Rommetveit Summer School

June is nearly here, and upon returning from some teaching and research in Beijing, I now look forward to the Rommetveit Summer School (an annual event of the Grieg Research School), which will be held June 9th to 12th, 2015. This year’s seminar theme is “The art and science of improvisation in education”. Below is an explanation of this year’s joint conference from its welcome statement:

“The summer-school is a collaboration between Stord/Haugesund University College (SHUC), Grieg Research School in Interdisciplinary Music Studies (GRS)  and The Norwegian National Graduate School in Teacher Education (NAFOL). The venue of the summer-school is SHUC’s campus on the island of Stord located at the mouth of the Hardangerfjord.”

Here is a link for further details: http://prosjektsider.hsh.no/r15/

Several prolific scholars from such fields as ethnomusicology and arts education will be giving presentations, including Liora Bresler, Keith Sawyer, Ted Solis, Gert Biesta, Laudan Nooshin, and others.

My current PhD students will give presentations at the Rommetveit Summer School, and on Friday I will also serve as a respondent for PhD candidate presentations by scholars from other institutions: Elizabeth Oltedal and Una MacGlone. Due to final examinations I will need to miss some of the conference, but the exams will also be very interesting as we get to see what new works our student songwriters have composed as part of their Bachelor degree studies. 


Sounds Like Nordic Spring

Photo: David G. Hebert, May 2015, all rights reserved.

The Nordic spring has sprung at last (with incredibly long and bright days), and there are various new developments with the music programs at my institution. We will soon be making curricular plans for a 5-year integrated Bachelor/Master program, which provides an opportunity to develop some new approaches. We also recently offered an honorary concert “You Taught My Heart to Sing” that celebrated the distinguished career of our fine jazz keyboard teacher, Stein Bakke. He has been with the institution for over 40 years, and will retire soon. A few weeks ago I was also appointed institutional coordinator for the Nordic Network for Music Education, a productive organization with a focus on postgraduate training, which has active members in several Nordic and Baltic countries. The network is funded by Nordplus and coordinated internationally by Torunn Bakken Hauge through Bergen University College. 

It looks like we may soon have a partnership with Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil. UFRGS stakes a claim as one of Latin America’s most prominent research universities, with programs across virtually all major university subjects, as well as a highly regarded PhD program in music. Brazil is also a very important country for music, so we are excited about the possibility of strengthening ties with that country. I look forward to visiting there someday (perhaps with Norwegian students) and hosting Brazilian musicians in Norway.

Recently I have enjoyed Geoffrey Baker’s brand new book El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuela’s Youth, which much like one of my earlier books Wind Bands and Cultural Identity in Japanese Schools offers a detailed socio-historical examination of an entire national system of music education based on ethnographic fieldwork. El Sistema has been attracting a lot of attention worldwide, and it is good to see a thorough study that critically examines the strengths and weaknesses of this increasingly prominent approach to music education.

In terms of writing, I have finally recovered some data, the absence of which had caused a major delay in completing a book chapter. This has been an embarrassment, and I am rushing to complete that chapter now in the hope of finishing before the editor has to tell me I am too late. It is my first time facing this situation, but hopefully the last. Also, two co-authored publications are now either in press or in revision for publication in 2015: an article in the field of computational musicology (considered a division of “digital humanities”) based on a very fruitful collaboration with Kristoffer Jensen, and an article on music education in Guyana with Rohan Sagar. The contract is also finally signed for my next book, International Perspectives on Translation, Education and Innovation in Japanese and Korean Societies (David Hebert, ed., Springer, 2016). This book is based on conference proceedings and at this point requires some substantial editing and formatting, and will be ready for press by winter. I am also looking forward to an upcoming collaboration with Alex Ruthmann (NYU) and Jiaxing Xie (China Conservatory, Beijing) in a pioneering project that promises to have a major impact on how advanced institutions globally collaborate in the field of music.


Music Education in East Asia

In just a few months will be the International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education (New Orleans) and the Tenth Asia-Pacific Symposium for Music Education Research (Hong Kong). I look forward to seeing all the latest work of many great colleagues in these fields, and as well as giving two presentations in New Orleans and a panel in Hong Kong:

-Jiaxing Xie, David G. Hebert, Bo Wah Leung, Alex Ruthmann, Gary McPherson, and Liane Hentschke (chair), “Music Education via MOOCs: A Status Report on the Open Global Music Academy Project,” Intercontinental Plenary Panel (with representatives from universities on 5 continents), 10th Asia-Pacific Symposium for Music Education Research (APSMER): Music Education for the Future Generation, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, China (July 10-13, 2015).

-David G. Hebert, “Music Education from the Perspective of East Asian Social Theory,” paper presentation, Ninth International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education, Joint Session with MayDay Group Colloquium 27: “Music Education as Social, Cultural, and Political Action,” Loyola University, New Orleans, USA (June 14-17, 2015).

-Steinar Satre and David G. Hebert, “Rethinking the Institutionalization of Jazz Learning,” paper presentation, Ninth International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education, Loyola University, New Orleans, USA (June 14-17, 2015).

Scholarly Milestones

This is by no means important news for most people, but every once in a while some personal milestones are reached in the life of a scholar that may be worth a bit of private celebration. In the past two days, I suddenly reached five significant numbers as a researcher, 10 years after completion of the PhD: Today I learned that a paper co-authored with Kristoffer Jensen has been accepted for publication, which means that I will now have articles in 30 different professional journals (with more under review). Also, in Google Scholar, two days ago my citation count reached 250, with an h-index of 10 (meaning that at least 10 of my publications are cited in a minimum of 10 other publications). Also, book number 5 (as author or editor) has been approved by the managing editors of a major academic press, and a contract will most likely be offered in the next few weeks as their financial department makes its calculations. Finally, a current doctoral student is now scheduling her final hearings and examinations for the Autumn, and it appears I will soon be appointed to my 15th doctoral committee. Compared to researchers in many science fields - or those with additional decades of experience - these numbers may not be very large, but for an arts scholar born in the 1970s it convincingly indicates my research is having a confirmable impact.

Of course, writings can be endless, and like many in academia I seem to be in a permanent state of facing both impossible writing deadlines and rejected grant applications, while frequently reminding myself there is much more to life than writing. The point here is not to complain, for it is a very interesting life, with good fortune to have such opportunities, but they also call for deeper reflection. I recall that a while back I was waiting in an airport security line and noticing that the procedures are increasingly complicated and more intrusive every year. In addition to the array of physical tests and scans, I had to answer about 50 personal questions in order to be allowed to board an airplane. After inquiring for many details about my work on music research related projects in various countries, the guard asked “how does that make a difference for anyone?”. I had to admit the relevance is less obvious than medical research to minimize disease, applied science research to improve technologies, or economic research to maximize profits. Nevertheless, new knowledge of global artistic and cultural practices in its own way helps us to better understand what it is to be human, which is something we still seem to need much more of in this complex world.

Research advances knowledge and helps to make us better teachers at all levels of education. Here are some links, for anyone curious to know more about my scholarship in such fields as music education, ethnomusicology, comparative education, arts policy, and East Asian studies:


Rethinking Music Globalization

Below is the abstract from my keynote speech for the upcoming conference on Music and Globalization at the Academy of Music, Poznan, Poland:

Rethinking Music Globalization: From Exoticism to Critical Participation

In this keynote speech, I will explore the phenomenon of globalization and its distinctive impact on music in the present era. The perspective I outline here will extend upon our discussions from the previous conference (2014), as well as arguments in the recent book Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology. Globalization – the increasingly rapid exchange of people, products and ideas across the world – arguably affects many aspects of music, and there is especially strong evidence of its impact via digital technologies, from mp3 files to YouTube and MOOCs. Such concepts as “glocalization” and “cultural omnivorousness” have arisen as ways of understanding the changing role of creative industries and social media at all stages of music production and consumption, as individual artists negotiate between local practices and cosmopolitan trends. I argue that humanity has recently exited a period of digital prehistory to enter a phase of data saturation caused by the normalization of mass surveillance. This fundamental shift causes conditions that may be called “glocalimbodied,” meaning that local and global forces converge to “brand” the identities of individual actors suspended within a social structure profoundly shaped by participatory media. Musicians anywhere, working within any genre, can relatively instantly (and affordably) access global musical sounds and knowledge, and share their own contributions worldwide via the Internet. Malleable musical identities and aesthetics of authenticity – situated on a continuum from strict tradition to pioneering innovation – produce both a blurring and reactionary institutionalization of local music genres and historical styles. Such conditions call for systematic consideration of how musicians, scholars and policy-makers may evaluate projects that contribute to a cosmopolitan idiom, advance ideological and commercial agendas, or foster appreciation of the need for revitalization and sustenance of cultural heritage.

Conference Program: 


Globalization and Music, 2015

I look forward to going to the Poznan Academy of Music again soon as an Erasmus visiting professor and keynote speaker for the second symposium on globalization and music. During this visit we will finalize plans to publish a book based on both of the Poznan music globalization symposia from 2014, and now 2015.

Ubiquitous technology and various forms of techno-utopianism are common features of globalization that deeply impact music and other arts. I am currently writing about such themes in the editorial conclusion for a technology special focus issue of Arts Education Policy Review, as well as a chapter on New Zealand Maori brass bands for a book on the transculturation of bands in the Pacific islands.

My article on militarism in music education was just published in Music Educators Journal, the most widely circulated publication among American music teachers. It is a rather critical article in a special issue that largely celebrates cooperation between military bands and school music programs, and I felt fortunate to have this high profile opportunity to offer an alternative perspective. I have also recently submitted definitions for both "Sociomusicology" and "Competitions in Music" and a co-authored definition for "Historical Ethnomusicology," all of which were contracted to appear in the forthcoming SAGE Encyclopedia of Ethnomusicology.

Recently I had the opportunity to review a very interesting book that could be happily endorsed: Promoting Global Competence and Social Justice in Teacher Education

In my view, the book offers "a rich collection of insightful contributions that demonstrate both the benefits of, and practical strategies for, internationalization of teacher education. Many American teachers graduate from education departments with surprisingly little knowledge of America’s role in the world. This book describes several pioneering programs that help to alleviate this problem through innovative approaches to transformative, experiential learning. In these times when the power of unrestrained corporations, militarism, and mass surveillance threaten democracy and human rights, there is a pressing need for such a book that inspires an empathetic, global perspective among teacher educators."

I look forward to some trips this spring and summer to both Tokyo and Beijing, where I have various long-term music projects (including plans for translation of my books into Chinese and Japanese languages), as well as some upcoming presentations for the International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education (New Orleans) and the Tenth Asia-Pacific Symposium for Music Education Research (Hong Kong), and planning for a visiting professorship in the autumn in Brazil.


Digitization and the Musical Future

Most music production and consumption is now mediated as digital files via the Internet – instantly accessible and instantly identified – under conditions that are profoundly changing the nature of musical experience. Music institutions have gradually been devising new ways of responding to this fundamental sociomusical shift, which will ultimately affect many aspects of both research and development, as well as curriculum. 

A few of my current projects in Europe and Asia offer interesting examples of “glocalization” in the sphere of music. With two musicologist colleagues in Poland - Mikolaj Rykowski and Janina Tatarska - I am presently developing a book on the impact of globalization in music, based on international conferences in 2014 and 2015 at the Academy of Music in Poznan (with chapters by ourselves, Krzysztof Moraczewskis, and other scholars). 

I am also now serving as External Reviewer for an innovative new Master program in Community-Based Arts Education at Hong Kong Institute of Education, which offers promising responses to the challenges of glocalization in contemporary arts pedagogy. In Beijing, I am working with the China Conservatory for development of its Open Global Music Academy, an initiative of the International Music Institutions Leaders Forum, which will facilitate effective online collaboration between several higher education music institutions around the world. It will be exciting to see how these projects develop further in 2015.

UPDATE (9 January, 2015): Below are program pages from my keynote speech on the first day of 2015: "Strategies for Attracting Global Attention to Research in Chinese Music Education," at Chinese Traditional Culture's Diversity in Music Education Research: An Academic Forum, hosted by China Conservatory (Nirvana Resort Hotel, Beijing, January 1-2, 2015). Organized by Professor Jiaxing Xie, this was a national conference with over 50 registered presenters from 25 Chinese university, college and conservatory music programs: music educationists, musicologists, ethnomusicologists, performers, arts managers, and music technology specialists. The keynote speech had simultaneous translation into Chinese. The other presentations covered an array of research topics, and especially demonstrated interest in the changing conditions of traditional music in an era of digitization.