Music Education in East Asia

In just a few months will be the International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education along with the May Day Group Colloquium 27 (New Orleans), followed by the Tenth Asia-Pacific Symposium for Music Education Research (Hong Kong). I look forward to seeing all the latest work of many great colleagues in these fields, and as well as giving two presentations in New Orleans and a panel in Hong Kong:

-Jiaxing Xie, David G. Hebert, Bo Wah Leung, Alex Ruthmann, Gary McPherson, and Liane Hentschke (chair), “Music Education via MOOCs: A Status Report on the Open Global Music Academy Project,” Intercontinental Plenary Panel (with representatives from universities on 5 continents), 10th Asia-Pacific Symposium for Music Education Research (APSMER): Music Education for the Future Generation, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, China (July 10-13, 2015).

-David G. Hebert, “Music Education from the Perspective of East Asian Social Theory,” paper presentation, Ninth International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education, Joint Session with MayDay Group Colloquium 27: “Music Education as Social, Cultural, and Political Action,” Loyola University, New Orleans, USA (June 14-17, 2015).

-Steinar Satre and David G. Hebert, “Rethinking the Institutionalization of Jazz Learning,” paper presentation, Ninth International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education, Loyola University, New Orleans, USA (June 14-17, 2015).

Scholarly Milestones

This is by no means important news for most people, but every once in a while some personal milestones are reached in the life of a scholar that may be worth a bit of private celebration. In the past two days, I suddenly reached five significant numbers as a researcher, 10 years after completion of the PhD: Today I learned that a paper co-authored with Kristoffer Jensen has been accepted for publication, which means that I will now have articles in 30 different professional journals (with more under review). Also, in Google Scholar, two days ago my citation count reached 250, with an h-index of 10 (meaning that at least 10 of my publications are cited in a minimum of 10 other publications). Also, book number 5 (as author or editor) has been approved by the managing editors of a major academic press, and a contract will most likely be offered in the next few weeks as their financial department makes its calculations. Finally, a current doctoral student is now scheduling her final hearings and examinations for the Autumn, and it appears I will soon be appointed to my 15th doctoral committee. Compared to researchers in many science fields - or those with additional decades of experience - these numbers may not be very large, but for an arts scholar born in the 1970s it convincingly indicates my research is having a confirmable impact.

Of course, writings can be endless, and like many in academia I seem to be in a permanent state of facing both impossible writing deadlines and rejected grant applications, while frequently reminding myself there is much more to life than writing. The point here is not to complain, for it is a very interesting life, with good fortune to have such opportunities, but also a call for deeper reflection. I recall that a while back I was waiting in an airport security line and noticing that the procedures are increasingly complicated and more intrusive every year. In addition to the array of physical tests and scans, I had to answer about 50 personal questions in order to be allowed to board an airplane. After inquiring for many details about my work on music research related projects in various countries, the guard asked “how does that make a difference for anyone?”. I had to admit the relevance is less obvious than medical research to minimize disease, applied science research to improve technologies, or economic research to maximize profits. Nevertheless, new knowledge of global artistic and cultural practices in its own way helps us to better understand what it is to be human, which is something we still seem to need much more of in this complex world.

Research advances knowledge and helps to make us better teachers at all levels of education. Here are some links, for anyone curious to know more about my scholarship in such fields as music education, ethnomusicology, comparative education, arts policy, and East Asian studies:


Rethinking Music Globalization

Below is the abstract from my keynote speech for the upcoming conference on Music and Globalization at the Academy of Music, Poznan, Poland:

Rethinking Music Globalization: From Exoticism to Critical Participation

In this keynote speech, I will explore the phenomenon of globalization and its distinctive impact on music in the present era. The perspective I outline here will extend upon our discussions from the previous conference (2014), as well as arguments in the recent book Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology. Globalization – the increasingly rapid exchange of people, products and ideas across the world – arguably affects many aspects of music, and there is especially strong evidence of its impact via digital technologies, from mp3 files to YouTube and MOOCs. Such concepts as “glocalization” and “cultural omnivorousness” have arisen as ways of understanding the changing role of creative industries and social media at all stages of music production and consumption, as individual artists negotiate between local practices and cosmopolitan trends. I argue that humanity has recently exited a period of digital prehistory to enter a phase of data saturation caused by the normalization of mass surveillance. This fundamental shift causes conditions that may be called “glocalimbodied,” meaning that local and global forces converge to “brand” the identities of individual actors suspended within a social structure profoundly shaped by participatory media. Musicians anywhere, working within any genre, can relatively instantly (and affordably) access global musical sounds and knowledge, and share their own contributions worldwide via the Internet. Malleable musical identities and aesthetics of authenticity – situated on a continuum from strict tradition to pioneering innovation – produce both a blurring and reactionary institutionalization of local music genres and historical styles. Such conditions call for systematic consideration of how musicians, scholars and policy-makers may evaluate projects that contribute to a cosmopolitan idiom, advance ideological and commercial agendas, or foster appreciation of the need for revitalization and sustenance of cultural heritage.

Conference Program: