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 it convincingly indicates 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 also a 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:

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