Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 37, Number 5. 3rd April 1974

Making Music Give

Making Music Give

John Hopkins is in New Zealand at present as the guest conductor for the NZBC Symphony Orchestra. He has recently been appointed Dean of the School of Music of Victoria College of ArtsMelbourne. This college consists of four main 'schools' music, drama, fine arts, ballet and dance and was established as a result of the Australian University Commission's decision in 1969, to stop financing the non-degree university courses. Christine Haggart interviewed John Hopkins for Salient.

Salient: What's your course all about?

Hopkins: Basically the school of music is part of a general concept. The tuition is free and the students are full-time. This year the students are mainly instrumentalists. However, the policy is to give the students a broad training in as many aspects of music as possible. Also we want to train people who will in the end teach or lead music within the community. The school aims to prepare them for community leadership in music.

Do you feel a similar situation—with a separate school for performers—would be suited to New Zealand?

Yes, I think New Zealand needs something like this to help in the training of young performers.

So do you think New Zealand should have its own conservatorium?

That is maybe too isolated a situation. What is needed is a similar concept of a college of arts because the inter-relation of the arts is tremendously important.

Do you see this as a way of increasing musical appreciation?

Yes—when sending people into the community—the trend has got to be towards more people participating in music-making. Audiences are necessary, bill we also need a lot more musical activity within the community.

Image of people playing cello

Do you think the previous remoteness of musicians from the lives of ordinary people is solely because there aren't enough musicians?

Definitely. In music education, for instance at the moment there are twice as many schools as there are trained music teachers for schools. Ideally I'd like to get back to the state where music meant much more to the community. Probably its a long way back in western society,—but if you go into an Asian country you are more aware of the music belonging to the community—and it is obvious the important part music does play in people's lives. This did happen long ago but now we have audiences just sitting in rows and rows of seats—it's just a piece of icing on top of the cake instead of part of the whole fibre of the community.

You said that music is now separate from the community. Do you think pop music is breaking down this separation?

Yes—I think that we in the classical area of music can learn a lot from what is happening in the pop field. In the Sydney and Melbourne prom series, I used pop groups, either on their own of in the orchestra, in a performance called "Love 200".

It is necessary to bring the various forms of music together. To me its all music. I don't view classical as being distinct from pop.

Caricature of a classical musician

Would you like to see these forms closer still?

Yes—certain composers such as Peter Maxwell Davis are beunding the two. The sorts of things Jenny McLeod has done in "Earth and Sky" and "Children of the Sun" impressed me greatly, because this was something in which the community was involved—the community who made it. Audience participation is only part of it—rather its the idea of using all sorts of different areas of the community. Music has got a big role to play in this way.

I don't think the future is necessarily in more and more concerts—I think we've got to devise new ways of performance, doing different things. I've done workshops where I've opened the orchestra right out and let the children who play an instrument sit in among the same sections and watch what's happening. Also when young people are involved, I like to use the whole hall, putting brass in one area, the strings in another, so that the audience participation is not static.

So the aim of your school would be to encourage this active type of participation?

No, that's not the direct aim of the school. Rather we have planned a course that is in three parts. The first part is practical, then there is music craft, which includes theory, all types of percussion, a wide scope in musical knowledge and also areas such as voice production. Thirdly there is a broad enrichment area in which the students can do courses in the other schools such as painting, sculpture, drama, dance. So that we aim to produce students all of whom can go out to the community and only by this sort of giving do artists grow.

Do you feel that artists should be in direct contact with the community?

Yes—I don't see our students as finally ending with a recital—to a few invited guests, preaching to the converted Rather the students must learn to give and go out to the people and give.