GAME Symposium 2022

The Grieg Academy Music Education (GAME) research group, which I have been leading for a few years, held its first small symposium for consultation on our various projects a few days ago. The GAME research group has produced many publications and has also been rather successful with obtaining grants for various projects from an array of sources, including Nordplus, Nordforsk, Utforsk (HK-dir), Swedish Research Council, Norad/Norhed, EU-Erasmus Plus, etc.

We invited an excellent group of highly productive and innovative music scholars to the discussion in Bergen. The following guests participated in our research group’s “think tank” consultation event: Gareth Dylan Smith, Samantha Dieckmann, Lauri Vakeva, Stefan Ostersjo, Thanh Thuy Nguyen, Marianne Løkke Jakobsen, Mary Stakelum, Mikolaj Rykowski, and Markus Tullberg, as well as (briefly) some additional visitors: both Melissa Brunkan and Sergej Tchirkov

Other notable international guests to visit the GAME research group in 2022 have included Masafumi OgawaChee Hoo LumKoji Matsunobu, and Anita Prest, in addition to the several meetings with our visiting professors Stefan Ostersjo and Helga Rut Gudmundsdottir (who was unable to join this symposium). GAME members who presented their research at the event included (in addition to me), Thanh Thuy Nguyen, Steinar Saetre, Heather Arghandeh Paudler, David Johnson, and Marianne Løkke Jakobsen.    

Our invited guests stayed at Moxy Hotel and we enjoyed a concert organized by composer Jostein Stalheim at Bergen's oldest surviving structure, Mariakirken cathedral. Below is the program from the event. We look forward to having more symposia like this one in the future, at least once every two years. In 2023 we plan to host multiple visitors, especially from East Africa and East Asia. 


New Asia-Europe Doctoral Partnership

I am pleased to announce that we have just been approved for funding from the Utforsk program (Norwegian Directorate of Higher Education and Skills) for a 4-year project that will lead to closer cooperation and development of opportunities for a shared PhD/EdD doctoral program between Bergen and Hong Kong.  

Global Competence and Research-Based Practice in a Doctoral and Postgraduate Partnership (Project number UTF-2021/10057) will “strengthen cooperation and quality of doctoral and postgraduate education between Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) and Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) by developing mechanisms for student exchange, 2 COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) courses and 2 new joint courses from each partner, co-authoring of research, and co-supervision of dissertations, all with an emphasis on 'Global Competence' and research-based practice, and leading to design of a "sandwich" (shared) doctoral degree in Education. Through intensive Research & Writing Workshops, and application of innovative pedagogies, the project will upgrade teaching while boosting research outcomes.”

Six goals aligned with UTFORSK’s Results Framework (URF) will be achieved: 1) Establish detailed institutional agreement and exchange plan for teachers, 8 doctoral students and 5 master students, 2) Modify 2 existing courses from each institution for COIL (online) format, and develop 2 new joint courses at each institution, thereby strengthening doctoral studies through sharing of 8 courses, 3) Integrate research-based Global Competence modules, taught as a pedagogical mentorship for doctoral students, 4) Develop Doctor of Education (EdD)/PhD "sandwich" degree partnership based on shared COIL courses, new joint courses, Research & Writing Workshops, and co-supervision of theses, 5) Strengthen research collaboration and publish outcomes (6 refereed articles/chapters by end of project), 6) Apply methods developed through this project to strengthen education in other partnerships (Norhed, Nordplus, Erasmus).


Here is a link with an additional announcement:




Kampala, Uganda

It is exciting to be visiting Kampala, Uganda now through the CABUTE project, where I have some meetings and lectures for Makerere University and Kyambogo University, as well as a Keynote Speech for the 2022 East African Teacher Education Symposium

I look forward to sharing, learning more, and seeing what we manage to accomplish through this collaboration. It is inspiring to cross borders together with education and music. 

The photograph below shows the project's latest recipients of full scholarships for music education PhD studies (Erisa Walubo) and Master studies (Lydia Basemera and Rogers Mpoza), along with the CABUTE-Music subject co-leaders (Dr. Nicholas Ssempijja and myself) and recent ISME president Prof. Emily Akuno. 


New External Doctoral Committees

I look forward to serving as an External Examiner (“Opponent”) for the PhD defense of Laura Ellestad with a dissertation titled “Norwegian-American Fiddling in the Upper Midwest: The Construction of Norwegian-American Identities” at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo. It will be very interesting to see how Ellestad approaches this topic, with a dissertation to be defended in spring 2023. This will be my second time serving on the doctoral committee for a string player working in a genre outside western classical music, since years ago I was a doctoral supervisor for Ari Poutiainen, a jazz violinist now at University of Helsinki.  

Also, I look forward to serving as an external member for the PhD committee at University of Luxembourg for Japanese comparative educationist Miwa Chiba. She was a student in the first cohort of my PhD course “Non-Western Educational Philosophy and Policy”, later becoming a contributor to our special issue in the Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education as well as the book Comparative and Decolonial Studies in Philosophy of Education. Chiba is deeply interested in the philosophical foundations of contrasting educational systems in Europe and Asia, and it has been a great pleasure to work with her.  

In the end of October 2022, I will be teaching for a third year for the university-wide professional development course in Doctoral Supervision at University of Bergen. Click HERE to learn more about my interests and experience in doctoral education.

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:University_of_Luxembourg.jpg


Sympathetic Resonance

The Sympathetic Resonance Trio is comprised of three performers with different national, cultural and musical backgrounds. Sergej Tchirkov from St. Petersburg has the accordion as his main instrument and is a PhD candidate in music at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen. Sergej has performed widely across Europe and has recently made himself known as a strong critic of Russian aggression and as a music activist with concerts against the war. David Gabriel Hebert is a Professor of music education at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and joins the trio as its trumpeter and vocalist. He comes from Seattle, and in addition to a broad career as a practicing musician, has around ten books and a number of publications behind him. Ole Øvretveit is a Norwegian guitarist, producer and political scientist. Øvretveit has a background in cultural and scientific cooperation across national borders as well as blues-based music.

Sympathetic Resonance began as a cross-genre music project where improvisation and co-creation were the focus. Over time it has become more structured and based around a set of songs, but co-creation, new thinking and improvisation remain central concepts. Our project aims to create an understanding of the times we live in and a commitment to help make the future better.

A war of occupation in Europe is something that only a short while ago most of us liked to imagine was impossible. But it is here, and decades of cross-border cooperation are ending, perhaps for good. Cooperation between Russia and the West is not possible today. But it is possible to use culture and music to understand both our common and differing histories, nature and cultural traditions. It is possible to focus on both the dark and light parts of history; It is also possible to shine a spotlight on the positive effects of interaction, cultural cooperation and mutual understanding between positive forces across borders. It is better to build bridges than walls, even if the bridges may be made of air.

With interaction and improvisation as a foundation, the trio interprets music across borders, eras, themes, cultures and nature, from the cold Arctic in the north to the rivers that flow south into the Black Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Our project deepens understandings and dialogue based on three thematic threads: Human dignity and democracy; man and nature; interaction and co-creation.


·          Ol Man River

·       Wayfaring Stranger

·       Volga Boatmen Song

·       Oh Shenandoah



Sergej Tchirkov, accordion

David Hebert, voice and trumpet

Ole Øvretveit, acoustic guitar

Link to VR-painted video: https://youtu.be/oYEEsNrJ74E


Music Talks in Prilep

It is exciting to be in Prilep, North Macedonia as part of the MusicTalks project for enhancing the effectiveness of nonformal youth music activities, funded by the EU's Erasmus Plus program.

We look forward to reporting on the project outcomes, including our 13 research-based methods, at the upcoming Nordic Network for Music Education course in Bergen.

Videos of our work are posted here: https://sites.google.com/view/music-talks-erasmus-project/videos

Below are some photos from our work both yesterday and today:


Ethnomusicology Conference Papers

It was a pleasure to give two co-authored presentations this week for the XXXVII European Seminar in Ethnomusicology in Graz, Austria. This was together with a postdoctoral researcher and PhD student affiliated with the Grieg Academy Music Education research group.

Dr. Thanh Thuy Nguyen’s paper highlighted some major points from our forthcoming book (with Stefan Ostersjo and Henrik Frisk, on Cambridge University Press) about new methods for decolonized intercultural music collaborations.

Marianne Løkke Jakobsen’s paper expanded on our recent book chapter in Ethnomusicology and Cultural Diplomacy, about music diplomacy between China and Europe, featuring in-depth discussion of the Panda Suite project.


Nordic Network 2022 Course in Bergen

We look forward to hosting the 2022 Nordic Network for Music Education (NNME) intensive Master course on 24-28 October, in Bergen, Norway, at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.

Click here for details: 


Travel grants from Nordplus will support several music education Master students (and their teachers) from across the 8 Nordic and Baltic countries with airfare and hotel costs to participate in Bergen, and others will participate online. 

At least 15 of the participating Master students will have an opportunity to present live in Bergen and obtain feedback on their in-progress theses from music education professors affiliated with universities in other countries. Other students will participate online from home. 

Keynote speakers for this NNME course include:

  • Chee Hoo Lum (National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) 
  • Mikko Seppänen (University of the Arts, Helsinki) 
  • Helga Rut Gudmundsdottir and Adam Switala (University of Iceland) 
  • Zalys Vytautas (Siauliai University, Lithuania) 

Other special opportunities at the NNME course include:

  • Expert panel discussion on music learning technologies, moderated by Kristi Kiilu (Estonia)
  • Sessions by local experts on such topics as improvisation / 'soundpainting' (Jostein Stalheim), thesis writing strategies (Felicity Rinde and Catharina Christophersen), and media technologies (Sigrid Jordal Havre)
  • Live music-making sessions led by Ole Gunnar Eikeland and others, including Sympathetic Resonance Trio
  • Presentations on funded research projects: Music Talks (Erasmus Plus), and FUTURED (Norwegian Research Council)

Here is a link for more information about the Bergen area: https://en.visitbergen.com/

Here is a link for more information about NNME and its intensive Master courses: https://www.hvl.no/en/collaboration/networks/nordic-network-for-music-education/


Keynote Speech for National Conference in China

It is a pleasure to now be developing a keynote speech for China’s 2022 national conference on music and arts education.


UPDATE (1 January 2023): Incredibly, this conference had 450,000 participants (online and live), with 272 paper presentations, and my keynote was viewed by 67,000 people. 

UPDATE (12 October 2022): This conference has now been postponed by about two weeks (presumably due to pandemic restrictions) and there is now a new poster for it, which I am posting here (above the other one). I just learned that on the day after our keynote speeches there will be over 200 research presentations at this event! That is about the same size as major international conferences, and shows how significant China has become in the field of music research. I eagerly look forward to it.  

UPDATE (18 September 2022): Below is the title and abstract for my keynote speech. 

Why History Matters for Music Education: Practical and Disciplinary Considerations


History matters for music education in that it enables music teachers to apprehend the forces that shape musical and educational conditions. Historical understandings also enable teachers to convey an appreciation for cultural heritage, as well as recognition of how performance practices evolve, along with judgements about which aspects of music matter, and what features constitute “good” music. The History Standing Committee (HSC) of the International Society for Music Education (ISME), which I now Chair, is devoted to developing a global perspective on music education history. My book Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology also demonstrates ways of producing an anthropological understanding of how music education develops. Since 2000, China has ascended in this field: traditional Chinese music has become more robustly institutionalized in major conservatoires, music genres of minority peoples have gained increasing attention, and China has even become a major center for “western” art music. Music education research from China is also growing in prominence, and it is encouraging to hear of Chinese research in the history of music education. I notice that aesthetic education is a major theme of this conference. In North America in the 1990s, praxialists shifted attention away from aesthetics to active music-making in education, but their arguments were based on Eurocentric definitions of “aesthetics,” and it is interesting to learn how this is regarded in China today. From 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted education and international relations worldwide, and its possible long-term impacts are unclear. History shows that economic risks tend to reduce public support for arts, and pandemic conditions have been a challenge for musicians worldwide. I will explore three questions: (1) How did historical musicians gain broader appreciation for their art during times of major disruption? (2) How is “aesthetic education” perceived differently in different national-educational contexts?, and (3) How might comparative-historical studies shed light on what has caused the recent blossoming of music education in China, to help ensure these successes are sustained far into the future?

Biographical Profile:

David G. Hebert, PhD is a full Professor of Music Education at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen. There he leads the Grieg Academy Music Education research group and manages the state-funded Nordic Network for Music Education. He is also a Board member of the International Society for Music Education, and Chair of its History Standing Committee. He serves on editorial boards of several publications and has authored articles in 35 different professional journals. Professor Hebert has lectured for several universities in China and currently holds a position as Honorary Professor with the Education University of Hong Kong. He has served on doctoral supervisory committees for universities in 13 countries, and has directed research projects on each inhabited continent. He has produced edited volumes with such titles as Advancing Music Education in Northern Europe, Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education, Music Glocalization: Heritage and Innovation in a Digital Age, Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology, and Ethnomusicology and Cultural Diplomacy. Several Chinese scholars contributed to his latest book, Comparative and Decolonial Studies in Philosophy of Education (forthcoming, Springer press). With funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he is currently developing a music education PhD program in Uganda. 

It is also nice to see that an earlier book with Mikolaj Rykowski continues to be a “bestseller” in the top 5% with Cambridge Scholars press.



Arts in Cultural Diplomacy at World Congress of Sociology

Call for Papers.

The Research Committee for Sociology of Arts, part of the International Sociological Association, will be hosting a session titled Arts in Cultural Diplomacy at the XX ISA World Congress of Sociology, Melbourne, Australia (June 25-July 1, 2023).  

Founded in 1949 under the auspices of UNESCO, the ISA is the leading scholarly organization for the field of sociology, with around 4,500 members in 167 countries worldwide  

Click here for details on the Arts in Cultural Diplomacy session:


Here is the abstract for this session:

Arts in Cultural Diplomacy

Researchers are increasingly examining how music and other arts are used in cultural diplomacy initiatives. In such contexts, the arts function as a form of "soft power" that deflects attention to universally appreciated aspects of a local or national culture even under circumstances that are complicated for international or bilateral relations. Cultural diplomacy through arts thereby serves as a bridge that enables reduction of hostilities through affirmation of mutual appreciation and shared humanity. Sociological theory is only beginning to develop adequate explanations of the mechanisms of arts in cultural diplomacy, particularly when it comes to diplomacy of non-western nations toward the west in a postcolonial era. New studies in this field may seek to provide robust quantitative or qualitative descriptions as well as refinement of theoretical models to enhance explanation of phenomena and processes associated with arts diplomacy.

We welcome scholarly papers that are relevant to the topic.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: September 30, 2022


Malay Nobat: Vol. III of Deep Soundings

Volume III of our Deep Soundings book series has now been published by Lexington Books (of Rowman & Littlefield Press). This volume is an insightful monograph on the Southeast Asian tradition of Nobat court music: The Malay Nobat A History of Power, Acculturation, and Sovereignty, authored by Raja Iskandar Bin Raja Halid.

We continue to seek book proposals for the Deep Soundings series that promise to offer unique knowledge regarding the musical past, and would welcome high quality contributions that address any genre or location worldwide. Below are a few examples of what prominent scholars have to say about Halid’s book …


“This book takes the reader to a fascinating musical soundscape in the royal courts of Malaysia that is unimaginable to most music lovers today. Raja Iskandar Bin Raja Halid skillfully describes the history and significance of nobat and explains why and how it still has symbolic meaning today.”

— Margaret Kartomi, author of Performing the Arts of Indonesia: Malay Identity and Politics in the Music, Dance and Theatre of the Riau Islands


"Raja Iskandar Bin Raja Halid’s detailed and erudite study of the nobat of the Malay world is also a study of a neglected, but vital, facet of Islamicate culture – the trumpets, pipes, and drums that have served as accoutrements of the ruler’s spiritual and temporal power since early times. The author approaches both the local and the colonial historical sources with a keen eye and sharp ear in this consistently engaging, well-researched volume."

— Martin Stokes, King's College, London



Second East African Teacher Education Symposium

The second annual East African Teacher Education Symposium will be held at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda on November 9-11, 2022. This year the EATES theme concerns how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted education in this region.  

Click HERE for more information on the 2022 EATES.

Click HERE for information about the first EATES, in 2021.


ISME History Standing Committee

The History Standing Committee of the International Society for Music Education is one of four Committees charged with directly supporting the organization’s executive leadership. Its mission is to “identify and create opportunities to celebrate and showcase the history of the Society and music education internationally.”

The work of the ISME History Standing Committee includes such activities as producing historical materials, coordinating archival contributions, recommending policies for historical documentation, planning of history sessions for world conferences, and developing closer ties with other relevant organizations. For several years the committee has been led by professor Marie McCarthy.   

It is a pleasure to report that I have now been appointed Chair of the History Standing Committee during an important period in which ISME is planning for its 70th and 75th anniversaries. 

In music, like other subject areas, those in the field of education often underappreciate the value of historical studies, which offer unique insights into how ideas and practices develop and spread, as well as how social and institutional conditions impact all aspects of the conditions in which teaching and learning occur. I am confident that through the work of the History Standing Committee we will be able to draw renewed attention to what can be learned about the present and future through careful examination of the past. In particular, I am interested in supporting revisionist approaches that call for a more comprehensive inclusion of all people, genres, pedagogies, and forms of informal learning that take place in diverse communities--in interaction with schools--through our documentation of the global history of music education.   



Image retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apsara#/media/File:File-Apsara_playing_a_Chinese_flute_-_Yulin_Cave_15.jpg


Board of International Society for Music Education

Affiliated with the International Music Council and UNESCO, the International Society for Music Education (ISME) has more than 2,000 members in over 80 countries. Yesterday I learned that I have been appointed a Board Member of ISME, confirmed by a vote open to all the organization’s members. 

I will be serving with the new ISME president Bo-Wah Leung of the Education University of Hong Kong, as well as several accomplished Board Members. It is an exciting opportunity to collaborate in development of international initiatives to strengthen the field of music education globally. 

Thank you, ISME members, for your support, and I will do my best to contribute positively to the organization’s leadership. 



Comparative and Decolonial Studies in Philosophy of Education

It is a pleasure to announce that the complete manuscript of our latest book has been sent to Springer press: Comparative and Decolonial Studies in Philosophy of Education (for publication in 2023). This book was primarily the outcome of a PhD course I have offered since 2020 on Non-Western Educational Philosophy and Policy. It was a great experience to work closely with several fine scholars in development of this unique volume, which will be my tenth book as author or editor, finished as I am nearly reaching age 50. About half of the contributors to this book specialize in music, but we wanted to write something for educators of all kinds, which required considerable time and effort. 

Koji Matsunobu wrote a fascinating Foreword for the book, and we are also very pleased to include a brilliant Afterword by African philosopher Yusef Waghid. It normally takes time for a press to process manuscripts but hopefully this will be published by early winter. Below is the Table of Contents.


Table of Contents



                        Koji Matsunobu


Chapter 1       

Why comparative and decolonial studies in philosophy of education?  

David G. Hebert


Chapter 2        Cai Yuanpei’s vision of aesthetic education and his legacy in China

Ning Luo and Tao Guan


Chapter 3        Comparison of self-reflection in Humboldtian Bildung and the Kyoto School: Rethinking assumptions on reflection in OECD 2030

                        Miwa Chiba


Chapter 4        A philosophical perspective on the purpose of education in Indonesia

Dorothy Ferary


Chapter 5        Sikolohiyang Pilipino: Implications for formal and informal learning institutions and settings in the Philippines

Czarecah Tuppil Oropilla, Charla Rochella Santiago-Saamong and Jean Guadana


Chapter 6        Beyond education: A comparison of Tagore and Hu Shih’s educational philosophies

Lexuan Zhang and David G. Hebert


Chapter 7        Lessons from Ubuntu for moral education

Pip Bennett


Chapter 8        Omoluabi and Asabiyyah philosophies: Afro-Arabian perspectives on inclusive education policy in Nigeria

Abass Bolaji Isiaka


Chapter 9        The “happy island” of Polish music education: Self-Orientalization of educational philosophies in post-Soviet Europe

                        Adam Switala and Piotr Majewski  


Chapter 10      Advancing and applying comparative and decolonial studies in philosophy of education 


                        Pip Bennett, Dorothy Ferary, and David G. Hebert


Afterword: Philosophical remarks on decolonizing philosophy of education  

Yusef Waghid



MusiPæd Project

It is exciting to be part of a new initiative to strengthen higher music education in the Nordic countries. MusiPæd is a collaboration between the Royal Danish Academy of Music (Copenhagen) and the Voksenåsen Music Academies (Oslo) which seeks to develop innovative approaches in the field of talent education for advanced training of professional musicians. 

During the summer 2022 course, I will be working with Peter Herresthol and Marianne Løkke Jakobsen to document the pedagogical approaches used by renowned teachers and develop recommendations for new postgraduate programs.

Here is a link for more information:



International Journal of Music Education Board

It is a pleasure to announce that I have just been appointed to the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Music Education. Published by SAGE, the IJME has a 40-year history. It was first established in 1983 under the editorship of Frank Callaway as an initiative of the UNESCO-affiliated International Society for Music Education, which at that point already had a 30-year history and members in 60 countries worldwide. 

For several years I have offered occasional reviews for this journal, so it is reasonable to now be more formally affiliated as a Board member, and I look forward to more actively contributing to quality assurance of this important publication. Music has been such an important part of human life worldwide since ancient times and we need to continue developing deeper knowledge of how it is taught and learned.

Also, click HERE to access the following recent article, co-authored by Editorial Board members of another journal, Music Education Research:

Thade Buchborn, Pamela Burnard, David G. Hebert & Gwen Moore (2022) Reconfiguring music education for future-making: how?, Music Education Research, 24:3, 275-281, DOI: 10.1080/14613808.2022.2076821