ISME world conference online

This is an exciting time for music educators, as the meeting of the largest organization in our field—the ISME world conference—is approaching in mid-July, hosted virtually from Queensland, Australia. For this meeting, I will be giving presentations in three sessions, one of which I will chair/organize.


“Seeing Through a Wider Lens: Revisionist History in Music Education,” Chair: Craig Resta. Panelists: Marie McCarthy, David Hebert, Benon Kigozi. 


Looking at historical events is one way to better comprehend how prior actions can influence future progress. Often our narratives about the past have been framed through certain lenses that may not reflect the realities of the time, or the perspectives of today. As a result, there are people and histories and happenings that have untold stories needing more attention.  A primary idea of this panel is to discuss definitions of revisionist history, why it matters, and innovative approaches to understanding who we are, how we move ahead, and how to make progress towards social justice as dialogue and practice in the field. 

 Examples might be women in music education, international perspectives, LGBT issues and music teaching, marginalized populations, ethnicity and race, sociocultural influences connected to musical experiences, critical pedagogies and practices, cultural understandings, and diversity and pluralism in numerous settings. Others may be technology aspects, policy, reform, and institutional protocols, nationalism and musicological studies, and so on. Further viewpoints include how historical events play out in our profession, examples from the literature, and potential impacts on music teaching and learning in multiple countries and circumstances. This participatory discussion will tackle these issues representing viewpoints and perspectives from North America, Europe, Middle East, Scandinavia, Africa, and Asia. Scholars on the panel include those from the United States, Ireland, Norway, Israel, and Uganda. While more history needs to be done generally in music education, there can be even more attention to ideas and people and happenings that many of us do not know today. Aside from the historical events themselves, is the important discussion of history, and how we think and do it in practical context. What is our purpose in historical inquiry and reflection, and how can the outcomes make the musical experiences of those around us better?

“Musical Communication with China: An International Dialogue,” by Jiaxing Xie and David Hebert


How does music enable intercultural communication and dialogue in education? From a traditional Chinese perspective, music is composed of three levels: form, function, and metaphysical dimensions. Musical communication and dialogue are thereby believed to originate from these three levels, which may serve as a framework for understanding interactions with the West. By the year 1600 Mateo Ricci had performed western music in China, but it was only since the 1840s that Western music began to profoundly influence Chinese music culture with varying intensity according to the evolving sociopolitical situation. Across generations, Chinese musicians have actively participated and reflected on the three delineated levels, but after nearly 200 years of intensifying musical “communication” how much do most Western people understand about Chinese music, even during this “information age”? We will examine specific cases of interaction between Chinese and Western musicians that have sought to improve intercultural understanding, and reflect on ways of evaluating the educational and social impact of such endeavors. Our account will take into consideration the arguments of notable Chinese international relations scholars, including Xiaoying Qi and Yaqing Qin, as well as perspectives of musicologists from China and other countries. One important development in this area was the establishment of institutions for learning Chinese musical instruments in Europe, but we note that enthusiasm for Western music in China has generally been stronger than enthusiasm for Chinese music abroad. When it comes to musical collaboration between China and Norway, for instance, we identify specific phases of development (e.g. 2000-2009, 2010-2019, etc.). In our view, robust intercultural exchange in music requires not only performances and symposia, but also in-depth dialogues, including co-authored publications of the kind that we are developing across years of collaboration.

“Ready to Conduct Historical Research?: Dialogue with Mentors.” Chair: David Hebert; Panelists: Marie McCarthy, Jane Southcott, Phillip Hash, Benon Kigozi, Robin Stevens, Craig Resta, and Casey Gerber 


The purpose of this meeting is to provide an open session for mentoring of early-career scholars and doctoral students. All ISME participants interested in historical research in music education are warmly welcomed to the session for discussion of their project concepts. Distinguished historians and mentors have agreed to participate in this session, including Marie McCarthy, Jane Southcott, Phillip Hash, Benon Kigozi, Robin Stevens, Craig Resta, and Casey Gerber. The session is chaired by David Hebert. The mentors will offer advice regarding previous studies as well as appropriate theoretical and methodological approaches. In addition to an opportunity for mentoring, this meeting also offers a chance to discuss future projects of the ISME History Standing Committee. 

Public domain image from: 



International Education PhD in Lithuania

Congratulations to Chinese music educator Dr. Yuqing Yang on completing her PhD defense at Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania.

It was a pleasure to serve on the examining committee today.

Dr. Yang’s dissertation, directed by Prof. Jolanta Lasauskiene, is titled Boundary Crossing: The Socio-cultural Integration Experience of Chinese International Students in Lithuania.


Inequalities in Higher Education and Arts

We are now in the middle of a unique international PhD course at Bergen Summer Research School called Global Inequalities in Higher Education and the Arts. Below is my introductory video for the course, which is co-taught with geographer Erlend Eidsvik.

We have outstanding guest lecturers appearing in this course, including Emily Achieng’ Akuno, Tara Pandeya, Alexis Kallio, Lesley Le Grange, Suriamurthee Maistry, and Nasim Niknafs.

PhD Candidates have joined the course from universities in many different countries—including South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Australia, India, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and UK—including students who originally come from such places as China, Indonesia, Russia, Georgia, and Spain. 

Below is a link for Emily Akuno's keynote speech: 


I look forward to seeing the long-term outcomes of this course, and the PhD summer school as a whole, including the likelihood of some joint publications.