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


RIP jazz musician Johnny Todd

Today the news is rapidly spreading that jazz pianist Johnny Todd has passed away. He is especially known in Japan as a skilled performer and arranger based in Tokyo, but first established himself as a player in jazz clubs in Sydney, Australia as well as Honolulu, where he worked for years in a full-time professional role as bandleader for legendary Hawaiian popular music artist Don Ho.

About 20 years ago I had the incredible opportunity to frequently perform with Johnny Todd in the Tokyo area as the professional duo Jazz de Iitomo. The name of the group came from a Japanese pun meaning: (1) we are good friends through jazz, and (2) “I think” a jazzy way is good. Jazz de Iitomo enjoyed a lot of gigs around Tokyo: at jazz clubs, private dinners, festivals, corporate events, and school concerts. It was thrilling to collaborate with Johnny, whose piano-playing never ceased to impress audiences. I did what I could to keep up as a trumpeter and vocalist, but sometimes forgot the words or the form, and often found myself in the role of encouraging the audience to listen carefully to Johnny’s brilliant improvisations and arrangements.

I recall a few occasions in which we were very briefly joined by Johnny's daughter Mika, who at the time was singing in one of the most famous commercial pop music groups in Japan, Minimoni. Although Minimoni had become incredibly popular at that time, it seemed that Mika (a great singer) was already tiring of the demanding lifestyle of stardom, and sometimes wished she had more chances to sing quality music and just enjoy being a normal teenager. Johnny was very supportive of her career, and had become fluent in Japanese and fully integrated into the local jazz scene. Johnny had a long and impressive career and I joined him for probably only about 1% of it, but that experience was formative and mattered a lot to me.

Johnny was a great man and inspiring musician: a soft-spoken and kind person who loved music and deeply respected Japanese culture. He was always learning new things and willing to consider new perspectives and I am deeply thankful to have known him. It was hard to keep in touch after I left Japan, partly because over about 20 years I lived in so many places after that: Moscow, Auckland, Boston, Helsinki, Bergen, but whenever I returned to Japan I made a point of meeting with Johnny. I had hoped to see him again as Covid-19 becomes less of a hinderance to travel, but he is already gone.     

Johnny made some sound recordings, a few of which are linked above, but I am not convinced any of them fully captured the magic that happened in live settings, especially at the end of a long night in Ginza on the very deepest of ballads or wildest of high-tempo post-bop tunes. I played with him on one album with singer Midori Takamura, so here is a link to Body and Soul from that album as well his original song Study in Green, which is dedicated to our dear friend Midori (whose name means “green” in Japanese).

Rest in peace, Johnny! 


PhD Dissertation on Chinese Students at European Universities

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

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

Dr. Sun’s dissertation, directed by Prof. Jolanta Lasauskiene, is titled Adjusting to Cultural Differences in Teaching and Learning: The Case Study of Chinese Postgraduate Students in Lithuania.

Dr. Sun submitted a thorough and rigorous study that demonstrates great potential for becoming a highly accomplished researcher. I am hopeful she will manage to attain a postdoctoral position.

Recent media articles on Chinese students in western higher education: