Friday, 9 June 2017
Panel: What About the Facts? Old and New Approaches to Content Acquisition in the Music History Classroom
Robin Wallace, Matt Baumer, Molly Breckling, Louis Epstein, Rebecca Marchand
While instructors have long placed differing amounts of emphasis on the acquisition of factual knowledge, the relevance of this issue within our field finds new context in an era in which facts multiply exponentially and students rely more and more on electronic memory. Is it time to give up on memorization, or double down on it?
Drawing on experiences taking courses taught from the perspectives of both “the Old Musicology” and “the New Musicology,” the first presenter argues that firmly clinging to either approach robs students of a thorough understanding of how musical styles come into being and how they develop. She introduces the panel by discussing how she has worked to strike a balance, blending factual knowledge with critical approaches, to create an environment that optimizes student learning and appreciation of music history.
The second presenter introduces“The Music History Game,” an online study aid that helps students acquire facts in the service of applying, critiquing, and synthesizing. Informed by research showing that formative, low-stakes testing supports acquisition and retention of knowledge (Roediger and Nestojko 2015), the game motivates students to practice critical listening the same way they practice their instruments: through repetition, adaptive challenge, and self-directed goal-setting. Through gameplay, students generate data that fuels scholarship of teaching and learning and provides useful insights for musicologists seeking new approaches to teaching facts.
The third presenter discusses having had the opportunity to observe 24 music history survey classes and interview each of the 17 professors. While there were several effective approaches to teaching the “facts,” many professors seemed to accept that students would not memorize everything, yet proceeded as if this were the goal. To resolve this contradiction we might identify a more limited number of facts and do more to help students achieve long-term retention. Alternatively, a small number of professors have abandoned a fact-heavy presentation in favor of skills-based learning, an approach that many endorse but few carry out.
The fourth presenter argues that many students may seem to focus only on that which they “need to know” for assessment. Many instructors struggle with the idea of “teaching to the test,” an idea most commonly connected to memorization of facts of varying types: biography, dates, genre, or terminology. Giving students agency to define and/or re-define the narrative itself can help students to take a more active interest in “facts” rather than viewing them as exercises in rote memorization. This presentation will highlight and workshop several strategies and concrete activities that can help re-frame facts as entry points for critical thinking, such as: first day composer dossiers, freewriting, and a “create your own textbook” assignment.
The chair and responder has long placed emphasis on skills acquisition over memorization of facts, but has nevertheless been dismayed by students’ increasing difficulty in discerning which facts are important. The concluding remarks will suggest how we should view this issue in the context of a cultural climate in which factual literacy has become devalued and “alternative facts” sow confusion and disinformation.
Paper Session: Empathy in the Music History Classroom and Beyond
John Spilker, “Integrating Well-Being and Resilience Throughout the Undergraduate Musicology Curriculum”
Including Just Vibrations by William Cheng, The Slow Professor by Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeberger, and multiple books by Parker Palmer, recent publications advocate for increased care of self and others within musicology and higher education at large. Inspired by this scholarship and other national higher-education pedagogy discussions highlighting the connection between wellbeing and enhanced intellectual growth, I have integrated wellbeing scholarship throughout four semesters of required musicology coursework for music majors. My pedagogy teaches resilience, discipline, and responsible risk taking in an open, humane learning community. Brené Brown’s Gifts of Imperfection encourages sophomores to cultivate courage, compassion, and connection through interpersonal interactions. By focusing on their ability to shape the world around them, students develop self-acceptance and shed destructive habits. This book provides a framework for a semester-long fieldwork project, which requires students to embrace agency and step outside their comfort zone through participant-observation research. First-semester juniors learn strategies to be fully engaged through Brown’s Daring Greatly. The author addresses embracing vulnerability and living with determination in order to cultivate humane leadership acumen for education, work, and relationships. Alongside their pursuit of writing and research skills, Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak invites second-semester juniors to create a life path that honors their sense of self while also recognizing strengths and limitations. Seniors use Brown’s Rising Strong to addresses perceptions of so-called failures. As they work on research that transitions them into their career, students practice acknowledging and working through the small failures that lead to growth and new opportunities.
Trudi Wright, “Cura Personalis: Caring for Ourselves?”
Cura personalis, although most typically associated with Jesuit Higher Education, is a philosophy that pertains to all those concerned about “caring for the whole person.” Cura can inform music pedagogues, in three specific ways, about how to “be” with and for our students and colleagues. First, it requires professors to attend to the intellectual, spiritual, and moral needs of their students, which is especially important when guiding the next generation of civic-minded and socially aware musicians. It also calls on faculty to “meet students where they are,” academically and personally, which manifests in ever-changing and ever-improving classroom exchanges. As these definitions suggest, Cura personalis puts students’ needs in the forefront, which is why the term’s third meaning is so important. In order for faculty to demonstrate cura personalis toward others, they too must be cared for. If professors are to remain effective in their increasingly demanding roles, university culture must insist that educators “take time away from work for recreation and rest.” Although many of us are well-trained in caring for the needs of our students, are we modeling self- and colleague-care to those we teach? Can this care extend beyond the walls of our own institutions and into the entire discipline of musicology? These questions will guide the content of my paper and open up a dialogue so participants may consider the importance of modeling self-care for others.
Colleen Renihan, “Empathy in Opera”
There has never been a more important time for empathy, especially in the context of higher education. A collection of nearly 100 studies on empathy conducted on college students from 1972-2009 indicates a decline in empathy of a staggering 40% over that period (Dolby 2013). Curiously, most of the literature on the pedagogical applications of empathy is focused on primary and secondary school contexts, and very few sources address the unique potential of the music classroom to engage with this issue. Yet it seems both plausible and necessary to position the music classroom as a setting that is ripe for the fostering of empathy.
Drawing on some of the recent literature on empathy in the theatre (see Cook 2011; Cummings 2016; Inzlicht et al 2012; and Shaughnessy 2013), as well as recent literature on music and empathy (see Clarke 2015; DeNora 2013; Grape et al 2002; and others), I will share some of the successes and failures of my attempt to explore several facets of empathy in the context of an undergraduate opera course. In many ways, opera offers students the perfect opportunity to analyze and understand some of the ways music and narrative elicit empathy, and to consider a given scenario from multiple perspectives (those of composer, librettist, characters, singers, and audience members—both historical and contemporary, etc.). Because of its multivalency, opera uniquely offers space for productive discussions concerning empathy and embodiment, empathy’s multi-sensory aspects, its sociological dimensions, and many other topics.
Paper Session: Diversity in the Music History Classroom
Meredith Schweig, “It All Sounds Like Chinese Music to Me: Engaging International Students from China in the Music Classroom”
According to statistics provided by the Institute of International Education, 328,547 students from China enrolled at institutions of higher learning in the United States during the 2015-2016 academic year, comprising 31.5% of international students in the U.S. A variety of social and economic factors have fueled this phenomenon, including the expansion of the middle class in China, and a stated desire among Chinese students to both circumvent their country’s fiercely competitive college admissions process and broaden their intellectual horizons through exposure to American-style liberal arts curricula. In this presentation, I will invoke my perspective as an American ethnomusicologist whose scholarship focuses on the Sinophone world to explore some of the challenges and opportunities inherent to engaging international students from China in the music classroom. Drawing on my experiences teaching at three institutions with substantial overseas Chinese student populations, I will first undertake a general review of how prevailing pedagogical philosophies in China shape students’ approaches to learning, and then examine more specifically how fractious debates surrounding the cultural and political identities of Taiwan, Tibet, and Hong Kong complicate even the most basic discussions of musical life in these places. I will argue for the utility of striking what Halx and Reybold describe as a “delicate balance of force and support” (2005) in cultivating critical thinking skills in music students from China, with the goal of creating a pedagogical environment that simultaneously addresses the learning needs of this growing student population and their classmates from the U.S. and other locations abroad.
Matteo Magarotto, “‘Thoroughly Masculine in Effect’: Confronting Western Music’s Biases”
The promotion of inclusion in increasingly diverse American universities is especially pressing under the new national leadership, whose rhetoric is exclusivist and stigmatizing. In this climate, faculty have the responsibility to safeguard the egalitarian values now threatened, and music history pedagogy can assist in the process.
Drawing from SoTL and psychological literature (Guo and Jamal 2007, Stewart and Payne 2008, Adams and Bell 2016), this presentation describes a two-stage activity I use in the undergraduate classroom to develop students’ awareness of “implicit biases”—the subliminal and simplistic beliefs that affect our perception of individuals and groups different from us (Levy et al. 1998, Saul 2011). Students initially confront musical works and writings by composers and critics that reveal biases regarding gender, identity, and race: topics include the reception of Beach’s Gaelic Symphony as “thoroughly masculine,” the representation of Otherness in Mozart’s Entführung and Bizet’s Carmen, the status of women in music (Fanny Mendelssohn), and blackface minstrelsy. Students in an inner circle discuss the materials, while others observe and comment on the debate (McKeachie and Svinicki 2014). This structured reflection on Western music’s biases prepares students for the second stage, in which they unearth, analyze, and challenge their own biases. I use video clips of the activities to show how these difficult discussions stimulate mindfulness of biases and students’ intention to dismantle them, fostering inclusive attitudes while also producing significant learning in music history. Attendees will receive a detailed handout listing sources and procedures for each activity.
Panel: Teaching the Music History Survey: Writing, Research, and New Approaches
C. Matthew Balensuela, Sarah Haefeli, Misti Shaw, Andrew Dell’Antonio, Daniel Barolsky
This panel address the recent debates about teaching the music history survey from two different approaches. Some topics in the literature of music history pedagogy (such as writing and researching) have been frequently addressed and would benefit from review and assessment. Conversely, other topics (such as diversity studies and the history of music performance) have been relatively unexplored and would benefit from more elaboration. The panel features four contributors to the forthcoming Norton Guide to Teaching Music History, and is divided into two halves.
The first pair of presentations focus on writing and research. “A Survey of Writing Pedagogies in the Music History Classroom,” reviews the state of scholarship on the art and practice of writing in the music history curriculum; it discusses approaches to the traditional research paper, alternative assignments (concert reviews, criticism, program notes, oral histories, etc.); the use of alternative methods (like group work); and the use of alternative writing platforms (such as blogs). Discussion can question the relative value of different approaches and the role of assessment in the writing curriculum. The second presentation, “Information Literacy in Music: Opportunities for Integration in Music,” begins with a discussion of the Association of College and Research Libraries’s 2016 Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. This discussion contextualizes the new framework’s six threshold concepts within the discipline of music and gives examples of how music history professors and their librarians may integrate these concepts within classroom content and assignments.
The second pair of discussion topics address specific issues in teaching music history. “Cripping the Music History Classroom,” begins with the observation that disability studies have becomes an increasingly relevant concern in musicology, therefore, it makes sense to find ways to include its lines of inquiry into the core music history curriculum. The recent AMS-SMT Disability Study Group session on “Cripping the Curriculum” in Vancouver (2016) brought several perspectives to the fore on how to begin to accomplish this, not only through the integration of disabled bodies into the stories we tell about musicking in culture, but also taking into account mind-body diversity of individuals in the classroom as we craft our pedagogy. This presentation will condense some conceptual and pragmatic considerations that have been emerging in disability studies and disability advocacy and suggest pathways for their application in the music history survey and related curricular contexts. The session concludes with “Performers and Performances as music history: Moving away from the Margins.” Whether presented on recordings or by musicians playing “live” in the classroom, performances and performers still remain on the margins of music history and music history pedagogy. Performances are rarely taught as more than a demonstration of musical compositions and their structures, as mere conduits between composers and audiences. This presentation not only suggests ways to put performers and performances front and center but explores the modes of inquiry we can both put to these performances and consider the questions these performances raise in our study of music history.
Saturday, 10 June 2017
Paper Session: Advocacy for Adjunct Instructors of Music History
Andrew Granade, “Adjuncts, Advocacy, and Pedagogy”
In 2012, a U.S. Department of Education survey discovered there were around 762,000 full-time professors at degree granting institutions nationwide and the same number of adjunct educators. Colleges, recognizing this trend, have begun offering faculty development programs to contingent faculty, but most of those programs focus on policies and technology training instead of pedagogical instruction. Even among those programs that do stress teaching and learning, recent literature suggests that pedagogical training for part-time faculty often does not translate into those faculty using new strategies because of time constraints and a feeling that they are not part of the department in which they teach. This presentation begins by surveying the literature on pedagogical training for adjunct instructors, identifying the broad training needs and shortcomings of current trends in adjunct hiring. Then, using the author’s experience as chair of a department as a lens, the presentation proposes flexible solutions for professional development programs as well as the creation of communities of practice (such as mentor relationships, online seminars, and reflective teaching practices) to encourage inquiry-based pedagogical methods. Finally, it decodes the administrative jargon used around adjunct faculty to equip contingent and tenure-track faculty alike with the tools needed to advocate for these kinds of initiatives in their own colleges and universities.
Roundtable: Adjunct Pedagogy Issues: A Broad Examination
Samantha Bassler, “Adjuncts and Accessibility: A Perspective from Music and Disability Studies”
Many music classes are already by default less-accessible to students with auditory disabilities, but pose unique challenges of accessibility for many other disabilities. Many adjuncts do not have the experience, knowledge, or support to fully realize accessibility for the wide-range of student disabilities. Moreover, contingent faculty members with disabilities may not have accommodations available for them, struggling to support their students, while not receiving support themselves. This paper offers suggestions for accommodating disabled contingent faculty and students.
Paula Bishop, “What’s in Your Backpack? A Guide to Lightening the Load as an Adjunct”
This talk focuses on three areas: the purely physical (primarily using technology to your advantage), pedagogical (creating assignments, grading efficiently and appropriately), and personal/emotional (using your “why do I do this” to make decisions). All of these are tailored towards music history instructors and those who teach both majors and non-majors.
Alex Ludwig, “The Benefits of Grading Online: A Workflow for Adjuncts”
This talk offers a workflow designed to help adjunct professors better manage the assignment of a paper from different sections, classes, or schools. Using Google’s free suite of applications, an adjunct may simplify the submission and assessment process, thereby focusing more time and energy on the quality of the assessment itself.
Jonathan Waxman, “The Challenges of Adjunct Teaching as the Sole Music Historian in a Department”
With cutbacks in higher education and fewer tenure track lines surviving, often an adjunct professor is the sole music historian in a department with many music majors. This talk will discuss the challenges that this places on the panelist as an adjunct professor having to balance making decisions within the scope of the course.
Reba Wissner, “One Course, Three Ways: Teaching Music History as an Adjunct in Multiple Institutions”
This panelist has taught at six very different colleges: R1, R2, R3, School of Music, Conservatory, and For-Profit. One thing, however, has stayed the same: the courses taught. This talk offers suggestions for teaching music history courses at different institutions. It will focus on challenges to teaching music history that are compounded not only by a lack of institutional support, but also teaching the same course during the same semester in multiple ways to different types of student bodies.”
Paper Session: New Approaches in the Music History Classroom
Elina Hamilton, “Localizing a Euro-Centric Music Canon: Breathing Life Back into the Dusty Archives of our Institutions”
What if a standard Western Music History course began locally? For the Spring 2017 semester, my experimental graduate seminar at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee was designed to examined the foundation of conservatories, first of European conservatories then institutions in the US and Asia, asking students to explore the role of institutions at a crucial time in their own: the 150th anniversary since its foundation by Julius Eichberg.
Even with the passion that students bring to their own music making, it is difficult to relate to a history and culture different from their own. Many have never extensively studied European languages, history, or culture let alone travelled to Europe. Yet, the desire to connect is inherently there. My class couples a historical overview and an hands-on examination of items found in the Boston Conservatory archives, bringing relevancy to the process of studying and writing history. It is the localization of this class which allows students to discover that they are contributing to a continuous textbook narrative. Although designed specifically for the anniversary of the Boston Conservatory, this class structure could serve as a model for other historical seminars because institutional histories are not merely a gathering of facts: they tell a story highly relevant to where we are today. This paper will summarize the concepts and execution of my experimental course and suggests that a method which incorporates local institutional history may help students make a stronger connection with the people they read about in their history books.
Daniel Barolsky, Sarah Day-O’Connell, Louis Epstein, Sara Haefeli, “Open Access Musicology”
In recent years, a chasm has emerged between music curricula and the rapidly changing and diversifying state of musical scholarship. As a matter of economy, a majority of pedagogical texts are designed to satisfy curricular needs at large schools of music. They adopt a “one size fits all” approach to music history and reinforce the conceptual rift between musicology and ethnomusicology. Many of these texts often fail to account for changing intellectual and pedagogical trends. In particular, they limit flexibility and sometimes only minimally promote critical thinking, open up interdisciplinary considerations, or engage in ideological tensions and historiographic/methodological issues. By contrast, musicological scholarship actively embraces new critical inquiry, but all too often is written at a level inaccessible to undergraduates.
In response to the challenges posed by “one size fits all” pedagogy, this presentation introduces and seeks feedback on Open Access Musicology (OAM), an emerging online resource for undergraduate teaching. Addressing a range of histories, cultures, locations, methods, voices, and sounds, OAM embraces changes and tensions in and between the fields that constitute music studies. The goals of OAM are a) to create a collection of peer (and student) reviewed essays that are freely available and written specifically for undergraduates, thus marrying pedagogical needs with up-to-date scholarship; b) to provide faculty and students with alternatives to more conservative, fixed, and/or expensive textbooks; and c) to offer a forum for faculty whose work addresses recent trends in the field to present their work to a broad academic audience.
Paper Session: “We’re All In This Thing Together”: Music Pedagogy from Kindergarten through Graduate School
Stephanie Espie, “Authenticity in K-12 World Music”
Although historically separated, the fields of music education and ethnomusicology have begun to find middle ground as K-12 music educators introduce world musics into their curriculums. These two fields have had little need to interact based on previous research, but a trend in multicultural education has led educators to ethnomusicologists to help with creating informed and accurate lessons for their students. However, discrepancies in ethnomusicology have led to a problematized curriculum for K-12 schools. This “lightening presentation” will address the complex issue of authenticity in the classroom while discussing challenges to incorporating an “authentic” ethnomusicological approach to K-12 world music. This presentation will also include a handout featuring an ethnomusicological critique of popular K-12 World Music resources.
Dan Blim, “Student Engagement Through Research Literacy in Music Appreciation”
The general classical music appreciation course is a fixture in many college music programs. Two common challenges in teaching this course are navigating a disparate mix of previous knowledge among students, and engaging students who are taking it for the (often assumed easy) credit rather than an interest in the subject. I have found structuring the course around student-centered inquiry, rather than composer-centered content, improves student engagement, enriches classroom discussion, and teaches research literacy.
This paper will detail how my assignments promote student-centered inquiry around three overarching course questions. First, how does music work? After learning musical concepts (form, melodic contour, timbre, etc.), I use Thomas Turino’s concept of “semantic snowballing” as students investigate how a given classical piece has been used in media. Second, why do people write classical music? In this more traditional, chronological portion of the class, students use online and print sources to find and evaluate primary source documents, such as comparing obituaries or reviews in African-American and mainstream newspapers. Third, who is classical music for? Historical readings about audience behavior or gender discrimination for musicians can be applied by investigating what has changed in the present. Finally, I discuss the advantages and challenges of a contract grading system for this course structure.
Christopher Wells, “Three Papers/One Topic: A Scaffolded Approach to Really, Really Awesome Music History Papers”
“What should I write about?!” Answering this question always expands or contracts to fill the amount of time you have for it. In this lightning talk, I present a structure for writing assignments I’ve used in seminars for a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate students to help them find interesting topics early in the semester and produce high quality final papers that stem from their own original research.
This structure uses three shorter papers, all on the same topic, as scaffolded steps towards a larger project such that students progressively build the material they’ll need for a substantial final research paper. The short papers emphasize different types of musicological inquiry—primary source research, close listening, and secondary literature review—each of which presents different critical thinking and writing challenges. My talk will outline this method’s benefits and challenges as I share some exciting projects my students have produced.
Sarah Day-O’Connell, “‘I Say Symphony Rather Than Cacophony’: In the Music History Classroom When Your Students Would Rather Be Protesting, Organizing, and Advocating”
After the 2016 presidential election, many of my upper-level undergraduate musicology students questioned their choice of major, fearing that they were ill-equipped to face the challenges that the election’s aftermath had brought to light. In this flash talk I describe how I configured my Spring 2017 course on the history of the orchestra with this concern in mind – that is, with the explicit goal of reminding, equipping, and encouraging students to tackle political challenges using the unique skill sets they learned through musicological study. While students did gain an overall, chronological sense of the history of the orchestra and its repertory, they also considered the orchestra as an institution – one that (like all institutions) expresses ideologies, organizes people’s thinking, and conveys their values. This approach enabled us to consider questions of power, celebrity, propaganda, labor, education, and national identity, each of which had corollaries in current events. I will share sample assignments.
Kathryn Fenton, “Challenges and Rewards in Applying Problem-Based Learning Pedagogy to the Graduate History Seminar”
Graduate music history seminars, for the most part, serve as training grounds for the independent research that will lead to a student’s thesis and offer deeper knowledge of a specific historical topic. They are essentially a form of inquiry-based learning. Yet, the traditional seminar does not fully mimic the research situations students will encounter outside of the history classroom. In the traditional seminar, professors control most of activities in the course: they determine the content, identify the weekly presentation topics, assign readings and listenings, set the goals and standards, and assess the students. Outside the context of a seminar, students must identify these things themselves. In contrast to the traditional seminar approach, problem-based learning (PBL) offers a learner-centered approach that more closely simulates the real-life research situations students will encounter in their professional lives. It offers self-directed learning, research, presentation, analysis, critical thinking, group work, self-assessment, and peer review. This paper advocates for the application of PBL to the graduate music history seminar. Drawing on the author’s experiences teaching graduate music history and literature seminars using PBL over the past four years, it discusses the potential PBL has for graduate education above and beyond traditional approaches. First, it lays out some of the theories of PBL pedagogies, and compares the goals and approaches of PBL to those of the traditional graduate music history seminar. Then, it offers three specific case studies that illustrate the challenges and rewards encountered in the application of PBL to the music history seminar.
Paper Session: Pedagogy Tools in the Classroom
Eunmi Shim, “Use of Technology in the Flipped Music Classroom”
The flipped (or inverted) classroom model has been successfully used in various disciplines, and I have applied it to music history and appreciation courses by creating videos to serve as micro-lectures for students to watch before coming to class. Each video, about 15 minutes long, demonstrates and explains important aspects of a selected piano composition (by Mozart and Beethoven) by utilizing audio commentary, piano demonstration, and annotations on music scores.
Technology can play a crucial role in sustaining the interest of students and to increase the relevance of the learning process and the course material by making the content readily accessible. As a result, it can promote a deeper understanding of music.
The benefits of flipping the classroom by using the videos have been manifold. First, students came to class prepared, ready to ask questions and delve into more details. Second, it encouraged them to become more actively engaged in the learning process than the traditional lecture format. Third, it allowed them to maintain their own pace, which facilitated the learning process and accommodated students with diverse backgrounds and learning styles. Fourth, it enabled me to use my expertise more effectively, for example, by being able to simultaneously provide audio and visual commentary (on scores).
During the presentation, I will discuss the process of making the videos, nature of the assignments, and students’ responses to demonstrate how this new instructional approach has had a positive impact on student learning. (Links to the videos can be provided upon request).
K. Dawn Grapes, “Performance in the Early Music Classroom”
While the early music movement of the 1970s and 1980s elevated the status of pre-1750 music within the art music world, in some ways it solidified perceptions of music far removed from that of the modern concert hall. Few in visual arts disciplines would question the need for study of the renaissance masters, but students (and sometimes faculty members) in university music programs often need to be convinced that early music is relevant to them. Participatory experience is an exciting way to teach music history, and lends itself to the type of student engagement popularly discussed in pedagogical circles. For courses designed for music majors, the incorporation of performance assignments (either long-term projects or spontaneous in-class exercises), seems like an obvious choice for instructors when planning out the semester. Yet for the early music history classroom, issues such as lack of period instruments, student unfamiliarity with performance practice, inability to read early forms of notation, and unease associated with old (but new to students) genres create obstacles, especially when classroom time always seems to be lacking. In many ways, however, these issues present opportunities for both collaborative and cooperative learning that is instructor guided, but student directed. This presentation examines the above issues and provides suggestions for and interactive examples of specific performance-based exercises and assignments related to the standard early music canon (through 1750) that are easily accomplished with either modern or period instruments and voices.
Sunday, 11 June 2017
Tegan Niziol, “Teaching Music History in a Post-Postmodern Era”
Postmodern philosophy has radically decreased the credibility of historical narratives. The narrative imposes a fictional dimension on history that synthesizes information into a non-dissolvable whole. The result is only one possible version of the past, skewed and manipulated to attain a sense of comprehensive continuity (Dahlhaus, 1983; Kurkela and Mantere, 2015). In the 1980s, postmodernism inspired musicologists to deconstruct historical narratives and the Western canon, and accept diverse frameworks for interpreting music in its social, cultural, historical, and political contexts (Cook and Everist, 1999; Kramer, 2011). Although this critical turn introduced greater self-reflexivity in the discipline, it poses many challenges for the teaching of music history. Disassembling the canon requires teachers to select their limited curriculum content from a vast sea of musical traditions without structural guidance.
In this paper, I propose a new pedagogical model for understanding music history that preserves narrative’s coherence within a critical, multi-interpretive framework. This model is based on Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen’s historiographical theory of postnarrativism which proposes to construct history as a reasoned argument for or against a given thesis (Kuukkanen, 2015). A pedagogical model based on the tenants of postnarrativism will foreground the idea that history is a construction created by historians, rather than a direct representation of the past. It will deconstruct canonic boundaries, emphasize critical interpretation, and teach students to assess and evaluate evidence. Finally, this model will promote a perspective of history that is unstable and fluid, due to the multitude of changing perspectives available for viewing past events.
Christopher Macklin, “Sound the Trump-et: Music History and Public Education since Election Day”
From the outset, Donald Trump’s approach to political discourse has been defined by a willingness for confrontation and a tendency to eschew moderation in favor of sharply defined binaries. The repercussions of this philosophy are already beginning to be felt across the academy, especially in institutions connected historically or financially to the federal government and thus particularly subject to political scrutiny. In this lightning talk, I will highlight the tension between the responsibilities teachers of music history at a large state university feel as state employees on the one hand and h the ethical realities of working with a diverse student population looking for guidance in viewing the role of music and musicians in modern American life on the other. I will additionally discuss the ways that tension shaped activities organized by faculty between Election Day 2016 and Inauguration Day 2017, as well as possible implications for music history curricula.
Panel: Campaign Music 101 in the Music History Classroom
Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, Naomi Graber
The 2016 U.S. presidential election offered the citizenry a feast for both the eyes and ears with its memorable musical sound bites, which included Donald Trump’s theatrical entrance to “We Are the Champions” at the RNC, Hillary Clinton’s Nae Nae on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and the Gregory Brothers’ auto-tuned rendition of the third debate’s most memorable lines. This election cycle has shown that both candidates and the public often rely on music’s affective properties and connotative potential for political communication and identity formation. In this presentation, we will outline strategies for engaging students in introductory-level college courses with the intersection of popular culture and political culture through the topic of campaign music. Our techniques are appropriate in a variety of disciplines, including sociology, music history, media studies, and political science.
Much to the chagrin of Neil Young, Donald Trump sauntered onto many stages to the strains of “Rockin’ in the Free World.” Although the candidate walk-on song is one of the most debated and discussed aspects of campaign music in the 21st century, the explosion of social media, user-generated content sites, infotainment news programs, and playlisting platforms has transformed the production, dissemination, and consumption of campaign music. Evidence has shown that these forums, whereby political and popular culture become both enmeshed and interchangeable, are where our students engage with politics. Troublingly, a Stanford University study has shown that students lack the tools to critically engage with such a diverse media environment. Teaching students how to critically assess how popular culture both shapes and reflects the electoral process provides them with tools that will allow them to be not only engaged in the classroom, but also engaged in civic life.
Our four part presentation will provide musicologists with the requisite knowledge and tools needed to initiate this kind of critical engagement with campaign music:
- Discuss the issue of media literacy and how the study of campaign music might improve students’ skills in this area.
- Outline strategies for teaching campaign music in the classroom through two short demonstrations which will include splitting up into small groups to analyze a parody campaign song and to compare the ways candidates used music at the conventions.
- Introduce the educational resources that our research group has developed for our open-access website, Trax on the Trail.
- Q&A period
Through this presentation, musicologists will acquire various strategies for incorporating campaign music analysis into different classroom contexts, as well as learn about the various educational resources and research tools available for building media literacy through the study of this topic.