Colors of Spring

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, there are many new developments across the past week with music research and postgraduate studies here in Bergen, Norway. Shown here is a photo I took outside the window just three days ago, which demonstrates the unique colors of late springtime.    

I am pleased to announce that the Nordic Network for Music Education (NNME) has been awarded a substantial budget to continue its operations through 2021. This state-funded international network organizes intensive joint Master classes and exchange of music teachers and students across all Master-degree awarding music teacher education programs in the eight Nordic and Baltic countries. We have recently published a book from the network, and we are seeking to increase our collaboration through joint courses and (ultimately) programs.  

The Grieg Academy Music Education research group has also received an additional budget this spring based on its history of successful research outcomes, including refereed journal articles, books, encyclopedia entries, and chapters in major research handbooks. 

Finally, there has been very strong interest in our new PhD course Non-Western Educational Philosophy and Policy. I am happy to report that doctoral students applied to this course from such countries as China, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Canada, Guyana, South Africa, Nigeria, Poland, the UK, Luxembourg, and Denmark, and from doctoral programs at leading education faculties, such as University College London and Education University of Hong Kong. We have great plans for this unique course which will be offered entirely online in late May.

We are hopeful that life may return to "normal" relatively soon, to the extent possible, and that until then we can all learn to be more patient. Hopefully by Autumn many activities will resume again, although much caution will still be necessary.


Cultural Heritage Policy Book

A few days ago I was able to complete and send the detailed plans for a new book that is being developed by an excellent group of contributing authors. They seem to be an ideal team for our topic, and I am thankful for their important contributions to an international-comparative volume that is likely to change how music is understood in the context of international relations.

It seemed worthwhile to introduce the team here, as they proceed with further development of their chapters.

About the Contributing Authors:

Marja Heimonen, DMus, Docent in Music Education, is a University Lecturer at the University of the Arts Helsinki. She also has a master-level law degree from University of Helsinki. In addition to her doctoral dissertation on music education and law, she has published chapters in books and anthologies, and articles in several different scholarly journals. She is the Managing Editor of the Finnish Journal of Music Education.

Juqian Li, PhD, is a Professor of International Law with China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing, where he has directed the Public International Law Research Institute. He is also Director of Norway’s Confucius Institute and has been a visiting professor in South Korea and Iceland. He has authored 15 books and 20 articles on international law and international economic law, including in Introduction of Space Law, WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism, International Law and International Law Commentary.

Marianne Løkke Jakobsen is Director of International Affairs with the Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen, where she also has served as founding Director of the Music Confucius Institute. She has led several projects that advance music collaborations between China and Europe.

Jonathan McCollum, PhD, is an Associate Professor with Washington College (USA) and founding Chair of the Historical Ethnomusicology special interest group of the Society for Ethnomusicology. He is known for his widely published contributions to the historiography of global music, and music traditions in Armenia and Japan.

Elnora Mamadjanova, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department or Music History and Criticism with the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan, Tashkent. She has coordinated several international musicology symposia affiliated with international music festivals in Uzbekistan. Her publications include the book Traditional Music of the Uzbeks (Extremum, 2016).

Rohan Sagar is Director of the Harpy Eagle Foundation and has worked for government ministries in Guyana, including projects for archival documentation of minority music traditions and development of a national music curriculum.

Nguyễn Thanh Thủy, PhD, is a leading Master performer of the Vietnamese traditional instrument dan tranh who recently completed doctoral studies at the Malmo Academy Music, Lund University, Sweden.

Stefan Östersjö, PhD, a professional guitarist and widely-published pioneer of intercultural studies in the field of Artistic Research, is now a full Professor and coordinator of doctoral studies in music at Lulea University of Technology, Sweden.

Adam Switala is a PhD candidate in music with the University of Iceland. He is an accomplished composer and Board Member of the Polish Music Council. He has directed a nationwide research project investigating the quality of music education in compulsory schools in Poland. He has also professionally collaborated with theatrical directors, actors, and dancers in over 20 theatres, educational and art institutions, across European nations and the USA.

Nasim Niknafs, PhD, recipient of the Connaught New Researcher Award, Faculty Mobility Grant, and OMEA’s Agha Khan Initiative, is an Assistant Professor of Music Education at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. Born and raised in Iran, her publications have appeared in Philosophy of Music Education Review, International Journal of Music Education, Music Education Research, and other journals.

Karan Choudhary holds a PhD from National Law University Delhi, India and Université Paris Nanterre, France (Cotutelle), and currently works as a Metropolitan Magistrate cum Civil Judge in Delhi, India. He was recipient of an Erasmus Scholarship from the European Union and participated as a research scholar in Bergen Summer Research School. His research interests include culture, law, indigenous rights and policy designs, with publications in Interactions between Culture and Law in India and Europe, and Language, Law and Community.

Abraha Weldu holds a PhD in History and Cultural Studies from Mekelle University, Ethiopia. His doctoral dissertation is an intellectual biography of one of the most prominent diplomats and cultural attachés of twentieth-century Ethiopia. For more than seven years, he has taught courses in history and heritage studies at Bule Hora University. He was also a participant in the Bergen Summer Research School in Norway.

Rhoda Abiolu is a PhD student in the Centre for Communication, Media and Society, with University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Her research interests are in Media and Cultural studies with emphasis on media and cultural representations, ethnomusicology, participatory culture, and political economy. She was a participant in Bergen Summer Research School.

We have exciting plans for this book, and I am eager to see what they manage to send me after a few more months of work. 

Click HERE to see reviews of my first six books.


Social Distancing and Scholarship

Ironically, the “social distancing” encouraged under pandemic conditions may actually create good conditions for some kinds of scholarship, with fewer distractions for those who are trying to complete projects. Under stressful conditions, it helps to have something meaningful to focus on while we wait for life to return to normal. 

Recently I am making a lot of progress on a book co-authored with Prof. Jiaxing Xie entitled On Music Education: East-West Dialogues (Shanghai Education Press, forthcoming), and have been developing new volumes for the Deep Soundings series in historical ethnomusicology (Rowman & Littlefield press). Several postgraduate students are making great progress on their theses, which I mentor through videoconferencing, and my institution has agreed to offer a new PhD course entirely online, for which I am now preparing material. We are also having students develop music performance projects through online collaboration tools, which is likely to be very useful experience for them in the long term. 

Over the past two months, I have completed reviews of articles and books for several refereed journals and academic presses: Music Education Research, World of Music, International Journal of Music Education, Research Studies in Music Education, Finnish Journal for Music Education, Research and Issues in Music Education, Nordic Yearbook for Music Education, Amsterdam University Press, Lund University Press, and Rowman & Littlefield. I have also approved some final edits to an article in Journal of Popular Music Education, sent a book proposal to Harvard University Press, and completed much work on a new book proposal for Rowman & Littlefield.

It seems we should always try to make the most of whatever conditions arise. Hopefully the pandemic will not turn out to be as bad as feared, but for now it is certainly threatening and great caution is warranted.

UPDATE: Online PhD Course in May 2020:
Click HERE for PhD-911: Non-Western Educational Philosophy and Policy.


Covid-19 Disruptions

Norway is now on lockdown with widespread quarantine measures due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Many processes will be much slower for a while now due to emergency conditions. This also impacts an array of music-related activities and events, including rehearsals and recording sessions, concerts, tours, conferences, private lessons, and classroom teaching. One can only wonder how long it may go on: 2 months, 6 months, more ... ?

Despite the formidable challenges, this is an ideal time to make music and write. I am staying home for about a month, developing new books and mentoring students (through videoconferencing) on their thesis writing.

Both above and below are images from our home in Norway, a good place to relax, make music, and write. In both January and February, shortly before the pandemic came to Norway, I greatly enjoyed hosting co-authors from abroad (USA and China).

I really hope the suffering and deaths can be minimized. Difficult times ahead.
As of today, Norway is officially the third worst country in the world for infections per capita, although we have seen relatively few deaths, and the situation is likely to keep changing.

Here are links for further information on Covid-19 in Norway:

UPDATE: Online PhD Course in May 2020:
Click HERE for PhD-911: Non-Western Educational Philosophy and Policy.


Indigenous Music and Comparative History of Education

[UPDATE, April 5, 2020: This conference is cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.]

I recently learned that two panels which include my work have been accepted for presentation at the 34th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education, in Helsinki, Finland (August, 2020).

I eagerly look forward to collaborating with some excellent colleagues on these presentations ...

  • Indigeneity in the 21st Century Classroom: Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Scandinavia and North America (Presenters: David Johnson, Ylva Hofvander Trulsson, Patrick Schmidt, and David Hebert) 

  • Seeing Through a Wider Lens: Considering Revisionist History in Music Education (Presenters: Craig Resta, Marie McCarthy, Lia Laor, Benon Kigozi, and David Hebert). 

Link for further information: https://www.isme2020.fi/


Music Sustainability Education

Through the Nordic Network for Music Education, we have agreed on a new project for documentary videos and educational website production. This will lead toward development of an international joint Master program in Music Sustainability Education. Click above or HERE to see a sample video with further information. 

We are hopeful that support and funding can be obtained from various sources to ensure high quality outcomes for this innovative project. 

Here is a link to the Nordic Network for Music Education:

Here is a link to the new book from the Nordic Network for Music Education:

Click HERE and HERE for other examples of supporting research.


Networked Performance in Intercultural Music Creation

I look forward to a unique conference presentation in June 2020, in partnership with some innovative musicians who are also prolific artistic researchers: guitarist Stefan Östersjö, Vietnamese dan tranh master Than Thuy Nguyen, and composer Henrik Frisk

Our presentation will be part of Music in the Age of Streaming: Nordic Perspectives, International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-Norden) conference, Pitea, Sweden (June 15-17, 2020).

Below are a few key points concerning our upcoming presentation, entitled Networked Performance in Intercultural Music Creation:
  • Streaming technology is increasingly popular as a way of consuming music recordings, but it can also be used to facilitate live collaboration among performers who are geographically distant. 
  • This panel demonstrates how networked performance may contribute to the sustaining of cultural heritage among migrant/minority communities as well as to the development of innovative intercultural artistic practices. 
  • The panel discussion of networked performance builds on preliminary findings from Musical Transformations, an ongoing research project at the intersection between ethnomusicology and artistic research in music. 
  • The panel discusses findings from Musical Transformations which may contribute new insights into creative processes in intercultural contexts, and promises to have important implications for educational and cultural institutions.