One of the first words that comes to my mind when I think of Peter Webster is imagination. Through his long and productive career, he has challenged us to think more expansively and imaginatively about our work–the ways we teach, how we learn, what we do, and how we do it. His talk last week at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, as part of the Stamps Family Distinguished Visitor Series, was no exception. In his talk he took seven big ideas and teased out what they suggest for the new directions we go in music education, from preschool to college. Those of you thinking about new directions in music education will probably be able to see where your work fits within this conceptual framework. The seven ideas are: (1) adaptive constructivism, (2) creative thinking, (3) interdisciplinary thinking, (4) embedded balanced assessment, (5) who we teach, (6) what kind of music, and (7) learning in new venues. PW has made his key note presentation available to those who would like to see it: http://peterrwebster.com/Present/stamps/StampsPWTalk.pdf
This quote from J.K. Rowlings’ commencement address at Harvard succinctly captures an essence of imagination that speaks to its importance and power:
Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and, therefore, the foundation of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.