Oxford University has taken to heart the ideals of the Black Lives Matter movement and in this regard is considering plans to move away from notation, musical notation and classical music in general. Sheet music is now considered “too colonial”, while Beethoven and Mozart, as well as modern music curricula, are “complicit in white supremacy.”
According to the British newspaper The Telegraph, arguments against classical music, which is one of the greatest achievements of Western civilization, arose not only among “student activists”, but also among “activist professors” who argue that the study of music in its current form is oriented to the “white European music of the slave period.”
Changes in the teaching of music at one of the largest universities in the world are proposed for undergraduate courses, and their goal is to “decolonize” the study of music and rid it of “white hegemony”.
The activist professors, according to the source, argue that teaching musical notation would be a “slap in the face” for students because she “has not shaken off her connection to her colonial past.”
In addition, the requirements of the university will no longer involve teaching music students to play the piano or conduct orchestras, because this also “structurally centers white European music.” According to music teachers at Oxford, whose job it was to teach “the history, scope, breadth, and practice of music,” this could cause “great suffering in students of color.”
Even the way music is taught, these professors complain, is a problem because “the vast majority of music technique teachers are white people.”
The problem is that, according to some professors, “the structure of our curriculum supports white supremacy.” This is evidenced by the fact that the teachers who are proposing these changes are “almost all white.” These “almost all white” professors are concerned that they are “giving privileges to white musicians,” although in practice they currently prefer anything but them.
Now they are planning to introduce special topics that will include “Introduction to Sociocultural and Historical Studies” or “African and African Diaspora Music”, “Global Music” and “Popular Music”. Therefore, instead of studying the history of Western music, which has evolved and changed for thousands and thousands of years, students will study what is happening in music right now.
So, pop music will be introduced into the curriculum at Oxford University, and students will be able to study 2021, tapes of the Grammy-winning pop star Dua Lipa, or artists demanding that Donald Trump stop using their songs. ” The scientists proposing these changes have stated that it is their direct reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Thus, the Oxford professors commit themselves to “eradicate white supremacy in Western music and bring in elements of contemporary pop music.”
However, according to The Telegraph, the department had some objections to these changes. One professor noted that those who taught music before the 20th century “are often implicitly accused of exclusively practicing ‘western’ and ‘white’ music.” However, Western music was a long-growing art form that, as The Telegraph notes, completely predated the transatlantic slave trade.
“Music developed along with the Catholic Church and was associated with the worship of the divine,” argue opponents of “tolerant” innovations.
The first known musical notation was found on a cuneiform tablet from ancient Iraq, then known as Babylon. This tablet is now about 4,000 years old. The Greeks also used musical notation. As scales and meters changed, the practice of exchanging music in musical notation began, like many human achievements, in the Middle East and spread throughout Europe.
It is believed, the publication continues, that music was not an invention, but an evolution, just as writing did not stagnate when it first appeared but changed as the people who used it changed.
However, judging by the publication, the Telegraph’s fair questions about the innovation at Oxford University decided to give an evasive and general answer: “Music has been a part of Oxford life for over 800 years. About 30 teachers work here, of which 15 regularly lecture – scientists with an outstanding reputation as musicologists, performers or composers ”and so on.
If Oxford is no longer willing or able to support this 800-year history of musical science in the Western tradition, then it is unclear who will do it, – the author of the article states with concern.