Responding: Review of Ethnomusicology Pedagogy at the 61st SEM Annual Meeting

By Xiaorong Yuan (Heidi), Kent State University

As ethnomusicologists, we spend our professional time in the classroom or preparing to teach. However, what we teach, how we teach, and why we teach ethnomusicology to different levels of audiences and students has become an issue that needs to be discussed. In 2016, at the annual SEM meeting in Washington, D.C., several panels and papers had insightful discussions about pedagogy that ethnomusicologists use and address when they are teaching. This report selects three panels related to ethnomusicological pedagogy: the roundtable panel “Music Pedagogy for the 21st Century”, “Global to Local Music Outreach”, and “World Music Pedagogy Workshop”, which highlight the diverse possibility of teaching ethnomusicology in a variety of environments and methodologies.

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Introducing: Responding

Hello dear readers, this is Liza. Today I’m introducing the first entry in a new series called Responding, a space where ethnomusicology graduate students react to papers or panels they attended at Society for Ethnomusicology annual conferences. I love the energy and excitement generated at SEM conferences, and I imagined this series as a way to continue the rich, generative conversations we have over a few short days throughout the rest of the year. Here is our first contribution, by Heather Strohschein.

I can’t believe six months have already passed since SEM 2016. I’ve been going to SEM conferences since . . . oh jeez . . . it’s been over ten years . . . (trying not to think about how old I am). I haven’t made it to every single conference since my very first in 2005, but every time I go, I’m reenergized by the plethora of ideas, the multitudinous approaches to research, and the multisyllabic words I need to look up at the end of the day.

This year, Liza suggested writing about a specific paper or papers that really stood out. This is a great way to keep the ideas and inspiration of SEM fresh in our minds as well as keeping a conversation going regarding these ideas. I saw and heard some fantastic papers this year, but the one that got me thinking the most was presented by Trevor Reed from Columbia University on the first day of the conference. His paper was titled “On the Generativity of Letting Culture Die.” No colon! I was immediately intrigued.

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