A Time to Write

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

It is definitely a time to write (at least for me). Editors and presses are waiting, so for the next several months I will mostly be offline, focused entirely on writing everyday so I can finally fulfill my obligations before moving to the next step in life.

I am thrilled to have accepted a permanent job as full Professor in Norway, and eagerly look forward to moving there to begin work in the summer of 2011.


My writings appear in the following publications:


Wind Bands and Cultural Identity in Japanese Schools: An Ethnography and Social History (forthcoming monograph, Springer press), Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education (forthcoming co-edited book, Ashgate press), Cultural Translation: Research on Japanese Literature in Northern Europe (2011 symposium proceedings), Oxford Handbook of Music Education (G. McPherson & G. Welch, Eds., in press), Multicultural Perspectives in Music Education, Vol. 1, Multicultural Perspectives in Music Education, Vol. 2, Sociology and Music Education, Making Music (minor contributions to bestselling textbook series, Silver Burdett), Music Education in the Asia Pacific Region, Orally Transmitted Music and Intercultural Education, De-Canonizing Music History, Music Education for Changing Times: Guiding Visions for Practice, Music of Japan Today, Alta Musica, Music Competition, Cooperation, and Community: An Ethnography of a Japanese School Band.


1. Journal of Music and Meaning (review essay)

2. International Journal of Community Music

3. Visions of Research in Music Education

4. Parlando (in Hungarian translation; English version online)

5. Research and Issues in Music Education (article and rejoinder)

6. Research in New Zealand Performing Arts (article and review)

7. International Journal of Education and the Arts (review 1 / review 2)

8. International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music

9. Asia-Pacific Journal of Arts Education

10. Journal of Research in Music Education

11. Finnish Journal of Music Education (2 articles)

12. Japanese Journal of Research in Music Education (brief conference summary, in Japanese translation)

13. Japanese Band Directors Association Journal (2 research articles in Japanese translation)

14. Journal of the Indian Musicological Society (reprinted in book)

15. Contributions to Music Education

16. Journal of Band Research

17. Yamanashi Journal of General Education

18. International Journal of Music Education

19. NBA Journal

In review:

20. Music Education Research International

21. Southern Journal of Music Education


Cultural Translation and Music in Japan

I eagerly look forward to participating as an invited speaker for the interdisciplinary symposium “Cultural Translations: Research on Japanese Literature in Northern Europe” on the 25th and 26th of February 2011, at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (国際日本文化研究センター), a division of the National Institutes for the Humanities, in Kyoto, Japan.

This symposium is organized by Dr. Nanyan Guo (郭南燕), a prolific writer and Professor of Japanese and Chinese literature, and extends further on a very successful related symposium offered by Professor Noriko Thunman at University of Gothenburg, Sweden in August of 2010.

Eventually, more details will be posted on the Nichibunken website, linked below:


Here is a link to my paper from this conference:
Cultural Translation: Research on Japanese Literature in Northern Europe (2011 symposium proceedings).

Another related link:


Replacing Market Fundamentalism

According to renowned American economist and Nobel prizewinner Joseph Stiglitz, recent nondemocratic actions by the American government in response to the global economic crisis clearly indicate that “Market fundamentalism is dead.” Nevertheless, such a demise is hardly worth mourning, and indeed this may be an appropriate time to more carefully consider what can be learned from the economic models of other nations that enjoy a much higher quality of life, superior education, and increasing prosperity (regardless of whether the conditions of America’s wealthiest 5% are included in such comparisons). Nowadays, with repeated rejections of any new taxation - often due to understandable voter frustration regarding government corruption - many state governments in the USA are becoming bankrupt and increasingly incapable of effectively supporting arts programs, public schools and higher education. Meanwhile, international-comparative tests continue to demonstrate that assessable student knowledge in the USA has plummeted to academic levels inferior to most industrialized nations, jeopardizing the intellect of future generations, all while unnecessary wars are projected to cost 3 trillion dollars as well as an incalculable price in terms of damaged international relations. Rampant market fundamentalism has ensured that financial services, insurance providers, and military contractors attain unprecedented profits from exploitation of the most ignorant and vulnerable people, while media corporations (like Fox Broadcasting) offer "news" formats that promote distracting myths attuned to the agenda of corporate sponsors and serve to perpetuate market fundamentalist ideology, causing widespread frustration only to be combined with misinformation regarding the true source of these problems. Moreover, those who dare expose the truth are branded "unpatriotic liberals" or even "terrorists".

Even Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve (and a clarinetist), was eventually forced to admit that free market ideology is fundamentally flawed. Still, this ideology continues to be promoted by poorly educated politicians and entertainers such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, who enjoy remarkable popularity in the United States.

These are very complicated times in the United States, and it will be especially interesting to see over time how the challenges of this ethos are reflected in the music of such a turbulent era. Will the Britney Spears model survive, or will there be more interest in musical and lyrical substance? What effects will recent economic shifts have on the production, marketing, and distribution of music recordings? What forms of music will survive in American public schools? As market fundamentalism dies, we must envision what can arise from its corporate ashes, how this will affect other nations in the world and America's role among them, and whether - despite the pervasive meddling of anonymous campaign financiers - a transparent and egalitarian democracy might manage to prevail over exploitative globalization and predatory free market capitalism. With the demise of market fundamentalism, the feeble foundations of utilitarian educational policies are increasingly exposed, which surely leads to wider recognition that new approaches are needed, engendering new possibilities for the musical future of the United States.


Historical Ethnomusicology

The Historical Ethnomusicology special interest group is launching a new website:


Historical ethnomusicology is a field of study concerned with the history of music in diverse sociocultural contexts around the world.


End of Institutionalized Prejudice in Military Bands

For decades, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and preceding policies have reportedly been a difficult challenge for many American musicians serving in military bands and studying music in military academies. While there has often been a gap between official policies and actual practices, these anti-gay policies have surely promoted bullying and discouraged some highly talented wind and percussion musicians from studying and teaching in military academies across a period of many years. Now military policies will be modified according to changing views regarding sexuality, social justice, and human rights.

Today the American government voted to repeal the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, one consequence being that military musicians will no longer be automatically discharged simply due to their sexual orientation.

The article linked below offers details on this story:



Musical Instrument Grants

The NAMM Foundation (National Association of Music Merchants) has recently announced its WannaPlay grants opportunity, which provides musical instruments for community and school ensembles in the USA that are in need of additional instruments.

In order to qualify for these grants, ensemble supporting organizations must meet the following criteria (quoted from the NAMM website):

  • “Public schools serving low-income students; percentage of free and reduced lunch data required
  • Community organizations servicing low-income students and students with special needs; community demographic information required
  • Schools and community programs that have made a commitment to hiring and retaining high-quality music teachers and providing standards-based, sequential learning in music”

An online grant application is available here: http://www.nammfoundation.org/grant-information/apply-grant-and-scholarship.


The Effects of Music

In just a few more days a music conference will be held in Bergen, Norway, entitled The Effects of Music. I very much look forward to participating and giving my presentation entitled "Education Reform and the Music Doctorate: Current Issues in Europe and North America" at this event.

According to the conference announcement, “The goal for the seminar is to stimulate interdisciplinary innovative thinking concerning questions that are important in several academic music areas but that are seldom debated on an interdisciplinary level. Many different approaches will be presented, e.g. theoretic, historical, educational, therapeutic as well as artistic point of views. Through exploring different topics in music, such as interpretation, reception, educational use etc. the relations between different parts of music will be articulated and discussed. The seminar will consist of academic and artistic presentations and debates. The presentations will be in Norwegian the first day and in English the second day.”

Further above is an image of Norse explorer Leif Erikson, who visited America around 500 years before Columbus “discovered” it. Since 1964, the USA has officially recognized October 9 as Leif Erikson Day, since that on that day in 1825 the first large group of Norwegian immigrants arrived in New York.



Damascus: possibly the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.

Below are images of (1) nearby, the ancient city of Ma'loula (where probably the world's oldest churches -- founded by St. Paul -- are located and Aramaic is still spoken), (2) the new Damascus Opera House, (3) the spice market of Old Damascus, (4) the magnificent Umayyad Mosque, a sacred site which enshrines Hussayn (grandson of Mohammed) and unique relics that even include "John the Baptist's head", and (5) a meal with Syrian Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Nahel Al Halabi and concert pianist Dr. Chaden Yafi (leading young classical musicians affiliated with the opera and conservatory).

I taught a workshop today for trumpeters at the conservatory, following a meeting with the Director of the opera house, and then had a marvelous meal and visited various sites in Old Damascus. The architecture, design, spices and calligraphy were all certainly memorable, but the ecstatic singing and tearful prayers at these sacred sites were especially impressive.


Abu Dhabi

I am enjoying Abu Dhabi today. The call to prayer, heard many times per day all throughout the city, has a very musical sound to it, although not usually acknowledged as a form of music. Yesterday I taught a seminar in Norway, advising graduate students on research plans for their theses. The mosques of Abu Dhabi are certainly a contrast to the elegant old wooden buildings of Bergen, but both cities have impressive contemporary architecture as well, and the latest architecture of nearby Dubai is also truly astonishing. I visited this ultra-modern city today with my sister Christina (below). Later this week I will travel to Syria, where I look forward to visiting the Opera House of Damascus. Here are some photos I took yesterday and today at the world's tallest building and the eighth largest mosque, both here in United Arab Emirates. We also managed to visit the Emirates Palace on the same evening the Queen of England arrived, so security was unusually tight.


Give Peace a Chance

At the 30th annual John Lennon tribute, the Playing for Change Foundation (PFCF) is now announcing its Power to the People campaign to raise awareness and funding for peace-building music education programs.

More information:



RIP Gorecki

Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (December 6, 1933 – November 12, 2010)


Composers Discuss Music Education

Here are links to some very interesting videos of contemporary American composers discussing music education along with performances of a few of their pieces. Joseph Schwantner explains what he owes to the teacher who taught him as a child, while Joan Tower describes the gap between composer and classical performer that has been formed by misguided educational practices and proposes some practical solutions to this widespread problem.

Joseph Schwantner’s musical education


Schwantner: Black Anemones


Joan Tower discusses issues in composition:


(mentions education at 1:19)

Joan Tower: Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman



Music Education and Global Responsibility

In a recent issue of the Finnish Journal of Music Education, Rauni Rasanen writes of how “Music with its words, melodies and rhythm has a very holistic effect on people. Still, if these methods can be used to build prejudices they are equally efficient when deconstructing them” (2010. p.22). Professor Rasanen reminds readers that in the contemporary world “international connections are not only natural, but also necessary” and that a reflective and compassionate awareness of “global responsibility” belongs in teacher education programs, including those in the field of music.

Historian Goldwin Smith is credited with first introducing the phrase “Above all nations is humanity,” which has since become a popular motto used in various ways by such institutions as Cornell University, University of Hawaii, University of Illinois, and University of Southern Mississippi. Few, it seems, would claim to be opposed to this idea. Nevertheless, music curricula rarely reflect a commitment to the spirit of this motto in terms of either careful representation of global heritage on the one hand, or proper restraint in terms of the promotion of nationalistic ideology on the other.

I am pleased to report that we have now obtained a contract to publish a book in 2012 entitled Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education, which will directly examine the phenomenon of national identity construction in music education from a global perspective, with particular attention to how patriotic music has been used in various nations in the past, and how it might most appropriately fit within a curriculum that seeks to represent contemporary values and concerns among multicultural nations. Contributors include several of the most widely published young scholars in the field of music education. While there are many purely musical rationales (e.g. development of compositional and performance ability, enhanced aural skills and general musical knowledge, etc.) for including an array of genres such as patriotic or non-western music in any curriculum, this book will discuss the implications of how the power of music is also frequently used for ideological purposes that may lend support to those who advocate either war or peace.

Click HERE for a related book announcement.

Below is the opening material for the book I have developed with Alexandra Kertz-Welzel:

Hebert, D. G. & Kertz-Welzel, A. (Eds.) (in press/forthcoming, 2012). Patriotism and Nationalism in Music Education. [Contributors: Simon Keller, Jane Southcott, Kari Veblen, Ambigay Yudkoff, Carlos Abril, CheeHoo Lum, Eugene Dairianathan, Amy Beegle, Wai-Chung Ho, Marja Heimonen, David G. Hebert, Alexandra Kertz-Welzel].

Patriotism and Nationalism
in Music Education

Edited by
David G. Hebert and
Alexandra Kertz-Welzel

Music has long served as an emblem of national identity in educational systems throughout the world. Patriotic songs are commonly considered healthy and essential ingredients of school curriculum, nurturing the respect, loyalty and “good citizenship” of students. But to what extent have music educators critically examined the potential benefits and costs of nationalism? Globalization in the contemporary world has revolutionized the nature of international relationships, such that patriotism may merit rethinking as an objective for music education. The fields of “peace studies” and “education for international understanding” may better reflect current values shared by the profession, values that often conflict with the nationalistic impulse. This is the first book to introduce an international dialogue on this important theme.
David G. Hebert and Alexandra Kertz-Welzel
Preface: On Patriotism and Education
Simon Keller
1 Patriotism and Music Education: An International Overview
David G. Hebert
2 Lesson Learned? In Search for Patriotism and Nationalism in the German Music Education Curriculum
Alexandra Kertz-Welzel
3 Nationalism and School Music in Australia
Jane Southcott
4 National Identity in the Taiwanese System of Music Education
Wai-Chung Ho
5 A National Anthem: Patriotic Symbol or Democratic Action?
Carlos R. Abril
6 Nationalism and Patriotism: The Experience of an Indian
Diaspora in South Africa
Ambigay Raidoo Yudkoff
7 Soundscapes of a Nation(alism): Perspectives from Singapore
Chee-Hoo Lum and Eugene Dairianathan
8 Conflicting Perspectives on Patriotism within Music Education in the United States During Wartime
Amy C. Beegle
9 "We Stand on Guard for Thee": National Identity in Canadian Music Education
Kari K. Veblen

10 Nationalism and Music Education: A Finnish Perspective
Marja Heimonen and David G. Hebert

11 Conclusions and Recommendations
David G. Hebert and Alexandra Kertz-Welzel


Music Conference in Norway

[Photo: Petr Šmerkl, Wikipedia.]

I look forward to another visit to Bergen, Norway in November for a conference entitled The Effects of Music.

Below are links to more information about this lovely country:

Norway Country Profile (BBC): http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/country_profiles/1023276.stm

Standard of Living, Norway: http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article828724.ece

Living in Norway: http://www.studyinnorway.no/sn/Living-in-Norway

Culture Net Norway: http://www.kulturnett.no/index.jsp?&lang=en

Statistics Norway: http://www.ssb.no/english/

Norway Public Sector: http://www.norway.no/

Norway Country Profile (CIA): https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/no.html

MusicNet West (graduate music studies consortium): http://www.musicwest.no/


USM Faculty Jazz Combo

It is very nice to be performing music again in the USA with some excellent jazz musicians. Today I played trumpet and sang with the University of Southern Mississippi Faculty Jazz Combo, led by outstanding saxophonist Larry Panella. We performed a set of several jazz standards at an outdoor barbecue for the Homecoming Week events at the university. The student jazz combo also performed, and sounded superb!


Terence Blanchard

Renowned jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard is performing at University of Southern Mississippi in just a few more days!

More information:




Music Psychotherapy Among Refugees

The doctoral defense of Sami Alanne will be held on October 23, 2010 at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finand. His dissertation, entitled "Music Psychotherapy with Refugee Survivors of Torture: Interpretations of Three Clinical Case Studies," documents his own music therapy interventions with three immigrant men living in Finland who originally came to Europe from nations in Central Asia, the Middle East, and West Africa. This study combines qualitative observations with data from psychological tests and even factor analysis of events recorded from therapeutic sessions. Alanne originally began his dissertation under emeritus Professor Kai Karma. I worked intensely with Alanne at the Sibelius Academy as his main supervisor across the 2009-2010 academic year, but left Finland for a job in the USA as Alanne was sending out the completed document to reviewers for critique. He will graduate with Sibelius Academy's Lauri Vakeva as his Chair and renowned Norwegian music therapy expert Evan Ruud as the "opponent" reader. I anticipate that Alanne's study will be of great interest to music therapists in multicultural nations who seek to more effectively serve patients from immigrant backgrounds, particularly those who have been traumatized by warfare and other dehumanizing conditions.

Education Reform and the Music Doctorate

I look forward to presenting a paper for an upcoming conference entitled The Effects of Music, which is hosted by the Musicnet West academic consortium, in Bergen, Norway (November 29-30). Prior to that, I will be visiting Abu Dhabi, and plans are underway for me to give a lecture in Damascus.

Below is the abstract for the presentation in Norway:

Education Reform and the Music Doctorate: Current Issues in Europe and North America

Arising from analysis of policy documents, and illustrated with anecdotes from supervision of doctoral dissertations in both Europe and the USA, this paper proposes a theoretical model for conceptualization of recent changes to the music doctorate. Developments affecting music education doctoral studies in USA have previously been chronicled in a series of publications by David J. Teachout and recent contributions by Patrick M. Jones and Bennett Reimer, as well as various publications associated with the Carnegie Foundation’s extensive project “Re-envisioning the PhD”. The evolving European situation is described in key reports by Ester Tomasi, Joost Vanmaele, and others associated with the Polifonia Third Cycle Working Group and the European Association of Conservatoires, which emerged in response to the EU’s Bologna Process. While these kinds of documents offer a holistic view of the rapidly changing terrain of doctoral (third cycle) education, a rich understanding may also be obtained from qualitative accounts of what occurs at the level of individual students and their mentors, which is where narrative description can provide a helpful supplement. It is hoped that this paper will open some timely issues for consideration, including such topics as online mentoring, research quality assurance, and “artistic research” methodologies, as Norwegian institutions consider various ways to envision the future of music education doctoral programs.


The Freedom Singers: Their History and Legacy for Music Education

Congratulations to Dr. Deanna Frith Weber, who has recently submitted the final version of her dissertation for a doctorate degree in music education from Boston University. Her dissertation is entitled The Freedom Singers: Their History and Legacy for Music Education. Based on interpretation of both original interviews and archival data, this unique study profiles Albany, Georgia’s influential Freedom Singers of the Civil Rights era, and proposes ways that African-American music from this important movement may be effectively used by contemporary educators.

Dr. Weber is an accomplished vocalist and Assistant Professor of Music at Albany State University in Georgia. It was a pleasure to serve on Dr. Weber’s doctoral advisory committee along with Dr. Patti Tolbert of Georgia College and her supervisory professor Dr. Richard Bunbury, of Boston University. Congratulations, Dr. Weber!

Here is the abstract of Dr. Weber's dissertation study:

The original Freedom Singers of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) were a group of four young African-Americans, formed in Georgia in 1962, who traveled throughout the United States serving as musical ambassadors for the southern civil rights movement. This is a study of their history, music, and influence. The late 1950s and 1960s was an era of tremendous social upheaval throughout the country; however, this study will focus on the political and musical events which took place in the Deep South, namely Albany, Georgia and the surrounding area. Its cultural landscape was significantly changed by the civil rights era, in which song played an integral part. These changes also had an effect on music education in K-12 classrooms, as school desegregation brought together African Americans and whites, who for the most part, had existed separately from one another, despite their close geographic proximity.

The story of the SNCC Freedom Singers unfolds through interviews with members of the original group, as well as other participants in the Albany Movement (a coalition of workers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and local citizens’ groups). Interviews were also conducted with people from the area whose lives were impacted by Movement activities
. Pertinent source material from archives, library collections, and museums supports an authentic historical narrative. The study also focuses on implications for music education, regarding a variety of issues such as racism, tolerance, and respect for various peoples and cultures. In order to consider the extent to which the civil rights repertory, including freedom songs, is currently in use in music classrooms, particularly in areas of the Deep South, a qualitative survey questionnaire was sent to music teachers in public elementary and middle/junior high schools in five targeted counties in Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina. Data was analyzed using frequency tables, and coded using a grounded theory approach. These findings illuminate possibilities for further research into such areas as cross-disciplinary learning, teacher training, and the continuing incorporation into the school music curriculum of the diverse array of cultural musics found in the United States.

Here is a link to Dr. Weber's website:



Challenges of Teaching Music Improvisation

Congratulations to Dr. Joseph Pignato, who has very recently completed his doctorate degree in music education at Boston University with a dissertation entitled An Analysis of Practical Challenges Posed by Teaching Improvisation: Case Studies in New York State Schools. This insightful study examines two cases of music teachers who have pioneered some innovative approaches to the use of improvisation in school music classrooms. Dr. Pignato is a highly-accomplished professional percussionist and composer who works as an Assistant Professor at State University of New York, Oneonta. It was a great pleasure to serve on his doctoral advisory committee along with Dr. Ron Kos and his supervisory professor Dr. Andrew Goodrich, both of Boston University. Congratulations, Dr. Pignato!

Here is the abstract of Dr. Pignato's dissertation study:


For much of the past century, music education researchers have espoused improvisation as an important tool for developing creativity, self-expression, and aesthetic understanding. Improvisation instruction in American school music programs, however, primarily occurs in two limited areas of activity: jazz performance ensembles and the teaching of select elementary music methods. Comprehensive integration of improvisation instruction in school music curricula beyond those domains or via other idioms rich in improvisation remains relatively uncommon. Researchers in music education have documented improvisation and its applications in elementary music methodologies. A large body of extant literature addresses jazz in school music programs, jazz pedagogical methods, and jazz ensemble student experience. Studies examining improvisation in American school music contexts in regard to other genres or teaching modalities, however, are sparse. The purpose of this study was to identify and describe selected New York State music educators, school music programs, and class settings that make improvisation a central part of their curricula in ways that transcend traditional jazz ensemble or elementary methodology offerings. The author employed a case study methodology to study the classrooms of two teachers over the course of one academic year. Data collection utilized ethnographic techniques including formal oral interviews, classroom observations, and informal conversations. Data analysis employed interpretive coding guided by a constant comparative approach.

Data analysis revealed challenges posed by teaching improvisation in the school music contexts studied including lack of curricular resources supporting improvisation instruction, conflicts with tradition and the expectations of colleagues, parents, students, and administrators, and standing apart from the prevailing practices of colleagues. Four themes emerged from participant narratives during the course of investigation: (a) significant epiphany experiences, (b) protracted personal transformations, (c) intentionality, and (d) concerted advocacy. Suggestions for music education include improving integration of exceptional teachers into prevailing practices in ways that foster a multiplicity of approaches to teaching music “of all periods, styles, forms, and cultures” (Choate, 1968, p. 139), minimizing extrinsic challenges to teaching improvisation in school music contexts, enhancing teacher intentionality, and encouraging advocacy efforts to foster acceptance, cooperation, and deeper understanding of the value of incorporating improvisation in school music programs.

Here is a link to Dr. Pignato's website:



Cultural Translation and Music

(photo of Gothenburg, Sweden, by Mikael Miettinen)

At the end of August 2010, I participate as an invited speaker for the international Cultural Translation seminar in Sweden at University of Gothenburg, organized by Prof. Noriko Thunman. Below is the abstract of my presentation for this event:

International Perspectives on the Cultural Translation of Musical Meanings

David G. Hebert

For several generations, musicologists have written about similarities between music and language, and reflected on ways that analytical approaches from the field of linguistics may be effectively applied to music. Linguists, however, have generally taken less of an interest in musicological paradigms. Unsurprisingly, a similar trend may be seen in the emerging field of cultural translation, for which it already appears that linguistic discussion may be dominant relative to paradigms associated with research on other forms of cultural discourse (such as music, theatre, dance, visual art, fashion, etc.). What of consequence to intercultural understanding might inevitably be missed by theorization that arises almost exclusively from examination of a single form of discourse as a basis for cultural analysis? Translators routinely grapple with complex meanings embedded in nonlinguistic forms of communication that defy conventional modes of translation, and consequently a holistic and trans-disciplinary theoretical orientation is seemingly desirable to many proponents of cultural translation. Moreover, like language, music certainly qualifies as one of the “fields in which ideological horizons of homogeneity have been conceptualized” (Buden & Nowotny, 2009, p. 206), and postcolonialist scholars such as Homi Bhabha (1994) and Paul Gilroy (1993) have acknowledged its critical role as an emblem of identity within the very sites of cultural hybridity that are of most interest to scholars of cultural translation. According to the positions advanced in many of its seminal documents (Bassnett, 2002; Gentzler, 2001; Sakai, 1997; Toury, 1995), it would appear that analysis of intercultural musical practices – and the ways in which they are explained – merits a place in the field cultural translation. Specifically, systems of music transmission and pedagogy seem to represent especially fertile areas for research on educational issues in cultural translation (Mehl, 2009). Through reflection on experiences with various cross-cultural research projects in music (Hebert, 2010, 2009a, 2009b, 2008a, 2008b; Hebert & Karlsen, 2010; Heimonen & Hebert, 2010), this paper explores various ways that analyses of musical meanings might potentially contribute to the development of robust theories to advance the field of cultural translation.


Bassnett, S. (1980) 2002. Translation studies. London: Routledge.

Bhabha, H. K. (1994). The location of culture. Routledge.

Buden, B. & Nowotny, S. (2009). Cultural translation: An introduction to the problem. Translation Studies, 2(2), 196-208.

Gentzler, E. (1993) 2001. Contemporary translation theories. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Gilroy, P. (1993). The Black Atlantic: Modernity and double consciousness. London: Verso.

Hebert, D. G. (2010, August). Ethnicity and music education: Sociological dimensions. In R. Wright (Ed.), Sociology and Music Education. Aldershot: Ashgate Press.

Hebert, D. G. (2009a). Rethinking the historiography of hybrid genres in music education. In V. Kurkela & L. Vakeva (Eds.), De-Canonizing Music History (pp.163-184). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.

Hebert, D. G. (2009b). Musicianship, musical identity and meaning as embodied practice. In T. Regelski & J. T. Gates (Eds.), Music Education for Changing Times: Guiding Visions for Practice (pp.39-55). Dordrecht and New York: Springer Press.

Hebert, D. G. (2008a). Alchemy of brass: Wind music and spirituality in Japan. In E. M. Richards & K. Tanosaki (Eds.), Music of Japan Today (pp. 236-244). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.

Hebert, D. G. (2008b). Music transculturation and identity in a Maori brass band tradition. In R. Camus & B. Habla, (Eds.), Alta Musica, 26 (pp. 173-200). Tutzing: Schneider.

Hebert, D. G. & Karlsen, S. (2010, August). Editorial introduction: Multiculturalism and music education. Finnish Journal of Music Education, 13.

Heimonen, M. & Hebert, D. G. (2010). Pluralism and minority rights in music education: Implications of the legal and social philosophical dimensions. Visions of Research in Music Education, 15.

Mehl, M. (2009). Cultural translation in two directions: The Suzuki Method in Japan and Germany. Research and Issues in Music Education, 7.

Sakai, N. (1997). Translation and subjectivity: On “Japan” and cultural nationalism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Toury, G. (1995). Descriptive translation studies and beyond. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.


Here is a link to my paper from a 2011 conference that extended on the above 2010 conference:
Cultural Translation: Research on Japanese Literature in Northern Europe (2011 symposium proceedings).

Another related link:



ISME 2010 in Beijing

The 2010 world conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) will be held in Beijing in a few weeks. I am already on my way there - going early to Japan and China - and making final preparations for some conference presentations. Below are the abstracts for two of my presentations, the second of which is an international symposium I will be chairing. I have been asked to participate in two more presentations as well, but it is not yet clear how some scheduling conflicts will be resolved. It will be exciting to learn of new developments in the field from across the world, particularly China which is experiencing so much growth in recent years.

Paper Presentation: On the Musical Instrument Industry and Music Education in Japan

Much has been written in recent decades about the need for music education historians to expand their scope of inquiry to include consideration of the sociocultural, economic and political contexts of music teaching and learning. In many nations, the music industry has largely shaped the emphases of both school and community-based music education, yet its influence has only rarely been considered in historical accounts. Taking a social historical approach, this paper examines the rise of the musical instrument industry in Japan during the early twentieth century, as well as its ongoing relationship to music education that extends to the present day. Japanese music companies with a global impact will be discussed, including Yamaha, Kawai, Korg and Roland. Positions espoused by notable Japanese music industry leaders regarding music education and cultural policy will also be considered in relation to music education practices in and outside of Japan. The paper will conclude with some suggestions for how relationships between music industry and music education practices can be meaningfully examined through coordinated and innovative approaches to historiography.

Symposium: International Perspectives on the Teaching of Keyboard Improvisation

Keyboards are ubiquitous in music education, as the most popular instrument used in music teaching worldwide. Many different music genres feature improvisation, yet techniques for effective teaching of basic keyboard improvisation are often little understood by music teachers and only rarely bolstered by research findings. This international symposium addresses this challenge by offering demonstrations from Germany, Finland, and the United States that effectively integrate research and practice in the field of keyboard improvisation. Brief description of the current state of theory and research findings related to keyboard improvisation pedagogy will be followed by discussion of common challenges faced by keyboard teachers who seek to integrate improvisational activities into their instruction. The presenters will offer practical solutions and effective approaches to meeting the instructional needs of beginning keyboard improvisers.