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 they indicate 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.

Translation, Education, and Innovation

UPDATE: We now have a contract offer from Springer press, and the book will be published in early 2016 under the title International Perspectives on Translation, Education and Innovation in Japanese and Korean Societies, Ed., David Hebert (Springer, 2016). 

Translation, Education, and Innovation, the 25th anniversary symposium proceedings of the Nordic Association for Japanese and Korean Studies (NAJAKS) is nearly ready for publication.

The NAJAKS-2013 organizing committee (Benedicte Irgens, Kristin Rygg, and David Hebert) introduced the conference as follows:

In these times of globalization and digitization, the world has become increasingly complex and interconnected. Communication across borders and languages from around the world is now an immense feature of daily life, and the need for cultural, linguistic and translational competence is ever present. Migration, ethnic conflicts and environmental challenges call for new forms of international understanding and cooperation, as well as a constant focus on quality in education and on accommodating innovation across diverse fields. This is especially true for modernized Asian countries like Japan and Korea, which have a great economic and cultural impact on daily life in Europe that is often underappreciated. There is much to be gained from deeper communication and cooperation with East Asia, acknowledging its rich past, impressive present, and promising future.

In addition to the aforementioned principal themes of translation, education, and innovation, the conference proceedings also point to several additional intersecting themes that join together many chapters: Sustainability, nature, humor, aesthetics, cultural survival and social change, discourse and representation.

Revised drafts of all 21 chapters have been submitted, and I am currently awaiting a decision on a possible contract to publish this collection as a book on a major academic press. It has taken some time to determine which press is ideal for this interdisciplinary book, but after discussions with several different prospective publishers it looks like we will finally soon receive good news from a major press and move forward in early 2015 with publication. As Editor of this book, I have been quite impressed with the quality of research from an array of fields across the humanities and social sciences, including on such themes as cultural translation, Japanese and Korean languages, urban development, and traditional music and arts in East Asia. Although this is a very interdisciplinary book, I should especially mention here that it includes chapters by highly accomplished professors in linguistics-related fields as well as music-related chapters by ethnomusicologists Keith Howard and Jonathan McCollum. In 2016, the next NAJAKS conference will be held in Stockholm, and we are hopeful this book will be published by mid-2015. More detailed information and press links will be posted here when we obtain a contract and new publication schedule for Translation, Education and Innovation.

Link to Nordic Association for Japanese and Korean Studies (NAJAKS): 

For now, here is a list of revised chapters submitted for this book:

Table of Contents
Part 1: Introduction and Keynote Speeches
Chapter 1. Translation, Education, and Innovation: Editorial Introduction (David G. Hebert)
Chapter 2. From Shizen to Nature: A Process of Cultural Translation (Nanyan Guo)
Chapter 3. Life and Death of East Asian Intangible Cultural Heritage (Keith Howard)

Part 2: Translational Issues in Literature
Chapter 4. Translating Scientific Discourse in Ariyoshi Sawako’s Fukugo Osen (Barbara Hartley)
Chapter 5. Foreigner Talk or Foreignness: The Connection Between Foreigner Talk and the Language of Westerners in Japanese Fiction (Erik Oskarsson)
Chapter 6. Emotional Discourse Analysis: An Attempt at Contrastive Analysis of Japanese Literary Translations (Alexandra Holoborodko)

Part 3: Analyses of Korean and Japanese Languages
Chapter 7. Definiteness in Korean: A Contrastive Study between Korean and Italian (Imsuk Jung)
Chapter 8. Unmarked Plurality and Specificity in Korean and Japanese Plural Nouns: A Preliminary Study (Kiri Lee, Young-mee Yu Cho, and Min-Young Park)
Chapter 9. A Creative and Innovative Approach to Korean Communicative Language: Morphonological Features and Word-Formation Processes (Vladislava Mazana)
Chapter 10. “My Funny Talk” Corpus and Speaking Style Variation in Spoken Japanese (Toshiyuki Sadanobu)
Chapter 11. Kansai Style Conversation and its Role in Contemporary Japan (Goran Vaage)
Chapter 12. The Interdisciplinary Study of Law and Language: Forensic Linguistics in Japan (Mami Hiraike Okawara)
Chapter 13. Linguistic Studies of Interpreters’ Renditions and their Possible Contribution to the Quality Control of Community Interpreting: A Data-Based Study on Court Interpreting in Lay Judge Trials in Japan (Makiko Mizuno)

Part 4: Language Education
Chapter 14. On the Teaching of Japanese Epistemic and Evidential Markers: Theoretical Considerations and Practical Applications (Lars Larm)
Chapter 15. Analysis of Kanji Reading and Writing Errors of Swedish Learners of Japanese in Comparison with Proficiency-Matched Japanese School Children (Fusae Ivarsson)

Part 5: Innovation and New Perspectives on Culture
Chapter 16. “Green” and “Smart” Cities Diffusion: Case of Songdo IBD (Alexandra Licha)
Chapter 17. Japanese Culture: Seeing the World through the Indigenes’ Eyes (Sachiko Shin Halley)

Part 6: The Arts in Innovative Societies
Chapter 18. Bad Father and Good Mother: Changing Masculinity in the Post-Traumatic Japan  (Shuk-ting Kinnia Yau)
Chapter 19. Performance, Process and Technique in the Dokyoku Style of Japanese Shakuhachi (Jonathan McCollum)
Chapter 20. Animals and Animal Aesthetics in Japanese Art Traditions and Japanese Society (Mika Merviö)
Chapter 21. Defense of Rules or Creative Innovation?: A Discussion on the Essence of the Topic Spring Rain in Japanese Haiku (Hebert Jonsson)


Don Giovanni in Norway

The Bergen National Opera will be performing Mozart’s Don Giovanni in the spring of 2015, in collaboration with professional chorus Edvard Grieg Kor and the Bergen Philharmonic orchestra (now in its 250th season). I eagerly look forward to participating in this production.

Pictured here is a playbill from the opera’s Vienna premiere (1788), following a less complete original production in Prague (1787).

Link for information on the Bergen National Opera 2015 production:

Below I am in a Boyar costume from a previous Bergen National Opera production (an opera by Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov):