Arts & Education Writings

We Need the Arts Now More than Ever

05 October 2020

The Arts are a vital part of how humanity copes with crisis: by communicating human emotion through creative activities. There is something cathartic about the shared artistic experience that transcends all artificial boundaries, be they political, racial, or otherwise. Ultimately, we are all human.… [more]

Creative Arts Degrees for 21st-Century Careers

02 December 2019

Universities do a great deal more than teaching, as reflected through the fact that academic staff at the typical university are expected to engage in teaching, research, and service. It is through these activities that higher education benefits society at large: providing the transmission, discovery, and application of… [more]

Audience Participation in Classical Music

08 March 2019

Introducing the element of chance by allowing the audience to influence a performance: Aleatoric or “chance” music has existed in one form or another in western art music for centuries, having become something of a staple of Modern Music of the 20th and 21st centuries. One 18th century… [more]

The Creative Process: One Perspective

15 November 2018

When a composer sits down with a blank sheet of paper, or a blank computer screen, what is the process that leads to a completed piece of music? Further, how does that completed work become a performance? While this process most certainly differs from one composition to another… [more]

Customer-Driven Education: Who is the customer?

15 November 2018

Much of the business world moved toward a customer-driven model through the 20th century. Toward the end of that century and into the current one, many universities began pushing to adopt a similar model. While this seems like a sound idea, it is obviously important first to identify… [more]

Merdeka and Jazz: Freedom, Responsibility, and Jazz

5 September 2018

Writing this as Malaysia celebrates Hari Merdeka, it occurs to me that the story of jazz, in many respects, is the story of freedom. Early jazz musicians, African-Americans in New Orleans around 1900, would have been the children of former slaves. They understood intuitively what freedom means: the… [more]

Prepare for Your Future – Not for a Job

14 May 2018

In my position as Dean of the School of Arts at Sunway University, one of the most frequent questions I am asked by prospective students and their families is “What job will I get with this degree?” My typical answer seems to surprise them: “Don’t train for a job… [more]

University Rankings and The Arts

03 March 2018

Recently, I had the opportunity to complete a survey for one of the university ranking organizations. At the end, there was a box for additional thoughts. These were mine: I believe that the focus on STEM publication makes the ____ university rankings nearly useless as regards arts fields. [more]

Public Value of Higher Education

05 February 2018

What is the purpose of higher education in our world today? Is it exclusively for job training, in which the individual student is the primary beneficiary, or are there other, more public values accrued? To answer this question, consider a sampling of university mission statements from around the world:… [more]

Arts Education in the 21st Century

05 September 2017

With the rapid pace of technological change leading to an uncertain economic future, schools today are expected to focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) on the assumption that these are the paths that will best prepare students for successful futures. Given this worldview, what is the… [more]


Don Bowyer
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