This week the third international teaching artists conference (ITAC3) was announced.
It will be held in Edinburgh, Scotland from August 3-5. Here in the U.S., the announcement came to many of us via our greatest advocate and cheerleader, Eric Booth. I am planning to attend. I wasn't able to go to the earlier convening (Norway in 2012) or (Australia in 2014), and I am excited to see what it's all about. Lucky me, I'll receive support from Carnegie Hall.
We don't really have a similar gathering in the U.S. Teaching artists generally tag along at everyone else's service group conventions. We get hauled out to run the interactive sessions or witness a bit, but it's not our show. There are some great organizations, like the ATA (the Association of Teaching Artists), run by Dale Davis and a bunch of terrific colleagues here on the east coast. The west coast based Teaching Artists Guild (TAG) is building some steam, but as a field we still don't have the membership or the money to throw our own party at the same level as The National Guild for Community Arts Education or the like.
One model we might want to look to is an upstart in the field of new music. It's called, simply, the New Music Gathering. It's run by a collective that includes Daniel Felsenfeld, whom I've blogged about before. The event is in its infancy, but it's already been held on both coasts, and they have shrewdly found space in conservatories in early January. They hold sessions that they design for their own benefit, and the networking seems terrific. So far, my own teaching has prevented me from going, but I love the grassroots nature of it and the opportunities for leadership it provides.
Those composers and performers of new music looked at their field and asked, "are we doing all we could to support each other?" Answer: "No." Response: "Let's do something!"
Teaching artists (and friends of teaching artists): "What should we do?"