The 2010 world conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) will be held in Beijing in a few weeks. I am already on my way there - going early to Japan and China - and making final preparations for some conference presentations. Below are the abstracts for two of my presentations, the second of which is an international symposium I will be chairing. I have been asked to participate in two more presentations as well, but it is not yet clear how some scheduling conflicts will be resolved. It will be exciting to learn of new developments in the field from across the world, particularly China which is experiencing so much growth in recent years.
Paper Presentation: On the Musical Instrument Industry and Music Education in Japan
Much has been written in recent decades about the need for music education historians to expand their scope of inquiry to include consideration of the sociocultural, economic and political contexts of music teaching and learning. In many nations, the music industry has largely shaped the emphases of both school and community-based music education, yet its influence has only rarely been considered in historical accounts. Taking a social historical approach, this paper examines the rise of the musical instrument industry in Japan during the early twentieth century, as well as its ongoing relationship to music education that extends to the present day. Japanese music companies with a global impact will be discussed, including Yamaha, Kawai, Korg and Roland. Positions espoused by notable Japanese music industry leaders regarding music education and cultural policy will also be considered in relation to music education practices in and outside of Japan. The paper will conclude with some suggestions for how relationships between music industry and music education practices can be meaningfully examined through coordinated and innovative approaches to historiography.
Symposium: International Perspectives on the Teaching of Keyboard Improvisation
Keyboards are ubiquitous in music education, as the most popular instrument used in music teaching worldwide. Many different music genres feature improvisation, yet techniques for effective teaching of basic keyboard improvisation are often little understood by music teachers and only rarely bolstered by research findings. This international symposium addresses this challenge by offering demonstrations from Germany, Finland, and the United States that effectively integrate research and practice in the field of keyboard improvisation. Brief description of the current state of theory and research findings related to keyboard improvisation pedagogy will be followed by discussion of common challenges faced by keyboard teachers who seek to integrate improvisational activities into their instruction. The presenters will offer practical solutions and effective approaches to meeting the instructional needs of beginning keyboard improvisers.