really play. I congratulate the conductors and students that were a part of these fine groups.
The theme of the conference is Musical Advocacy. While this is a common theme of most arts events, there seems to be a particularly sobering pitch to the speakers' strains. I'd hate to live in a world where all of music education is capitalized into what can be best marketed to the public at large, but this seems to be the direction things are going. I'll refrain from getting on a soap box now, but suffice it to say that the future of music education (and maybe all education in America) looks pretty grim.
What's even more sad is that I personally know many music educators that believe that this conference, or any conference, isn't worth their time. This is sad to me because musicians and music educators tend to get locked into their own small worlds of students, rehearsals and concerts. There is nothing more invigorating and inspiring than getting out of the classroom or studio and seeing first-hand what the rest of the professionals in your field are doing. The moment that I think that I know 'Enough' about music or music education will be the moment that I have stopped becoming a better musician and educator. Hopefully that never happens.