Conference Information

2021 is a landmark year for MTSNYS, marking the fiftieth anniversary of its founding. 

The conference will begin with a synchronous event on June 15, 2021, featuring a keynote talk by Michael Buchler (Florida State University) titled “The Unionist Hero and The Capitalist Anti-Hero: Alan Menken’s Collectivist Fantasy and Harold Rome’s Entrepreneurial Satire.”

Jennifer Snodgrass (Appalachian State University) will lead a workshop titled “Teaching Musicianship in a Pandemic: What I’ve Learned, What I’m Keeping, and What I Hope Never Happens Again.”

Keynote (Michael Buchler): The Unionist Hero and The Capitalist Anti-Hero: Alan Menken’s Collectivist Fantasy and Harold Rome’s Entrepreneurial Satire

I will tell a tale of two Broadway musicals: Alan Menken’s, Jack Feldman’s, and Harvey Fierstein’s staged musical, Newsies (2012, based upon the 1992 Disney film) and Harold Rome’s and Jerome Weidman’s I Can Get It For You Wholesale (1962, loosely based upon Weidman’s 1937 novel). Newsies is a feel-good heroic fairy tale in which collectivism triumphs over big business; Wholesale is a dark comedy where an entrepreneurial anti-hero callously breaks a union of his peers in order to foster (what he imagines will be) his own success. I will consider the musical and dramatic structures of each show, demonstrating examples of how their respective political worldviews are characterized in song to portray two very different battles between capitalism and collectivism.

Workshop (Jennifer Snodgrass): “Teaching Musicianship in a Pandemic: What I’ve Learned, What I’m Keeping, and What I Hope Never Happens Again.”

Over the course of the pandemic, instructors of music theory have experienced a dramatic shift in their instructional strategies, student learning assessments, and how they keep students engaged on a daily basis. It is impossible to narrow down these experiences into an overview that represents the whole, as each instructor faced challenges unique to them. However, there are transformational takeaways resulting from the online teaching experience that we will want to keep moving forward.

From applications such as Goodnotes, Padlet, PlayPosit and Hypothesis to new methods of assessment using Google Forms, podcasts, and Flipgrid, those of us teaching online musicianship courses have found ways to innovate. Most of our students embraced some of these new approaches. We in turn, learned alongside our colleagues, sharing tips and tools with each other. But what did we mourn when it comes to the musical experience in our classroom? What did our students miss when we had to shift to online learning? Through interactive conversation, polling, and small group discussion, this workshop will provide an environment for us to share what we learned, what was missing, what we will continue to use, and most importantly, how this experience has influenced our teaching philosophies and pedagogical approaches.