What is art? For many it is categorized in two ways; a live performance or a visual piece. Audiences seat in a concert hall or walk through an exhibit and art is presented to them. In this model art is a thing, but I believe it to be much more than a tangible object. When an experience can alter your thoughts, challenge your opinions, or create a revelation, true art is achieved.
The pragmatic philosopher and educational pedagogue, John Dewey described art as something felt rather than known. He believed so strongly in this that in the later years of his life he called on society to live artfully. According to Dewey, to live artfully meant that a person does not take what is given to them as fact until they explore and find its depth, vividness and meaning. To live artfully means to be engaged in the world.
I may be biased, but I believe that music is the greatest aid to this artful lifestyle. When submersed in the music making process, a person naturally forms opinions and executes decisions, all within a community of other people. Take the video below, which outlines an approach to public school music education, as an example.
Living artfully can be clearly attainable and seen in the music classroom. It gives students all the tools to be in charge of their learning, to have a say in their world. But this is not just a model for education, it is a model for social change.
I believe that The Noon Project shares the same ideal and hope for an artful lifestyle. The organization’s hope is to educate our community on the inhumane acts occurring in the Middle East, while at the same time creating a community of understanding and peace in the region, all through the medium of art. It is a daunting tasks, but luckily for The Noon Project they are joining an artistic movement that already has an incredible leader: The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra.
As you read this blog and explore The Noon Project’s website, I hope that your thoughts are provoked. I hope that you begin to reflect on the world and its cruelties, and begin to think of what you can do to better it. I hope that you begin to live artfully.
Anthony Madonna is a musician, educator and administrator based in the New York Metropolitan area. As an educator he has worked with all age levels in both public school and community music settings. In 2015 Anthony received second prize at the American Choral Directors Association’s National Undergraduate Conducting Competition. He is currently part of The Juilliard School’s Professional Intern Program where he works with the Vocal Arts Department. Anthony received his B.A in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Westminster Choir Colleges. His mentors are Dr. Amanda Quist, Tom Shelton, Dr. JJ Penna, and Zehava Gal. For more information please visit his website: apmadonna.weebly.com