Book Review Update 2015

There were several encouraging reviews of my recent books in 2015, so I decided to post an update that compiles some quotations from reviews in various academic journals and other locations . . .


Notable music professors have written the following about Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology:
  • “By means of thoughtful commentary on potential sources and procedures, the editors and authors of new articles will hopefully stimulate burgeoning interest in historical perspectives on the part of ethnomusicologists.” (Bonnie C. Wade, University of California, Berkeley) 
  • “A timely, thoughtful, and engaging collection, Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology is sure to become an important resource. McCollum, Herbert, and their collaborators have done a great service to musical scholars of all stripes, be they historical musicologists, ethnomusicologists, or somewhere in between.” (Ken Prouty, Michigan State University) 
  • “This book is an ardent call for a historical turn in ethnomusicology.” (Alexandra Kertz-Welzel, Ludwig Maximilian University) 
  • "A scholarly and incisive account of the place of historiography in ethnomusicology. Editors McCollum and Hebert adopt an organizational structure that achieves a fine balance between historical, philosophical, and theoretical foundations, and their application is illustrated brilliantly in studies of diverse global music traditions. The text transcends music disciplinary boundaries and points the way to an expanded visions for historiography in music scholarship." (Marie McCarthy, University of Michigan).


In his review in British Journal of Music Education, ethnomusicologist Dr. Norman Stanfield describes Wind Bands and Cultural Identity in Japanese Schools as “a most unique and engaging monograph . . . David Hebert delved deep under the surface of the seemingly everyday where he discovered anomalies and cultural specifics that are unlike anything found in the West. . . Hardly a page goes by without an ‘aha’ moment . . . His book performs the remarkable: a call to explore new ways of doing high school band programmes differently”.

Professor Henry Johnson writes in Music Education Research that Wind Bands and Cultural Identity in Japanese Schools is “rich in its discussion of cultural history and social practice, and offers an abundance of fascinating information that has been collected through extensive historical and ethnographic research in Japan over a 13-year period.” 

Renowned British conductor Tim Reynish writes "the definitive book on Japanese wind music by David Herbert was published by Springer. This detailed research into wind band training in Japan should be in every library, and his interviews with six leading wind band composers must be compulsory reading for anyone interested in Japanese music." http://www.timreynish.com/repertoire/repertoire-by-country/japan.php#windb

Reviews of my ethnography and social history Wind Bands and Cultural Identity in Japanese Schools by renowned music education researcher Richard Colwell and Asian performance studies scholar CedarBough Saeiji are in the February 2013 issue of Ethnomusicology Review:

Dr CedarBough Saeiji has also described the book here:

She writes, “Hebert has done an admirable job setting down in meticulous detail how the students are learning-- in large part they learn from their peers. When I consider the performances of middle school wind bands in Japan . . . it's sort of mind-blowing how well they play.”

Wind Bands and Cultural Identity in Japanese Schools is described by Peter Gouzouasis and Alan Henderson in a recent issue of Music Education Research as "a comprehensive, stunning account of wind bands in Japan", providing "the most comprehensive information about concert (wind) band participation in any country" (Music Education Research, volume 14, issue 4 (2012), pp.479-498). 

In Japan’s widely distributed Band Journal (2012), accomplished conductor and music technology expert Tatsutoshi Abe writes that Wind Bands and Cultural Identity in Japanese Schools offers broad scholarly description and unique insights from a non-Japanese researcher with deep interests in Japan, and urges readers to press for publication of the full book in Japanese translation. 

According to a review in Social Science Japan Journal by sociologist Hiroshi Nishijima (Professor, Tokyo Metropolitan University), “. . . Hebert’s study should be highly lauded. Seeing extracurricular club activities in the light of Japanese studies is a perspective that I intend to employ in my own research in the future. Moreover, at a time when Japanese schools, clubs, arts, and sports are going through a great number of changes, this publication can serve as an important reference and inform the decisions of those attempting to advance changes to the educational system.”

"[Wind Bands and Cultural Identity in Japanese Schools] . . . provides an interesting insight into the successful pedagogical techniques and methods required to cultivate collective notions of identity and ultimately musical achievement. This book is a valuable resource to those with interests in a number of musical and academic fields, in particular music education, ethnomusicology and band studies. Throughout the book the author successfully connects these different strands and produces an accurate and engaging picture . . ." – Richard Jones, PhD, The World of Music.

Dr. Andrew Goodrich (Boston University) wrote the following:“David Hebert introduces readers to Japanese wind band culture with his book Wind Bands and Cultural Identity in Japanese Schools. … Written in conversational prose suited for ethnography, Hebert accomplishes a rare feat—a book that is accessible to both scholars and music teacher practitioners. … Hebert successfully weaves the inner workings of a successful Japanese wind band with the social history of Japanese bands into an interesting, intricate tapestry.” (Andrew Goodrich, Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, Vol. XXXVI (1), October, 2014)

Quotation in program for “Notes from Japan,” concert conducted by Eugene Corporon:  

Ethnomusicologist Norman Stanfield, “Ethnomusicology in the Band Room”:


Preeminent cognitive psychologist of music John Sloboda describes the book Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education in the journal International Journal of Education and the Arts (2012) as “a brave first attempt to bring together information and arguments relevant to an understanding of how patriotism and nationalism intersect with music education. As such, it both stands as a 'must read' resource for anyone interested in this topic, and also as an indication of how little we know in depth about the effects of patriotism on music teachers and the young people they teach. There are many empirical studies that are begging to be done, and I hope this book stimulates some researchers to undertake them.

In the journal History of Education, Professor Stephen G. Parker describes Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education as “a fascinating volume in focus and detail. It poses some important and perennial questions for all educators, not just music educators: what sentiments, attitudes and dispositions should schools foster, and how may they be appropriately invoked, in discourse, song and music? Given that in the English context the provision of collective worship in schools remains a statutory obligation, and that mainstays of it are listening to and/or participating in the singing of some form of sacred music, one is left wondering about the effects. Moreover, the emotional dimension of schooling is often overlooked, and this volume reminds us to consider how music contributes to the creation of an emotional climate in schools, and its function in fostering the formation of particular loyalties, identities and dispositions.”

Professor Jonathan Stock, ethnomusicologist, wrote the following in the British Journal of Music Education: ". . . appealing to a wide range of readers, interweaving broader historical overviews, and engaged, personal accounts . . . Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education provides a stimulating series of case studies that trace music education's ethical, unethical and unexpected consequences"

April Stephens Sholty wrote in the Journal of Historical Research in Music Education that she found "many of the authors' personal narratives and the historical background of the anthems to be especially thought-provoking. Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education would be an excellent addition to graduate level courses on sociology and music." (JHRME, XXXVI/2, 2015, p.161)

J. Paul Louth writes the following in his review of Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education: “This timely book offers an insightful array of international perspectives on a subject that badly calls out for scrutiny. . . . Of particular value is the use by a number of the authors of theoretical categories or constructs of patriotism to analyze historical or qualitative data.” – Canadian Association of Music Libraries Review.

Music education author Veronica Jamset writes the following about Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education within the music library journal Fontes Artis Musicae: “A wide range of nations, at least one from almost every continent of the world, is discussed . . . The editors draw these diverse practices together in their own conclusion, calling for themes of reconciliation and mutual understanding, not nationalistic propaganda, and for teachers to be required to reflect ethically about what they are asked to do, and about why and how they do it . . . potentially of general interest to a wide range of readers but its immediate usefulness may be restricted academically to members of departments which have a significant education strand. Rather than a rounded and systematic study of music education per se, it presents a number of recurring threads that pose challenging questions about the role of music teachers in propagating and inculcating patriotic sentiments. Bibliographical referencing is generous. The book is a rich resource, its extensive sources offering many excellent starting-points for research, particularly for music educators who have not previously considered this aspect of how they train teachers, as well as scholars engaged in researching comparative and political educational issues.” 

According to David Ashworth in his recently published review in the UK's Music Teacher Magazine, our book Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education is "useful for the teacher who wants to explore global issues in the classroom", for it provides "a rich source of information about aspects of music education around the world," and "There is much for music teachers to think about here -- recommended."


In his review of the book Sociology and Music Education (ed. Ruth Wright), music education scholar Patrick Schmidt writes the following in Visions of Research in Music Education (2012):
“Sociology and Music Education contains several other compelling chapters. David Hebert outlines the role of ethnicity as a sociological concept and its role as a construct within various areas of musical inquiry. Hebert’s chapter provides an outstanding review of the literature and guides the reader toward a sociological understanding of one of the key elements in the formation of multicultural discourses in the field.”

Tami J. Draves writes the following about the book Sociology and Music Education in her review published in Journal of Historical Research in Music Education: “In considering the advantaged and disadvantaged in music education, David Hebert analyzes ethnicity and music education from sociological, musicological, and music education perspectives in chapter 7 by considering which music is taught and to whom. He concludes his chapter with suggestions for ‘empowering music teachers to respond appropriately to the complexity of ethnic differences’” (p. 109).  

In her review of the book Sociology and Music Education, music education scholar Sharon G. Davis writes the following in Music Education Research (2013): “David G. Hebert’s chapter on Ethnicity strikes at the heart of many of the challenges of multicultural teaching in music education and highlights the central role that ethnic identity plays in musical meaning and engagement.”

In his review of the book De-Canonizing Music History (ed. Vesa Kurkela & Lauri Vakeva), ethnomusicologist Travis Stimeling writes the following:
“Hebert contends that music education textbooks have adopted a Eurocentric model of wind band history, despite the existence of pre-European wind traditions in Japan, the Maori Ratana brass band practices in New Zealand, and the development of jazz in the United States. Arguing that “hybrid music[s] . . . [are] sites of musical innovation and . . . potential wellsprings of new musical traditions” (p. 178), Hebert suggests that such ensembles deserve more careful treatment in music history and music education textbooks. Moreover, he challenges music education scholars to deploy ethnography and oral history in order to frame policy and curriculum within “a richer and more accurate depiction of lived reality” (p. 179), a  portrait that would naturally require greater attention to the contributions of women and hybrid musical genres to local, regional, and national music education.”

In her review of the book Music Education for Changing Times: Guiding Visions for Practice (ed. Thomas Regelski & J. Terry Gates), music education scholar Jeananne Nichols writes the following:
“Herbert believes music education will become more relevant and effective when it attends more completely to “creative agency via technology and musical hybridity (p. 39).” Music learned in school should have some connection to the music the student engages with outside of school and that musicianship should be understood as an “embodied practice situated in sociocultural contexts (p. 48).”

Reviewing the expanded third edition of Multicultural Perspectives in Music Education (ed. William M. Anderson & Patricia Shehan Campbell), music education historian Marie McCarthy notes the "new chapters on jazz and rock and world beat," while renowned jazz educator Willie L. Hill also writes that ''new chapters on jazz/rock and world-beat are all brimming with inspiring material, bringing these rich traditions to life. As students experience the rhythms, sounds, and stories of the global community, they will learn how these musics have influenced both American culture and world cultures. Students may develop a deeper understanding of their own heritage, and see how they fit into the global community. This is especially important for young people who may be alienated due to ethnic or cultural differences as well as students who may feel lost amid the growing population in today's urban areas in our technological age."   

It is very encouraging to see that reviewers find some of my recent writings to be useful, and I am quite thankful for their endorsement. Nowadays, I am working on other books, and learning from previous experience, so hopefully the best is yet to come. I have many detailed ideas for future projects and plans to publish ten books by around 2020. 


Global Studies

As the latest technologies of communication and transportation increasingly seem to make the world a smaller place, the challenges posed by cultural diversity, and threats to global cultural heritage, have become more widely recognized in education and across society at large. Appreciation of the need to foster deeper awareness of activities in other parts of the world has even inspired the development of new fields of study. “Global Studies” is a recently emerging interdisciplinary field that seeks to examine an array of human challenges from a transnational perspective. Such topics as migration, ethnicity, transculturality, nationalism, and globalization can be most fruitfully explored from an interdisciplinary position. “Global Education” is an allied field that seeks to determine how such a global perspective can enhance the effectiveness and relevance of learning within all levels and forms of education.

While still primarily interested in music, I am currently at work on the editing of two contracted books that contribute in various ways to the broader aims of global studies and global education. One is called Translation, Education and Innovation in Japanese and Korean Societies (Springer, forthcoming, 2016), and the other is Music Glocalization: Heritage and Innovation in a Digital Age (Cambridge Scholars, forthcoming, 2016). Some of the work on these books will be completed over the coming weeks in Beijing, where I will also be planning development of the Open Global Music Academy in collaboration with music professors at China Conservatory and other institutions. Having worked for universities on five continents, I am able to draw on some unique and challenging experiences in efforts to produce meaningful intercultural comparisons and insights regarding social institutions, potentially with relevance not only for music specialists, but also those in other fields. It will be exciting to see how these books may be used by professors and students across various subjects in the humanities and social sciences, and whether they also help to inspire a broader perspective among specialists in music education and musicology.   

The image displayed above is a photo I took of part of Registan during my visit to Samarkand, Uzbekistan a few months ago to give a keynote speech for the Sharq Taronalari Festival's musicology symposium. To me, it is symbolic of the many beautiful contributions to global heritage to be found in the Middle East and Central Asia, regions that tend to be very little understood in other parts of the world.


250th Anniversary in Bergen

The 250th Anniversary Finale concert of the Bergen Philharmonic will soon be here! This is scheduled for December 10th and 11th, with a performance of Arnold Schönberg’s magnificent composition, Gurrelieder, conducted by Edward Gardner.

On a personal note, it was an incredible experience to perform Gurrelieder two years ago in Berlin as part of the Norwegian professional choir with the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Simon Rattle. And now, it is a relief to find my voice has finally returned (after weeks of pneumonia), in time for the start of rehearsals for this Gurrelieder performance in Bergen.

The Grieg Research School course is also in just a few days here in Bergen, and features some great keynote speakers, including Pam Burnard, Gary Ansdell and Nanette Nielsen. I will be a Respondent to a presentation there by Oded Ben-Horin.

Beyond Norway, I am currently planning another visit to Beijing to continue work with Jiaxing Xie on development of the Open Global Music Academy project, which seeks to enhance international collaboration across higher education music programs. In the spring will be a presentation in Paris with Jon McCollum for the International Council for Traditional Music, and a visit to Copenhagen for teaching at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory (with Lars Brinck), as well as research collaborations with Kristoffer Jensen (computational musicologist), Li Xin (Director of Confucius Music Institute, Royal Danish Academy of Music), and Margaret Mehl (East Asian studies specialist, University of Copenhagen).

Wikipedia currently has a rather detailed article on Gurre-Lieder. This masterpiece will be a great final performance for 2015. Edvard Grieg would surely have been proud to see that Bergen continues to be a musically significant city.


Hall of Fame Award

This week I was very surprised to learn that I have been nominated for the “Hall of Fame Award” from the organization Pacific University Friends of Music. I believe this is my first time ever to receive an award of this kind, so it was quite unexpected. Candidates for this award should have “an exemplary career either in music education, performance or both,” as well as “10 years of teaching music or 10 years as a professional musician,” and “demonstrate significant contributions to the field of music.” I will mention that even for people who are consistently diligent and dedicated to their profession, it can often feel uncertain whether one’s efforts are even noticed, and in some careers the financial benefits and signs of appreciation tend to be less than others. Particularly in highly-competitive fields, where scarce resources can lead to rivalries, cliquishness and exclusionary practices, it often becomes difficult to objectively assess the current state of the field and one’s own role within it. 

It is rather unusual to receive this kind of recognition, and a positive “wake-up call” regarding the greater good that can be found in all kinds of circumstances. I acknowledge that awards only rarely seem to go to the most deserving candidate, but at least in this case it is clear that the recipient did not know anyone on the committee and did not even know the award existed. Therefore, I am particularly grateful to the Friends of Music organization for its sincere interest in recognizing musicians, and for acknowledging my own years of work in the field of music and music education. Hopefully I will manage to stay healthy and productive, and accomplish much more over the next 30 years as well, producing increasingly original music and musical insights to share with others. 

News of this award comes as I finally recover from a few weeks of frustrating illness and try to get caught up on all of my work: so many emails to answer, as well as teaching and publications to prepare. From now on, as a preventative measure I am determined to get both pneumonia shots and flue shots every year. I am trying to schedule an ideal time to travel to the US to receive this Hall of Fame award in beautiful Oregon state.  

Pictured above is a photo I took of the tomb of the Prophet Daniel, because my very first attempt at “scholarly” work was around age 9 as a grade school student: A description and interpretation of the Book of Daniel, which is full of mysterious visions, prophesies, and complex power relations that have been inspirational to generations of readers from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and secular traditions. A few months ago I visited what is believed to be Daniel’s tomb, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Many doubts have been raised about Daniel, and in certain ways his enduring image seems symbolic of many of the abstract quests that artists pursue, which are deeply meaningful despite an inability to fully explain their power in words. 


Brazil Residency

For many years I have been curious about Brazil, and must admit a deep fascination from afar with its remarkable legacy of brilliant songwriters and performers, from Antonio Carlos Jobim, to Milton Nascimento, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Maria Bethania, Ivan Lins, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, and so many others.

In the field of classical art music, a particularly beautiful piece from Brazil is the soprano solo with chamber orchestra from “Bachianas Brasileiras No.5” by Heitor Villa Lobos. My favorite performance of that piece was sung about a year ago by soprano Laia Falcon on an island in the Netherlands. Early this year I enjoyed hearing Njål Vindenes perform one of the many brilliant guitar solos by Villa-Lobos.

I am very thankful to now be receiving funding from the government of Brazil, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico "National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development" (CNPq), for a brief stay as Visiting Professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre. While there, I will be giving lectures and advising research for the university’s PhD program in music (regarded as among the very best in Latin America), and doing some performing and workshops. The Brazilian institution has approached Bergen University College about some collaborative research projects, and other forms of cooperation. The music programs in Bergen already have agreements with universities in many different countries, but this is our first prospect in Latin America, and I have also been helping the institution to develop relations with institutions in East Asia across recent years (both China and Japan).
From Brazil, Professor Liane Hentschke and I will also give a presentation via videoconference for the national Chinese music education association meeting in Shanghai regarding development of the Open Global Academy of Music initiative, based in Beijing. During this time, I will also film a teaching video and do some videoconferencing for the PhD program in Bergen, so our Norwegian students can get a taste of what is available in Brazil. Upon returning to Europe, I will go to Iceland for the annual meeting of the Nordic Network for Music Education, and respond to papers by Master students from various Nordic and Baltic nations.


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 was developed through two conferences on Music and Globalization held in Poznan, Poland, birthplace of leading "glocalization" theorist Zygmunt Bauman.
The book is scheduled to be published in late 2016 following publication of another 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: