Synergy - the website, the book, and the community - is the brainchild of Robert Martin.

In a career spanning 6 decades, Robert Martin was cellist of a string quartet, professor of philosophy, and vice president of a liberal arts college. In 2005 he led the founding of a new conservatory of music at Bard College in the United States, the first (and so far only) conservatory to require all its students to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in a field other than music in addition to their specialized music studies. Since leaving Bard, Martin continues to devote himself to the rethinking of music education, as a consultant and through authorship of Synergy: Music and the Liberal Arts.

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is an interaction giving rise to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

The synergy of music and the liberal arts creates a whole person, a thinking musician with the skills to move in new directions, to assume a leadership role in society, or simply to continue to grow as a musician. The early training of the musician rests on discipline and focus which carry over to the study of other fields. Study of the liberal arts brings a widening of perspective and an ability to see connections, which make the difference between technical proficiency and genuine artistry.

The synergy of a conservatory and a university requires boldness, because the forces that keep them apart are deeply rooted in tradition. A new generation of broadly educated musicians will provide the leadership to challenge old assumptions and prejudices.

The founding of the first great modern conservatory in the western world, that of Paris in 1795, was a socially progressive, forward-looking attempt to bring dignity to the profession. This was a big step forward. It is time now to take the next big step, and to make the best of university education easily available to all musicians.

"My book will inspire music students to insist on the education they deserve, and challenge music educators to find new flexible structures that empower and embolden students. Because I have included the voices of graduates, now in many countries and following many paths, the book will give confidence in the value of  the results."

Robert Martin
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Robert is open for ideas, questions, projects, and requests for further conversations. You can email him to request a PDF translation into Chinese of SYNERGY: Music and the Liberal Arts. Send him an email by pressing the button below.
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