Composers Discuss Music Education

Here are links to some very interesting videos of contemporary American composers discussing music education along with performances of a few of their pieces. Joseph Schwantner explains what he owes to the teacher who taught him as a child, while Joan Tower describes the gap between composer and classical performer that has been formed by misguided educational practices and proposes some practical solutions to this widespread problem.

Joseph Schwantner’s musical education


Schwantner: Black Anemones


Joan Tower discusses issues in composition:


(mentions education at 1:19)

Joan Tower: Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman



Music Education and Global Responsibility

In a recent issue of the Finnish Journal of Music Education, Rauni Rasanen writes of how “Music with its words, melodies and rhythm has a very holistic effect on people. Still, if these methods can be used to build prejudices they are equally efficient when deconstructing them” (2010. p.22). Professor Rasanen reminds readers that in the contemporary world “international connections are not only natural, but also necessary” and that a reflective and compassionate awareness of “global responsibility” belongs in teacher education programs, including those in the field of music.

Historian Goldwin Smith is credited with first introducing the phrase “Above all nations is humanity,” which has since become a popular motto used in various ways by such institutions as Cornell University, University of Hawaii, University of Illinois, and University of Southern Mississippi. Few, it seems, would claim to be opposed to this idea. Nevertheless, music curricula rarely reflect a commitment to the spirit of this motto in terms of either careful representation of global heritage on the one hand, or proper restraint in terms of the promotion of nationalistic ideology on the other.

I am pleased to report that we have now obtained a contract to publish a book in 2012 entitled Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education, which will directly examine the phenomenon of national identity construction in music education from a global perspective, with particular attention to how patriotic music has been used in various nations in the past, and how it might most appropriately fit within a curriculum that seeks to represent contemporary values and concerns among multicultural nations. Contributors include several of the most widely published young scholars in the field of music education. While there are many purely musical rationales (e.g. development of compositional and performance ability, enhanced aural skills and general musical knowledge, etc.) for including an array of genres such as patriotic or non-western music in any curriculum, this book will discuss the implications of how the power of music is also frequently used for ideological purposes that may lend support to those who advocate either war or peace.

Click HERE for a related book announcement.

Below is the opening material for the book I have developed with Alexandra Kertz-Welzel:

Hebert, D. G. & Kertz-Welzel, A. (Eds.) (in press/forthcoming, 2012). Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education. [Contributors: Simon Keller, Jane Southcott, Kari Veblen, Ambigay Yudkoff, Carlos Abril, CheeHoo Lum, Eugene Dairianathan, Amy Beegle, Wai-Chung Ho, Marja Heimonen, David G. Hebert, Alexandra Kertz-Welzel].

Patriotism and Nationalism
in Music Education

Edited by
David G. Hebert and
Alexandra Kertz-Welzel

Music has long served as an emblem of national identity in educational systems throughout the world. Patriotic songs are commonly considered healthy and essential ingredients of school curriculum, nurturing the respect, loyalty and “good citizenship” of students. But to what extent have music educators critically examined the potential benefits and costs of nationalism? Globalization in the contemporary world has revolutionized the nature of international relationships, such that patriotism may merit rethinking as an objective for music education. The fields of “peace studies” and “education for international understanding” may better reflect current values shared by the profession, values that often conflict with the nationalistic impulse. This is the first book to introduce an international dialogue on this important theme.
David G. Hebert and Alexandra Kertz-Welzel
Preface: On Patriotism and Education
Simon Keller
1 Patriotism and Music Education: An International Overview
David G. Hebert
2 Lesson Learned? In Search for Patriotism and Nationalism in the German Music Education Curriculum
Alexandra Kertz-Welzel
3 Nationalism and School Music in Australia
Jane Southcott
4 National Identity in the Taiwanese System of Music Education
Wai-Chung Ho
5 A National Anthem: Patriotic Symbol or Democratic Action?
Carlos R. Abril
6 Nationalism and Patriotism: The Experience of an Indian
Diaspora in South Africa
Ambigay Raidoo Yudkoff
7 Soundscapes of a Nation(alism): Perspectives from Singapore
Chee-Hoo Lum and Eugene Dairianathan
8 Conflicting Perspectives on Patriotism within Music Education in the United States During Wartime
Amy C. Beegle
9 "We Stand on Guard for Thee": National Identity in Canadian Music Education
Kari K. Veblen

10 Nationalism and Music Education: A Finnish Perspective
Marja Heimonen and David G. Hebert

11 Conclusions and Recommendations
David G. Hebert and Alexandra Kertz-Welzel


Music Conference in Norway

[Photo: Petr Šmerkl, Wikipedia.]

I look forward to another visit to Bergen, Norway in November for a conference entitled The Effects of Music.

Below are links to more information about this lovely country:

Norway Country Profile (BBC): http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/1023276.stm

Standard of Living, Norway: http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article828724.ece

Living in Norway: http://www.studyinnorway.no/sn/Living-in-Norway

Culture Net Norway: http://www.kulturnett.no/index.jsp?&lang=en

Statistics Norway: http://www.ssb.no/english/

Norway Public Sector: http://www.norway.no/

Norway Country Profile (CIA): https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/no.html

MusicNet West (graduate music studies consortium): http://www.musicwest.no/


USM Faculty Jazz Combo

It is very nice to be performing music again in the USA with some excellent jazz musicians. Today I played trumpet and sang with the University of Southern Mississippi Faculty Jazz Combo, led by outstanding saxophonist Larry Panella. We performed a set of several jazz standards at an outdoor barbecue for the Homecoming Week events at the university. The student jazz combo also performed, and sounded superb!


Terence Blanchard

Renowned jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard is performing at University of Southern Mississippi in just a few more days!

More information:




Music Psychotherapy Among Refugees

The doctoral defense of Sami Alanne will be held on October 23, 2010 at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finand. His dissertation, entitled "Music Psychotherapy with Refugee Survivors of Torture: Interpretations of Three Clinical Case Studies," documents his own music therapy interventions with three immigrant men living in Finland who originally came to Europe from nations in Central Asia, the Middle East, and West Africa. This study combines qualitative observations with data from psychological tests and even factor analysis of events recorded from therapeutic sessions. Alanne originally began his dissertation under emeritus Professor Kai Karma. I worked intensely with Alanne at the Sibelius Academy as his main supervisor across the 2009-2010 academic year, but left Finland for a job in the USA as Alanne was sending out the completed document to reviewers for critique. He will graduate with Sibelius Academy's Lauri Vakeva as his Chair and renowned Norwegian music therapy expert Evan Ruud as the "opponent" reader. I anticipate that Alanne's study will be of great interest to music therapists in multicultural nations who seek to more effectively serve patients from immigrant backgrounds, particularly those who have been traumatized by warfare and other dehumanizing conditions.

Education Reform and the Music Doctorate

I look forward to presenting a paper for an upcoming conference entitled The Effects of Music, which is hosted by the Musicnet West academic consortium, in Bergen, Norway (November 29-30). Prior to that, I will be visiting Abu Dhabi, and plans are underway for me to give a lecture in Damascus.

Below is the abstract for the presentation in Norway:

Education Reform and the Music Doctorate: Current Issues in Europe and North America

Arising from analysis of policy documents, and illustrated with anecdotes from supervision of doctoral dissertations in both Europe and the USA, this paper proposes a theoretical model for conceptualization of recent changes to the music doctorate. Developments affecting music education doctoral studies in USA have previously been chronicled in a series of publications by David J. Teachout and recent contributions by Patrick M. Jones and Bennett Reimer, as well as various publications associated with the Carnegie Foundation’s extensive project “Re-envisioning the PhD”. The evolving European situation is described in key reports by Ester Tomasi, Joost Vanmaele, and others associated with the Polifonia Third Cycle Working Group and the European Association of Conservatoires, which emerged in response to the EU’s Bologna Process. While these kinds of documents offer a holistic view of the rapidly changing terrain of doctoral (third cycle) education, a rich understanding may also be obtained from qualitative accounts of what occurs at the level of individual students and their mentors, which is where narrative description can provide a helpful supplement. It is hoped that this paper will open some timely issues for consideration, including such topics as online mentoring, research quality assurance, and “artistic research” methodologies, as Norwegian institutions consider various ways to envision the future of music education doctoral programs.