Doctoral Supervision Course

It was a great pleasure to serve as one of the four invited panelists for a course yesterday on Doctoral Supervision at University of Bergen, UPED 691: Becoming a Supervisor: Community, Expertise, Dialogue. Mentoring doctoral students is both an unusually challenging and fulfilling responsibility, as one guides a mature learner toward developing new knowledge as a scholar. It is helpful to provide courses of this kind to young professors, since some who are appointed as doctoral mentors may have expertise in their specialized field but have taken few opportunities to systematically consider various approaches to mentoring. There is now a growing corpus of research on mentoring that can serve as a useful reference for those seeking to improve upon their approaches to doctoral supervision. 

In preparation for the panel, I reviewed several recent studies on PhD education, and reflected on my own experience as a doctoral supervisor. In my current job (within a recently merged institution that is seeking full research university status) there have been few opportunities to mentor doctoral students, but I have enjoyed much doctoral supervision in several previous jobs as well as recently through various adjunct (visiting professor) positions in Europe and Asia. In all, I have served on 15 doctoral committees, with universities in several countries in Europe, North America, and Asia. This includes dissertation studies using a variety of research methodologies, from ethnographies, historical studies, surveys and experiments, to philosophical and mixed methods studies. Education and music are fields in which there is much interdisciplinary research, with interesting opportunities to study diverse topics using an array of approaches, which is quite stimulating. 

Our panel included some excellent researchers who shared experiences from an array of fields, from natural sciences to higher education, arts and therapy. Around 40 professors--recent hires from all across the university--participated in the course, and I think the four panelists shared helpful anecdotes and recommendations through our discussion and question/answer session. One of the panelists, Sally Barnes from University of Bristol, especially reminded us of the importance of really knowing ourselves as part of the mentorship process. There are many indications that doctoral programs face increasing pressures that threaten to lower standards, and I think it is in everyone’s interest to ensure that quality and high academic standards are maintained through transparent application of well-conceived policies and procedures. At the same time, it is important that both PhD students and their mentors are given appropriate support using strategies informed by the latest research findings.


Eurasian Music Science Journal

Just today I learned that I have been appointed to the Editorial Board of the Eurasian Music Science Journal. This will soon be announced on the journal’s website. EMSJ is a fully refereed journal that publishes two issues per year in Russian and English languages. 

Based in Uzbekistan, the Eurasian Music Science Journal is rapidly becoming recognized as an important resource for studies of traditional music in Central Asia. While I already serve on several other Editorial Boards, this one has a rather different profile, and I am excited to see what we can develop with future publications. 

Here is a link to the journal:


Shown above is a public domain image of a performance of Shashmaqam, the profound musical heritage of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.  


Norwegian Folk Music Pedagogy

Next week our teacher education students in Bergen will enjoy an intensive schedule of lessons in Norwegian folk music provided by Ole Bull Academy

The skilled Norwegian folk musicians, dancers and scholars who will teach for this course include Arne Anderdal, Lajla Buer Storli, Hans Christian Dahlgaard, Jo Asgeir Lie, Astri Sudmann, John Ole Morken, Lars Fivelstad Småberg, and Stein Villa. 

We look forward to learning many unique songs and dances associated with local heritage. Hopefully when our students themselves become teachers, they will effectively share these rich traditions with many students. 


Online Conference in Uzbekistan

It was enjoyable to give a presentation for the online conference today that was hosted by the State Conservatory of Uzbekistan, Tashkent. Musicologists joined from several countries, including Uzbekistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, South Korea, India, Norway, the UK, USA, Poland, UAE, and Kuwait. There were also brief presentations by the institution's Rectors and representatives from UNESCO.

Proceedings from this event will soon be published in Russian and English. Two of my frequent co-authors also had presentations, Jonathan McCollum and Mikolaj Rykowski (now Vice Rector at the academy in Poland), and it was very interesting to hear about recent developments in Central Asia. Click HERE to access a draft program (of which some details were later modified).  


 Международный научный семинар-конференция

«Шарк тароналари-2019»: взгляды ученых год спустя

(Перспективы развития традиционной музыки народов Востока)



ISME History Standing Committee

It was a pleasure to learn today that I have been appointed to the History Standing Committee of the International Society for Music Education (ISME). I look forward to collaborating in support of the important work of this organization.

I include here an image of the shofar, which for a few thousand years of Jewish tradition has been an important celebratory instrument to be played on this day, September 20 (Rosh Hashanah). A similar instrument has also been used in Norwegian folk music since Viking times.  

Below are some websites related to ISME’s History Standing Committee:




Summer Course 2021: Internationalizing Higher Education

Applications will soon be accepted for the intensive PhD course Internationalizing Higher Education, to be offered through Bergen Summer Research School (June 7-17, 2021).

Depending on the status of the pandemic, the course may be offered entirely online or face-to-face in Bergen. Typically, many students receive scholarships to cover the expense of participation, and the BSRS courses (for ECTS credits) attract PhD students from all around the world.

The application deadline is February 1, 2021. More details will be available soon, and linked to here with updates. For now, click HERE for the course announcement on the BSRS website, click HERE for an earlier announcement about the course concept, and click HERE for the BSRS website with details regarding the application process.


Nature Conservation and Music Sustainability

My article ‘Nature Conservation and Music Sustainability: Fields with Shared Concerns’ has been accepted for publication in the ‘Wild Pedagogy’ special issue of the Canadian Journal of Environmental Education.

Here is a link for the journal, although I expect it will be at least another month before the Wild Pedagogy special issue with my article is published: https://cjee.lakeheadu.ca/

Interdisciplinarity has always been appealing to me, and this is probably the furthest outside my main fields that I have ventured as an author, with readings in environmental education to get a better sense of how music could be relevant, and vice versa. It is always a stimulating intellectual exercise to rethink one's subject area from the orientation of other fields of study, almost like visiting a different country. Hopefully the article will be interesting and useful for some readers.

Shown above is a photo I took near the start of this year while hiking in the woods near my home.