Research on Music Policies and Practices in Europe

Below are abstracts for some of my upcoming collaborative publications:

Hebert, D. G. & Heimonen, M. (2013, January; Draft in review for special issue on “Cosmopolitanism and Policy”). “Public Policy and Music Education in Norway and Finland,” Arts Education Policy Review, Vol. 114, No. 1.

Public Policy and Music Education in Norway and Finland

David G. Hebert and Marja Heimonen


Our previous research has examined the legal bases for music education in Northern Europe as well as the role of music among ethnic minorities and in the construction of national identity.  Extending on previous work, this article applies the Toulmin argument model of rhetorical analysis—which features identification and dissection of the components of prominent enthymemes—to scrutinize concepts within both educational policy documents and relevant music education literature from Norway and Finland across the past decade. Our analysis will produce a detailed account of how understandings of “music education” are formulated through the rhetoric of public policy, enabling rigorous examination of relationships between the prospective limitations of these formulations and the actual concerns of music teachers evident in professional periodicals since the start of the 21st century.  


Hebert, D. G., Kallio, A. A., & Odendaal, A. (2012, in press). “Not so Silent Night: Tradition, Transformation and Cultural Understandings of Christmas Music Events in Helsinki Finland,” Ethnomusicology Forum, Vol. 21.

Not so Silent Night: Tradition, Transformation and Cultural Understandings of Christmas music events in Helsinki Finland

David Hebert, Alexis Anja Kallio and Albi Odendaal

The aim of this study was to investigate the characteristics of Finnish joulumusiikki (Christmas music) concerts and sing-alongs as well as participants’ motivations for attending these immensely popular events. Contemporary joulumusiikki events were studied through ethnographic observations and interviews conducted at five prominent Christmas music venues in the capital city, Helsinki. Findings highlight how these events may be understood as rituals that both maintain traditions and mediate the transformations of contemporary Finnish society. Joulumusiikki events were determined to provide opportunities for particularly Finnish celebrations of distinctively Finnish ideals. Thus, both as expressions and constructions of ‘Finnishness’, joulumusiikki events are seen as an important social tradition that continues to evolve and transform. With very little previously published research on such topics, this study offers preliminary but important insights into the role of Christmas music events in Finnish society which are highly significant due to their powerfully affective connection to cultural heritage and the fact that more than a fifth of Finns (around 1 million) participate in them annually.