Semester break is time for recreation and re-creation. Here is a little gimmick for you to keep in shape during the summer months. Proudly introducing a newly devised worksheet called RagTangles™, based on one of Scott Joplin‘s most popular compositions, The Easy Winners. Except the very first one, every ragtangle’s position is mixed up. Now it’s your turn to bring them in the correct order—but, needless to say, without checking the original sheet music first. Have fun!
With sorrow and compassion I learned that my former teacher Lajos Papp (1935–2019), the most influential figure in the musical education of my early youth, has passed away on January 17. As a composer and committed piano pedagogue who served at Oldenburg music school for decades, Papp has significantly formed my personality, and I consider myself lucky to have enjoyed his tuition. Even though he taught me for only about three years, I continue to draw on his undogmatic and sensitive approach, fostering the creativity and individuality of students at any time, in my own teaching and music-making. A native of Debrecen, he was rooted in the Hungarian school of music education, acquainting me with the works of Béla Bartók and his own fine compositions that remain to be a source of inspiration for me to this day. May he rest in peace, and may his legacy continue to shape the education of auspicious young musicians!
My second semester as a lecturer in music theory at Robert Schumann Hochschule Düsseldorf is almost over. Most of my students in the musicology minor programme are communicative and highly motivated, and I particularly enjoy teaching because of the many smart questions I am asked. Now marking a number of counterpoint and thoroughbass exercises before compiling the upcoming written and oral tests—40 candidates in the preparatory class are awaiting their module examinations.
The ongoing discussion in VAN Magazine on the future of music education in Germany reaches another level. In her follow-up article to the recent contributions by Clemens Thomas, Heinz Geuen, Esther Bishop, and myself, Judith Gerhardt finally adds the perspective of music pedagogy students at Berlin University of the Arts, focusing on the misbalance between soloist training (which is way more encouraged and promoted at institutions) and music education (a subject generally regarded as inferior and less representative, despite its significantly higher social and political relevance). Once more it becomes apparent that a paradigm change is overdue—and now, after students and musicians have variously expressed their discontent with the present system, it is about time for administrations and educational policy on federal and state level to join the discussion and determine how professional music education can be re-organised and modernised.