Festival 500 Sharing the Voices Introduction



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Betty Anne Younker


University of Michigan, United States
Andrea Rose and Jennifer Nakashima

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada


In this roundtable presentation, each participant will present a brief paper that comments on current research in music education. Each presentation will focus on various issues pertaining to singing within the context of Canadian music education. The remainder of the session will be left open for the sharing of ideas amongst all session participants.
Music education advocacy: A socio political dimension of singing and song

Charlene Morton

In this presentation, I will examine how agency through singing might enhance the public appreciation for and the educative value of music education in the Canadian school system. This analysis will remind music educators of the neglected socio political dimension of music that can support education's overall mandate to develop a just society and will suggest that they highlight this dimension in their justifications for music in the curriculum. Using examples from African American singing traditions (Barrett et al., 1997) and contemporary gay and lesbian youth choirs (Chalmers & Gill, 2002), the author will point to the under utilized potential of music (education) to help students critically examine the "racial imagination" that is delivered through musical "soundtexts" across time and space (Bohlman & Radano, 2000). In this way, my paper will encourage teachers and students to both experience and debate the power of song through lessons and concerts that arouse awareness of historical and contemporary struggles for human rights. My purpose is to reconfigure music (arts, and aesthetic) education as a key player in fostering critical thinking about social issues and social justice.

An exploration of alternative views about singing based education programs

Betty Anne Younker


Previous to the late 1980s and early 1990s, aesthetic education was the predominant view among those exploring why we should involve children in meaningful music making experiences. Over the last 10 plus years, music educators have examined alternative views grounded in praxialism, postmodernism, and democratic thinking in trying to capture the meaning and essential value of music. Some of these ideas have created conflict within the field and, at times, been misrepresented, hence producing confusion. It is imperative that we clearly understand the various views and critically examine them when justifying, at the individual level, why we involve students in musical experiences. As a community of music makers, we need to understand the very essence of music making and the impact it can have on those involved. For the purposes of this conference, the focus will be on one means of music making that is performance, specifically singing. In addition to articulating the value of performing, we need to understand the cultural, social, and governmental issues that directly impact our profession in terms of faculty, curricula, facilities, resources, and subsequently, the quality of music making experiences, and speak to those issues with a grounded philosophy. My objective, therefore, is to offer informed reasons and critical analysis to further the dialogue among the many stakeholders who make decisions about singing based programs in formal and informal settings, including public schools.


The phenomenon of singing and song: A Newfoundland and Labrador educational context

Andrea Rose and Jennifer Nakashima


The purpose of this paper is to explore, through a set of questions, 'the phenomenon of singing' as it exists in the educational system in Newfoundland and Labrador. Included in this exploration will be the presentation of some data and practices that have influenced current practices and traditions in music education throughout the province. Of current significance to the future of music education in this province is the development of web based courses in music. Experiencing Music, a secondary music credit course, is now being developed for online delivery to students in rural settings. The authors will present issues and challenges pertaining to both philosophical and pedagogical underpinnings of this project and will explore the following questions:

How does singing/song exist currently in formal music education in Newfoundland and Labrador? How might the 'power of singing and song' be affected in this mode of course delivery? Who are the music teachers and how have they been prepared to teach singing/song in web based delivery formats? Who are the learners and how might they accommodated in this learning environment? What might be the impact on school music education practices and traditions? Given that music education is one form of cultural production, what might be some implications for the ongoing production of Newfoundland culture and society?


Singing in unison, singing in harmony: Citizenship education through school music

Lillis Ó Laoire and Ruan O’Donnell

University of Limerick, Ireland
This paper explores connections between Newfoundland and Ireland through an examination of some songs and their backgrounds. As in many cultures, songs and singing have often been used as a medium of political expression in both Ireland and Newfoundland. The paper explores some "seditious" or "treason" songs in Newfoundland, setting them in their historical context and examining their changing conditions of performance, from popular protests against inordinately harsh individuals and policies, to private family traditions, rarely performed publicly, so as to avoid giving offence.

The genesis of the European musical influence in Mexico

Jeffrey Pappas

Mississippi State University, United States
With Christopher Columbus’s voyage to the “New World”, the introduction of European music began. Although it would be a few yeas before actual music-making occurred, the history behind its introduction and the role of the church and its missionaries is most interesting. From the earliest plainchant beginnings through full-fledged European polyphony, music became a vital link between the Spanish and the native Indians.

Extant resources, including the Newberry Choirbooks that will be one of the main foci of this presentation, indicate that European music not only grew in popularity, but native composers began composing in the European tradition. In the Newberry Choirbooks, for example, native composers’ compositions stand alongside those of some of European masters. These native composers, not as well known even in the earliest twenty-first century, became quite skilled in the new musical tradition and paved a path for their more popular counterparts in the Mexican Baroque period.

In exploring the genesis of the Spanish influences in the New World, this presentation will unveil just how quickly the Spanish and European influences in the New World began. It will also detail the musical training of the native Indians and how they were able to assimilate musical ideas and begin forming their own “Colonial European” musical tradition.

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