Performing Ethnomusicology: Teaching and Representation in World Music Ensembles

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Berkeley and Los Angeles, University. Bib Hit Count. Berkeley, CA: University of California. We hope this volume truly speaks beyond borders and. Berkeley: University of. California Press, [MLP47 ]. Musical Encounters of the Ensemble Kind. Staging Ghana. Where's 'one'?

G Averill. Performing ethnomusicology: Teaching and representation in world music ,. The music of the other New challenges for ethnomusicology in a global age. Performing ethnomusicology: Teaching and representation in world music. Includes literature and teaching resources on the music of children in the UK. And in all example, the subjective element—at least in the humanities—is as important as the objective" ibid.

It could be argued that during the ensuing three decades this corollary has become a second and independent tenet of the "credo," evidenced by the significant number of non-ethnomusicology students who populate study groups and, remarkably, by the presence of world music ensembles in institutions without ethnomusicology programs.

A notable model is the World Music Center at West Virginia University Morgantown , an institution that supports Caribbean, African, and Asian music performance ensembles but has no resident ethnomusicology faculty to provide broader contextualization or scholarly reflexivity about these genres. Neither world music nor ethnomusicology is featured in the university's curriculum. The center's mission statement claims, "The philosophy behind the World Music Center is to help students gain a better understanding of people and traditions that are different from our own Western culture" www.

Barbara B. Smith certainly recognized the intrinsic worth of music as performance when she began the University of Hawai'i ethnomusicology program in the s. Equally importantly, she realized music's potential to validate cultural identity. At least a decade before proponents of ethnic studies emerged to press for minority and alternative voices in the academy, she was concerned about relevance for a multicultural Asia-Pacific student population: I wondered if the musics being taught in the schools.

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I concluded that in Hawaii, it was important that the music education program. Smith She acted upon that concern. Rather than seeking performance teachers from abroad, she drew them from the multicultural Asia-Pacific communities of Hawai'i, a decision she considered an "important step in integrating the community-at-large into the ethnomusicology program" ibid. The study groups not only brought music of the Other to the academy; they also served as a mainstream validation for these musics, an important statement for ethnic minorities in the throes of assimilation to American society.

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Barbara Smith organized study groups for both musical and social reasons, a pedagogical stance that parallels the major interests of our discipline. Thus a forty-year trajectory reveals development from a single academic rationale to multiple ones responding to concerns of multiculturalism, alternative modes of knowledge acquisition, cultural and ethnic advocacy, aesthetic and artistic pluralism, and community outreach, to name a few. In my view, the multiplicity constitutes a synchronic continuum between two contrasting polarities concerning the academic value of the study group, 1 as adjunct to scholarly inquiry, and 2 as a self-contained, independent, aesthetic and expressive activity.

Three Social Issues in Current Academe The multiplicity of rationales certainly reflects a change in the American social environment since the s, with an expanded civil rights movement, the social issues raised by the Vietnam war, the specter of ethnic cleansing, and global electronic linkages. The present teaching environment itself is informed by at least three major developments. The first is the trope of the pluralistic, multicultural America. The second is the concern for academic relevance, that is, how the study group supports notions of academic goals and priorities.

The third is a higher level of public essentialist rhetoric, part of a current mood of political correctness that carries serious implications for our field.

Performing Ethnomusicology Teaching And Representation In World Music Ensembles

All three developments comprise subtexts for this discussion. Therefore, I give each some consideration here. Pluralism is both a reality and an aspiration. Demographic studies and census data attest to its statistical significance. The vision of the American multicultural heterotopia has been a theme in education since the s, and it is a major part of educational debate today Nussbaum Given America's history of racism, the vision has not yet been fully achieved as social reality.