International PhD Course in Summer 2020

Sunnhordland newspaper recently published a description of innovative approaches in a new course that I developed and taught during the summer (July 14, 2020 edition, p.5). I would like to thank editor Hilde Vormedal Nybø for approving its publication, and here is a link to Sunnhordland, which I encourage Norwegian readers to support: https://www.sunnhordland.no/

The article describes an example of how the higher education sector in Norway has devised creative ways of strengthening international education despite the challenges of the Covid19 pandemic. In May and June of this year, Høgskolen på Vestlandet (HVL) offered the new course PhD 911: Non-Western Educational Philosophy and Policy within its PhD program in Bildung and Didactical Practices. Fitting its international theme, the course was taught in English, and due to the Coronavirus, all course activities were facilitated through online learning. 

In the context of increasing calls for internationalization, and the “decolonizing universities” movement impacting higher education worldwide, there is much demand for an innovative course on this topic, and education doctoral students from many countries participated (along with Norwegian students) in the online course: China, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Canada, Guyana, South Africa, Nigeria, Poland, the UK, Luxembourg, and Denmark. This even included doctoral candidates from the world’s most highly ranked faculties of education, with multiple students from both University College London (UK) and Education University of Hong Kong (China). According to the PhD program manager, this was “the first time” to have so much interest in an elective course of this kind. Typically, a 7-student minimum is needed for these elective courses, but more than 20 students were admitted . . . 

Very positive teaching evaluations and an overall high quality of final papers were among the notable outcomes from this course, and participants are now collaboratively developing a book manuscript based on the course theme and its final papers. 

While the Coronavirus has been a challenge, the decision to offer online education as a response has generated some new opportunities for international cooperation. We may be hopeful that some of these developments will turn out to be positive in the long-term. 

Click HERE for further information about this course, which we look forward to offering again in 2022. Also, click HERE for information on the upcoming intensive summer PhD course Internationalizing Higher Education, to be offered through Bergen Summer Research School.  


Journal of Popular Music Education: Internet Special Issue

The Journal of Popular Music Education is now publishing an Internet Special Issue edited by Christopher Cayari (Purdue University) which is focused on Internet-based music learning.

This has become an important topic especially under the Covid19 pandemic conditions. 

Click HERE to access the journal.

Among others, the special issue includes the following article:

Brudvik, S. & Hebert, D. G. (2020). What’s stopping you?: Impediments to incorporating popular music technologies in schools. Journal of Popular Music Education, 4(2), pp.135-152.  

Below is a public domain image (from LSDB's Anatomography project) of the hippocampus, which plays an important role in music appreciation. 



Teaching World Music in Higher Education

Have you considered teaching a World Music course for a college or university? Is your administration hoping to see World Music courses offered, or do you know someone who has mentioned the possibility of teaching this subject? For some lecturers, this vast field can be an intimidating assignment for which it is hard to know where to begin. Even for ethnomusicologists who have taught World Music for years, it can be difficult to envision fresh and creative approaches to the subject beyond standard textbooks. This new book offers helpful stimulation for anyone interested in teaching a successful World Music course to students in higher education. 

Link for details: 


A Quarter-Million Visitors

It has now been over 13 years since I started posting various activities and announcements on this website, which across time has turned into a kind of digital portfolio. It is hard to believe, but according to statistics from the host Blogger, by mid-Autumn I am projected to have had a total of over 250,000 visitors to Sociomusicology. Those numbers are much larger than I would have ever expected, but some of the traffic might be "bots" rather than real live humans.

The very first post on Sociomusicology was about visiting Kyoto, Japan, in 2007 to complete research for my first book, while working as a young Assistant Professor at Boston University. As I would later write, just a few months afterward, it was a pleasure to have such activities as playing trumpet in Boston for Honkfest with Charlie Keil and Reebee Garofalo, and with bluesman Lou Pride in Victor Coelho’s great band. I was also excited about the work of my doctoral students, as well as the landmark Tanglewood-II symposium, but by the end of the year I left for a new job as a full professor in Finland, and eventually ended up in Norway.

Since 2007, there have been so many developments and activities that I could never have imagined. Those who have done any online writing in a blog, or related medium, will know that it can be difficult to decide what to write (and what to leave out), and inevitably issues arise across years in one’s older posts, such as broken links, formatting changes, and images that are no longer online. Meanwhile, the technology keeps evolving, especially across more than a decade. With time, I have gradually started to include more videos and photos, but never felt the need to have much interactivity built into the site. I figured that if people were curious about something they read, they could always just send me an email, and indeed, there have been many messages from strangers. I regret that sometimes I have been so busy that it has taken a while to reply.

Today most online activity is centered on proprietary social media that emphasize instant interaction and enable “big data” analytics for targeted advertising and surveillance: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Nevertheless, I think it still remains useful to maintain a site with one’s own content, something to link to with relative autonomy, so Sociomusicology will probably keep going for a while longer.

Displayed above are various systems that humans use to represent numbers, as well as a bit of time-lapse photography taken a few days ago from beside my home as mist was drifting across the lake.


Ethnomusicology and Cultural Diplomacy

For many generations, the cross-cultural study of music has been an important way of both fostering intercultural understanding and strengthening international relations. What counts as heritage has been rapidly changing as a consequence of globalization and commodification, and today western art music and hip-hop may be as much a part of cultural diplomacy as traditional folk music and Indigenous traditions. 

The book Ethnomusicology and Cultural Diplomacy (forthcoming, 2021, Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield) aims to examine this topic to an unprecedented level of detail, from the perspectives of cultural diplomacy, international law, and (ethno)musicology. This unique book promises new insights for educators, researchers and policy-makers.

Click HERE to learn about the book’s contributing authors.

Click HERE for an article related to this topic from The Norwegian American.

This book is a new volume under development that is forthcoming in the series Deep Soundings: The Lexington Series in Historical Ethnomusicology.


Music in the Age of Streaming

The timely conference Music in the Age of Streaming will be held as scheduled next week, but offered entirely online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Click HERE for details regarding our presentation on Networked Performance in Intercultural Music Creation.

The presentation reports on an innovative project developed by artistic researchers: guitarist Stefan Östersjö, Vietnamese dan tranh master Than Thuy Nguyen, and composer Henrik Frisk, while my own role has been to provide an empirical research (ethnomusicological) perspective. The project Networked Performance in Intercultural Music Creation is producing some exciting outcomes that I think will improve understandings of online musical interaction, including streaming technologies.

The application of digital technologies in ethnomusicology and music education is a topic I have long been researching (for more than a decade). Below are some publications in this area from just the past five years, two of which are in collaboration with talented students from Norway, while others are with accomplished colleagues at universities in the US, China, and Poland:

  • Xie, J. & Hebert, D. G. (2020, forthcoming). Establishment of an Innovative Higher Education Initiative in Beijing: The Open Global Music Academy 「全球开放音乐学院——在北京建立一个创新高等音乐教育机构的计划」. In R. Allsup, (Ed.), Proceedings from New Directions for Performance and Music Teacher Education: A Symposium on University Music Education in China (Xiamen University).
  • Hebert, D. G. & Williams, S. (2020). Ethnomusicology, Music Education, and the Power and Limitations of Social Media. In Janice Waldron, Stephanie Horsley, & Kari Veblen (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Brudvik, S. & Hebert, D. G. (2020). What’s stopping you?: Impediments to incorporating popular music technologies in schools. Journal of Popular Music Education, 4(2). 
  • Husby, B. V. & Hebert, D. G. (2019). Integrated Learning of Music and Science: Reception of Björk’s Biophilia Project in the Nordic Countries. In D. G. Hebert & T. B. Hauge, (Eds.), Advancing Music Education in Northern Europe (pp.222-246). New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.   
  • Hebert, D. G. & Rykowski, M. (Eds.), (2018). Music Glocalization: Heritage and Innovation in a Digital Age. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 
  • Ruthmann, A. & Hebert, D. G. (2018). Music Learning and New Media in Virtual and Online Environments. In G. McPherson & G. Welch (Eds.), Creativities, Technologies, and Media in Music Learning and Teaching, an Oxford Handbook of Music Education, volume 5 (pp.254-271). Oxford: Oxford University Press (updated edition of 2012 publication).
  • Hebert, D. G. (2016). Editorial Introduction: Technology and Arts Education Policy. Arts Education Policy Review, 117(3), 141-145 (“Technology” Special Issue). 


Internationalizing Higher Education

It is a pleasure to announce that in June 2021 we will be offering a new intensive PhD course through Bergen Summer Research School called Internationalizing Higher Education. The purpose of this course is to examine both theoretical and practical approaches to the improvement of international cooperation in the field of higher education, and it is designed to be of benefit to both professors and senior administrators. 

I previously taught courses in cultural policy for BSRS: Cultural Policy: Arts Heritage and Sustainability (2019), and Cultural Heritage and Policy in a Digital Age (2018), and although this new course has a different focus we intend to include a strong arts component. I will be coordinating the 2021 course along with Robert Gray and Steinar Sætre, both based at University of Bergen. We will post links to more details when they become available.

Bergen Summer Research School courses explore interdisciplinary topics at the interface between society, science, and global challenges, and tend to attract 100 PhD candidates each year from all around the world, many of whom are sponsored by scholarships. It is a unique opportunity to obtain advanced research training while building international professional networks.

On a more personal note, I was recently asked to compile a dossier of my teaching, and was pleasantly surprised to receive enthusiastic endorsements from numerous former students and colleagues. Upon actually counting, I found that over the years I have taught for 85 institutions on each inhabited continent. It has been quite an adventure, and I am forever grateful for the opportunities. There is so much to learn from international dialogue. Hopefully we will receive lots of strong applications for the BSRS 2021 course, and can have a positive impact on colleges and universities that are seeking to open up for more international cooperation. 

Here is a video that shows what Bergen is like at this time of year ...