Music and Globalization in a Digital Age

I am pleased to announce that a contract has just been offered for my latest book, which will be co-edited with Polish musicologist Mikolaj Rykowsi. We have several outstanding contributors, mostly musicologists and music educators from central and Eastern Europe, who address an array of topics associated with how globalization is changing music worldwide:

Hebert, D. G. & Rykowski, M. (Eds.), (2016, forthcoming). Music Glocalization: Heritage and Innovation in a Digital Age. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

This book is scheduled to be published in late 2016 following publication of a book on East Asian cultural studies:

Hebert, D. G. (Ed.), (2016, forthcoming). International Perspectives on Translation, Education, and Innovation in Japanese and Korean Societies. Dordrecht: Springer.

It is also exciting to have an opportunity to return to Samarkand, Uzbekistan soon to give a keynote speech for the academic symposium at the extraordinary Sharq Taronalari music festival. 


Grieg Academy Music Education

Announcing the Grieg Academy Music Education research group (GAME) . . . . . . .

GAME - The Grieg Academy Music Education Research Group
(Griegakademiets forskergruppe for musikkpedagogikk)

The Grieg Academy Music Education research group (GAME) was created in 2015 as a collaboration between music education researchers at Bergen University College and the University of Bergen for the purpose of establishing and promoting new research projects in the field of music education.

GAME will work for:
Development of new knowledge that stimulates critical reflection on pedagogical and learning practices in music education
Development of, and recruitment toward, postgraduate music education studies on the Master and PhD-levels.
Active conference participation and presentations of GAME-related research projects, in local, national, and international settings.
Expanding contact and collaboration with other research environments and individual scholars in Norway and abroad.
Planning and implementation of events in Bergen for knowledge sharing across the music teaching profession.

Members of the research group:

David G. Hebert, Professor, Bergen University College (leader of GAME)
Steinar Sætre, Associate Professor, University of Bergen
Tom Eide Osa, Associate Professor, University of Bergen
Tiri Bergesen Schei, Associate Professor, Bergen University College
Silje Valde Onsrud, Associate Professor, Bergen University College
Aslaug Furholt, Assistant Professor, Bergen University College


Major Research Topics of Shared Interest 

Musical knowledge, music performance research, philosophy of music/education, music in early childhood, musical identity, improvisation and creativity, music education in East Asia, performance-based learning

Research Methodologies:
Ethnography, historiography, qualitative interviews, global studies, video analyses

Theoretical Orientations:
Transdisciplinarity, gender theory, sociocultural theory, phenomenology, globalization/internationalism, motivational theory, social epistemology

More information: 


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 along with the May Day Group Colloquium 27 (New Orleans), followed by 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 also a 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: