Music in Norway

Life is full of interesting surprises. I am looking forward to a discussion with music teachers in Norway in just a few days. Here is a rather mysterious image of Bryggen - a photo I took the last time I was there. Somehow its curious lines remind me of abstract art, and I can only imagine all the stories accumulated in these historic wooden buildings.


Music in Southern Mississippi

Back to the USA . . . I have been offered a new position in the United States as Associate Professor with the School of Music, University of Southern Mississippi. My job will be leading the school’s PhD program and teaching graduate research methods seminars and other courses. USM is a state funded institution located about 80 minutes north of New Orleans that has a strong history for music programs (including winds, jazz, and music industry studies), is nationally designated as a research-extensive university, and has a tenure (permanent employment) system. The School of Music at University of Southern Mississippi is the only doctoral-degree granting music school in the state, and the university is considered a leading research institution of the Gulf South region. In this position I will also plan development of a unique research center to support the music education PhD program, focused on the theme of originality in music, including globally-significant genres that first originated in the southern Mississippi region, such as blues, jazz, and rock and roll.

MISSISSIPPI is actually a very important place for music, as the source of innovative performers that have forged new styles and made a substantial impact on music in much of the world. Musicians from Mississippi include leading blues performers Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Bo Diddley, W. C. Handy, Howling Wolf, John Lee Hooker and B.B. King, pioneers of rock and roll Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley, jazz legends Lester Young, Hank Jones, and Gerald Wilson, contemporary jazz masters Tom Malone, Mulgrew Miller, Mose Allison, and Cassandra Wilson, pioneers of country music Jimmie Rodgers and Charley Pride, renowned songwriters like Jimmy Buffett, and even revered art music composers such as William Grant Still and Milton Babbitt.

University of Southern Mississippi is ideally situated - in the original heartland of American musical innovation - for studies of American music traditions that will be of interest to musicians and educators in other parts of the USA and the rest of the world. For anyone interested in the roots of blues, jazz, or rock, this is a perfect setting for research.

Recently, Mississippi also seems ripe for new initiatives in the areas of educational and cultural policy that could be supported by music education research. For decades, the state has experienced economic and educational challenges, with the highest percentage of people living below the poverty line in the USA and low ratings for basic educational achievement. Music education research studies may help to turn this situation around by developing more effective ways of capitalizing on the rich and unique cultural heritage of this area, which has impacted much of the world through music. Research in music education may also inform the development of innovative, culturally relevant forms of education that motivate students for higher levels of academic achievement.

Hopefully the experiences of developing intercultural music programs in Europe, indigenous/minority music education in New Zealand, community music in Japan, and online doctoral education in Boston may aid as I work with others to envision some new possibilities for music education in Mississippi, as well as opportunities for effectively sharing the important musical achievements from Mississippi with the rest of the world. USM has outstanding facilities, and will be an excellent place to host conferences and symposia on such topics as music education, sociology of music, popular music pedagogy, American music studies and ethnomusicology.

This is an exciting new opportunity and I am eager to work with the students and world-class music faculty at University of Southern Mississippi.


Master of Global Music Program Set to Begin

On Friday, the last of the auditions for the new Nordic Master of Global Music program were completed. The following audition dates were offered for applicants who passed the first phase of the GLOMAS admissions process:

It was encouraging to see several outstanding students apply to the GLOMAS program, with an especially large number at the Sibelius Academy. Auditioning students came from a wide variety of musical and cultural backgrounds, including a flamenco guitarist with experience playing the Arabic oud, a Kurdish-Swedish saz player, a Danish singer and dancer who has lived in Ghana, a Danish avant garde trumpeter with experience in Indian music, a Tanzanian drummer and dancer, a Finnish harpist-songwriter, a Swedish-Finn who plays Brazilian percussion, a Slovenian violinist, and a Finnish kantele player, to mention but a few. The admissions decisions will all be formally announced within the next few weeks.

Part of my job at the Sibelius Academy in recent years has been to coordinate the development of this new program, including its curriculum and admissions/auditions process. As of this week, the preparatory work will finally all be complete and the new program will be fully ready to be launched in August. It was exciting to serve on the adjudication panel at each of these three institutions during the past few weeks, and to see first-hand the broad range of talented musicians interested in this new international-collaborative joint Master program.

More details regarding this new program are described in the following open-access publication:

Hebert, D. G. (2010). Educating professional musicians for a multicultural society: Emerging issues and new developments. In proceedings of Orally Transmitted Music and Intercultural Education, symposium offered by EU Culture Initiative Music, Orality, Roots, Europe (MORE) at Cité de la Musique, Paris, France (December 3-4, 2009) [http://www.music-orality-roots.eu/sites/default/files/MORE-Symposium1-HebertD-EducatingProfessional.pdf].

Below is more information regarding this program, as explained on the Master of Global Music (GLOMAS) program website:

The Master of Global Music (GLOMAS) is a joint study programme offered in collaboration between higher education music academies in three nations: Royal Academy of Music (Aarhus, Denmark), Lund University, Malmö Academy of Music (Malmo, Sweden), and Sibelius Academy (Helsinki, Finland). The programme leads to a Master degree according to each institution’s regulations and national legislation. GLOMAS is a highly innovative, interdisciplinary programme that is responsive to new needs arising from globalization in the field of music. The programme emphasizes development of “bimusical” performance skills (typically within at least two traditions from different parts of the world), as well as studies of topics relevant to the career of a professional musician, including such areas as musical leadership and instructional skills, project management, and applied research.

Graduates from this Master degree programme will demonstrate:

(1) a high level of comprehensive musicianship that transcends cultural boundaries,

(2) knowledge of both traditional and contemporary hybrid music genres, in and outside of Europe,

(3) an ability to effectively lead music ensembles, communicate and teach music across a diversity of formal and informal settings, and

(4) an ability to successfully develop, document and manage intercultural music projects.

The GLOMAS programme seeks to play a transformative role at the level of both individual students and Nordic society, by broadening musicianship and enhancing both intercultural understanding and lifelong music learning, inside and outside of schools. This new postgraduate program seeks to foster innovative forms of intercultural musicianship, and is inspired partly as a response to music globalization, as well as the rapidly changing student demographics in urban schools within the Nordic region.

Click here for further information: http://glomas.net