Exploring the impact of music

GVL/Archive- Megan Reiter Crawford (left) and Sookkyung Cho (right) perform together inside of Grand Valleys Cook-DeWitt on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 in Allendale.


GVL/Archive- Megan Reiter Crawford (left) and Sookkyung Cho (right) perform together inside of Grand Valley’s Cook-DeWitt on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 in Allendale.

Eva Perron

Renowned musicians, as well as musical professors and directors, will unite to introduce Grand Valley State University’s first Musicians and Citizens panel discussion Wednesday, Feb. 1, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Room 1200 of the Performing Arts Center. 

The event, which is being put on by the GVSU department of music and dance, will include a brief musical introduction followed by a panel discussion focusing on the many roles of music in contemporary society.

“Does music matter?” said Sookkyung Cho, assistant professor of piano at GVSU. “Does music matter to musicians only? How does it affect the listener? What do we, the musician and the audience, get out of musical performance?” 

Although Cho will not be performing herself, she will be guiding the audience in a multi-faceted conversation to address and attempt to answer these and other questions.

A panel discussion about the relationship between music-making and music interpretation will begin shortly after an introductory performance of the Scherzo movement of Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49. The panelists and audience members will then have the opportunity to discuss issues such as why individuals pursue expertise within the music field and dedicate their entire lives to its cause.

When faced with such a broad idea, participants are encouraged to voice their opinions on the impact of music.

“In what ways is music meaningful?” Cho said, a question that can be answered in a myriad of ways depending on who is asked. After decades of time and patience put into mastering a certain skill, musicians are reaching out to listeners with the hope of discovering what they think.

“We are opening up the discussion for all of the audience to participate,” Cho said. “It will be a time for all of us to learn.”

The artists on the panel will also discuss the ways music has allowed them to bring change to the world as a whole. Globally recognized cellist, Jia Kim, will take part in the discussion and may refer to her work as the new artistic director of International Music Sessions, a program that gathers youths from across the world to promote cultural exchange through music.

Another distinguished musician, violinist Miki-Sophia Cloud, may be regarded for her commitment to music as an emissary for social change through directing community partnerships and educational programs.

In today’s diverse population, music remains a powerful bridge between different people and cultures. This is a concept Cho will discuss, as well as the idea that music is a form of power. The main focus of the discussions will be centered on classical compositions, which may then lead to dialogue about the social role this historic art form has played within all cultures.

“We are trying to bridge the gap between musicians and non-musicians,” Cho said.

One goal of the event is to equip attendees with a better understanding of the benefits of music so they can appreciate it as more than just sounds and symbols on a page. Musicians and Citizens will give attendees the opportunity to learn more about the many ways music genuinely influences people.

For more information about Musicians and Citizens visit www.gvsu.edu/events/musicians-and-citizens/.