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Morris educates audience about the importance of music and the arts

COE’s Marla Morris, Ph.D. performs an original composition titled “Sound Colors” at Georgia Southern University’s Performing Arts Center.


On Friday, Marla Morris, Ph.D. of the College’s Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading, took the stage of the Georgia Southern University’s Performing Arts Center to present “Educating the Inner Ear.”

Introduced by Department Chair Kent Rittschof, Ph.D., Morris opened by reading an excerpt from her most recent book Curriculum Studies Guidebooks: Volume 2 Concepts and Theoretical Frameworks.

“Elliot Eisner says that ‘historically, the arts has not been understood as a form of knowledge,’” said Morris. “One of the reasons the first cuts to school curriculum are the arts is probably because people still think of art courses are merely ‘ornamental’ to use Eisner’s words.”

Morris explained that art was both an emotional and thought-filled process.

“To write a composition or choreograph a dance, it takes thought,” she said. “Transitions, harmonies, tonal relations, phrases, movement and sound all require a great deal of thought. The same can be said for the painter or the novelist.”

She also expressed a problematic tendency of American culture to place a low value on the arts.

“What we have seen in recent years is the collapsing of symphonies and orchestras all over the country,” Morris said. “Conservatories across the countries still draw students and turn out performers but it is hard to make a living being a classical musician and many symphony musicians have had to take deep cuts in salaries within the last few years.”

“Artists in general are not supported in American culture as they are in Europe because they are not valued the way businessmen are,” she added.

Morris poses for a photo with her students.

“In American culture, it seems that an individual’s worth is measured by how much money he makes. Musicians do not make much money.”

Once completing the lecture, Morris performed an original composition titled “Sound Colors.”

“You decide what this music means to you,” said Morris of the composition. “One thing is clear though; this piano is a steinway–the best of the best. And I feel very fortunate to be able to play on such a gorgeous instrument.”

A complete video of “Educating the Inner Ear” is available for streaming on the College of Education’s YouTube account. View “Educating the Inner Ear” here.


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