My alma mater, Lawrence University, is pushing social media hard, as is my employer, DePauw University. DePauw's School of Music has started a streaming radio program (and podcast), Music For Life, which will not only help make connections with the rest of the campus, but will also be a means of outreach into the larger community. Lawrence's Conservatory of Music has an active blog. Both schools have Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, which will end up being more important than direct mailings for the coming generation of students.
Anyhow, when Brian Pertl shared a link to the Lawrence Con's blog on Facebook, I discovered a post there I had somehow missed, on the importance of improvisation. We have also been pushing improvisation at DePauw, for the same reasons Brian mentions. Our cello professor, Eric Edberg, leads an improvised chamber music ensemble, our viola professor, Nicole Brockmann, teaches improvisation within a first year seminar on Eurythmics, and wrote a book on improvisation games for chamber ensembles, and we have an active jazz program, including a weekly performance venue at the local campus restaurant, The Fluttering Duck. This weekly series, Jazz at the Duck, has started including open jams interspersed with established acts. And I have developed a core of collaborative composition/improvisation activities for our musicianship sequence, which I wrote about here (you need to purchase the article from the Dutch Music Theory Journal.) By the time DePauw music students have finished their studies here, they will have had at least three semesters of personal experience with improvisation, and countless exposures to improvisation by their colleagues and professors. Because improvising is fluency in the language of music, and musical fluency is both a professional necessity and a important part of being human.