world music ensembles r us

Ted Solis’ (ed.) wonderful work Performing Ethnomusicology is well-known among ethnomusicology students. If you haven’t read it, go read it right now! We won’t tell any of your profs. The work addresses numerous issues involved with teaching world music ensembles at academic institutions. While the main focus was on teaching–and therefore, from the teachers’ perspectives–a few authors included the voices of their students. Playing the music that we study has become a given in our field, but rarely do we talk about what this music means to us, how we benefit from the experience, particularly in the academic setting. The expectation is that we will play and sing and dance while in the field and that this experience will make our ethnographies that much richer. But it is also interesting to consider what happens before we leave for the field, while we play in the ensembles often taught by the very teachers who contributed to Performing Ethnomusicology.

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