Peter Wood: High Art Deserves A Place in Higher Education

PETER WOOD has a great article on why High Art Deserves a Place in Higher Education: “To engage today’s students with the high arts requires giving students what may be their first real glimpses of serious art, their first real hearings of serious music, and so on.  Creating the conditions for this in the contemporary university requires finesse.  The teacher is implicitly competing with other teachers who pander to the students’ lowest tastes, including pornography. Such faculty members, as Teachout said, embody settled hostility to any cultural aspiration higher than their own eagerness to write graffiti on marble monuments of Western civilization.  We can’t expect students, or at least many students, to swoon on first hearing Beethoven’s Third Symphony.  What we can expect is that some students, in fact, will comprehend the magic in great art and great performance.

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