Community Engagement & Lifelong Learning

Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning


roger celebrationIn the Spring of 2012 Mitchell Korn conducted a study and strategic planning process for Vanderbilt University, Blair School of Music. He researched the needs, preferences, locations, price points, zip codes, class content and community partners for lifelong learners and learning. He recommended a plan where Blair School, for the first time in its history, will provide continuing and lifelong learning at a community site, outside of the campus. In partnership with Belle Meade United Methodist Church, Korn will teach his New Ears program which presents in a highly participatory manner, the upcoming classical repertoire of the Nashville Symphony. Specially priced, free parking and located in the center of Nashville neighborhoods, the new program inaugurates August 23 to October 11, every Thursday from 1:30-3:30 PM at Belle Meade United Methodist Church.

Mitchell Korn and his associates provide a wide range of community engagement services:

-Strategic Planning for Arts Organizations, Higher Education, Philanthropy and Community Partnerships;

-Teacher Professional development in the Application of Arts to Meet State and Local Academic Standards;

-Artist Training in the Development of Community Engagement Skills and Programs;

-Community Engagement Workshops, Seminars and Classes;

-Lifelong Learning Planning and Classes;

-Family Programming, Design and Family Workshops; and

-Special Community Engagement Programs for Students, Teachers and Families, by leading musicians including Tracy Silverman, Muriel Anderson and Roger Wiesmeyer.

Special Profile – Roger Wiesmeyer on his Community Engagement Concerts:

Every January for the past 12 years, I have presented a birthday concert celebrating the music of Mozart. Why Mozart? Well… I love Mozart but really I love a lot of music and composers so there must be something else…

Of all the great composers who have any kind of standing in the public’s imagination, it seems to me Mozart is kind of the red headed stepchild. Beethoven cuts a wide swath ranging from brooding genius given to violent outbursts (5th symphony) to great humanist embracing all of humanity (9th symphony). Chopin corners the market in regards to the sickly, poetic virtuoso category. If people think of Mozart at all, it is likely in the context of the now 20 year old movie Amadeus which while a terrific film, makes no pretense towards accuracy.

In the unlikely event folks think about his music, they probably think of it as somewhat lightweight, dainty if not flimsy…perhaps having heard Eine Kleine Nachtmusik for a few moments on an elevator once…
The fact of the matter is I used to feel the same way! Of course, I never copped to it. I gave him lip service. Publicly I liked it all. Privately, I loved the brooding minor keyed pieces and enjoyed the major keyed pieces politely/ patiently…

Then one day when I was in my mid 20’s I was listening to the G major Piano Concerto for the first time. Having no idea where WAM was going to take me, I was enjoying the ride (politely/patiently) when BOOM!! he switched to minor, added suspensions and cascading wind lines and grabbed my attention with some of the most toe-curlingly gorgeous music I had ever heard! It is the juxtaposition of these two ways of being expressive that make Mozart so amazing. If one is polite all the time, it really does feel like elevator music. If one aims to curl toes more than once or twice every 20 minutes, your audience can begin to feel like an experimental rat with a cocaine lever. Mozart, the exemplar of the classical style almost always strikes the right balance.

Having the zeal of the (self) converted, I want to share this with EVERYONE! I love it when I tell folks about an up coming concert and they say: “I really don’t like Mozart that much. I prefer Tchaikovsky.” To which I reply Tchaikovsky adored Mozart. It also works with Ravel, Richard Strauss, Mahler, the list goes on and on.

Another aspect of the Mozart birthday concert I love, is all the musicians services are donated and any money raised is split between the good folks at Edgehill United Methodist Church (the home of these concerts) and a local non profit. So many life giving, spiritual things have been/are being commodified in our society, this night gives all those in attendance the opportunity to jump off that wheel and commune with something musical that is older than the latest hit on the radio or the latest viral Youtube video. It brings people together (Edgehill community, my friends, the beneficiaries of the concert and folks who read about it in the media and came to check us out and stay for a piece of cake—thanks Mom!). Bringing people and communities together is essential to my mission.

On Sept 2nd 2012, I will be streaming a concert live on the web from my house on my 108 year-old Steinway. You can watch it on Stageit.com and will feature music of… wait for it… BRAHMS who loved, studied, edited and collected manuscripts of Mozart! The Intermezzi I will be playing are among my favorite pieces (opp 118 and 119). ”Tickets“ are $5 but you can tip more which I recommend as all the profit will go to benefit The Contributer, Nashville amazing newspaper that is sold by homeless people and has changed the lives of thousands of Nashvillians, both homeless and domiciled.