Social Distancing and Scholarship

Ironically, the “social distancing” encouraged under pandemic conditions may actually create good conditions for some kinds of scholarship, with fewer distractions for those who are trying to complete projects. Under stressful conditions, it helps to have something meaningful to focus on while we wait for life to return to normal. 

Recently I am making a lot of progress on a book co-authored with Prof. Jiaxing Xie entitled On Music Education: East-West Dialogues (Shanghai Education Press, forthcoming), and have been developing new volumes for the Deep Soundings series in historical ethnomusicology (Rowman & Littlefield press). Several postgraduate students are making great progress on their theses, which I mentor through videoconferencing, and my institution has agreed to offer a new PhD course entirely online, for which I am now preparing material. We are also having students develop music performance projects through online collaboration tools, which is likely to be very useful experience for them in the long term. 

Over the past two months, I have completed reviews of articles and books for several refereed journals and academic presses: Music Education Research, World of Music, International Journal of Music Education, Research Studies in Music Education, Finnish Journal for Music Education, Research and Issues in Music Education, Nordic Yearbook for Music Education, Amsterdam University Press, Lund University Press, and Rowman & Littlefield. I have also approved some final edits to an article in Journal of Popular Music Education, sent a book proposal to Harvard University Press, and completed much work on a new book proposal for Rowman & Littlefield.

It seems we should always try to make the most of whatever conditions arise. Hopefully the pandemic will not turn out to be as bad as feared, but for now it is certainly threatening and great caution is warranted.

UPDATE: Online PhD Course in May 2020:
Click HERE for PhD-911: Non-Western Educational Philosophy and Policy.


Covid-19 Disruptions

Norway is now on lockdown with widespread quarantine measures due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Many processes will be much slower for a while now due to emergency conditions. This also impacts an array of music-related activities and events, including rehearsals and recording sessions, concerts, tours, conferences, private lessons, and classroom teaching. One can only wonder how long it may go on: 2 months, 6 months, more ... ?

Despite the formidable challenges, this is an ideal time to make music and write. I am staying home for about a month, developing new books and mentoring students (through videoconferencing) on their thesis writing.

Both above and below are images from our home in Norway, a good place to relax, make music, and write. In both January and February, shortly before the pandemic came to Norway, I greatly enjoyed hosting co-authors from abroad (USA and China).

I really hope the suffering and deaths can be minimized. Difficult times ahead.
As of today, Norway is officially the third worst country in the world for infections per capita, although we have seen relatively few deaths, and the situation is likely to keep changing.

Here are links for further information on Covid-19 in Norway:

UPDATE: Online PhD Course in May 2020:
Click HERE for PhD-911: Non-Western Educational Philosophy and Policy.


Indigenous Music and Comparative History of Education

I recently learned that two panels which include my work have been accepted for presentation at the 34th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education, in Helsinki, Finland (August, 2020).

I eagerly look forward to collaborating with some excellent colleagues on these presentations ...

  • Indigeneity in the 21st Century Classroom: Reconstruction and Reconciliation in Scandinavia and North America (Presenters: David Johnson, Ylva Hofvander Trulsson, Patrick Schmidt, and David Hebert) 

  • Seeing Through a Wider Lens: Considering Revisionist History in Music Education (Presenters: Craig Resta, Marie McCarthy, Lia Laor, Benon Kigozi, and David Hebert). 

Link for further information: https://www.isme2020.fi/


Music Sustainability Education

Through the Nordic Network for Music Education, we have agreed on a new project for documentary videos and educational website production. This will lead toward development of an international joint Master program in Music Sustainability Education. Click above or HERE to see a sample video with further information. 

We are hopeful that support and funding can be obtained from various sources to ensure high quality outcomes for this innovative project. 

Here is a link to the Nordic Network for Music Education:

Here is a link to the new book from the Nordic Network for Music Education:

Click HERE and HERE for other examples of supporting research.


Networked Performance in Intercultural Music Creation

I look forward to a unique conference presentation in June 2020, in partnership with some innovative musicians who are also prolific artistic researchers: guitarist Stefan Östersjö, Vietnamese dan tranh master Than Thuy Nguyen, and composer Henrik Frisk

Our presentation will be part of Music in the Age of Streaming: Nordic Perspectives, International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-Norden) conference, Pitea, Sweden (June 15-17, 2020).

Below are a few key points concerning our upcoming presentation, entitled Networked Performance in Intercultural Music Creation:
  • Streaming technology is increasingly popular as a way of consuming music recordings, but it can also be used to facilitate live collaboration among performers who are geographically distant. 
  • This panel demonstrates how networked performance may contribute to the sustaining of cultural heritage among migrant/minority communities as well as to the development of innovative intercultural artistic practices. 
  • The panel discussion of networked performance builds on preliminary findings from Musical Transformations, an ongoing research project at the intersection between ethnomusicology and artistic research in music. 
  • The panel discusses findings from Musical Transformations which may contribute new insights into creative processes in intercultural contexts, and promises to have important implications for educational and cultural institutions. 


Harvard Music Preference Project

It has been a great pleasure to spend some time in Boston, where I am collaborating with a brilliant professor in Harvard's school of public health for development of a new project on public music appreciation and wellbeing. We have a novel plan for a series of research projects that promise unique insights into how musical understanding and participation can be more widely developed through new technologies.

Ideally, our project may help to broaden appreciation of music connected to cultural heritage, and possibly encourage a wider swath of the public to regularly listen to, and participate in, traditional genres that are less impacted by the tendencies of commercialization. This seems quite important in both North America and Scandinavia, where audiences for traditional music are dwindling. I will post more details here in the future as the project develops further. 

It is hard to believe it has been more than a decade since I left my job as an Assistant Professor at Boston University to begin working in Northern Europe. It was very enjoyable to visit Boston again.