Volume 39, Number 1, 2019
Robin Attas and Margaret E. Walker
D. Linda Pearse
Universities are increasingly aware of the need to re-envision curricula in order to engage with Indigenous perspectives, knowledge, and pedagogical approaches. University music programs, focused on the delivery of Western art music curricula, often struggle to implement meaningful engagement with Indigenous knowledge that goes beyond gestures. What practical steps can educators take to crack the seemingly impervious fabric of settler-colonial art music performance education? I draw on experiences from within an intercultural artistic collaboration of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and scholars in order to articulate pedagogical strategies applicable to university music performance ensemble classes.
Decolonizing Desires and Unsettling Musicology: A Settler’s Personal Story of Researching and Teaching Indigenous Music at an American University
For those of us with decolonial desires, the university classroom is a potential space of disruption and reorganization. Our courses, course materials, teaching tools, students, and our own bodies and minds are all technologies that can subvert the colonial machine (la paperson 2017). In the first section, I contextualize my decolonial desires as a non-U.S.-citizen settler Canadian musicologist in the United States. The work of David Garneau, Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Andrea Smith, Eve Tuck, and K. Wayne Yang illuminates my positionality and power. In the second section, I provide an example of one way I’m disrupting the typical curricula and classroom experiences in a Euro-American classical music school. I discuss my course entitled “North American Indigenous Music Seminar” (NAIMS), including the course structure and content, and decolonizing strategies. Student responses to interviews about the course are interspersed with the discussion of my seminar plans and challenges to claims of “decolonization.” Their responses reveal some successes and many limits for anti-colonial and decolonial work in a single-semester course.
Building Relationships, Sustaining Communities: Decolonial Directions in Higher Ed Bluegrass Pedagogy
Travis D. Stimeling and Sophia M. Enriquez
Recent debates about bluegrass music’s place in higher education have highlighted anxieties about the historic role that institutions of higher education have played in cultural colonization, erosion, and destruction. Using examples from the bluegrass band at a large Appalachian public university, this essay considers how the “bluegrass jam” might facilitate meaningful conversations about identity in a region subjected to colonial-style extraction for nearly three centuries. At the same time, this article problematizes the nature of the university’s simultaneous support of regional culture and the propagation of resource extraction and environmental decay.
Quintina Carter-Ényì, Aaron Carter-Ényì and Kevin Nathaniel Hylton
Babatunde Ọlátúnjí’s Drums of Passion (1960) caught the attention of prominent American musicians from John Coltrane to the Grateful Dead and turned on subsequent generations to West African djembe drumming. The inclusion of djembe drum circles in education is alarming because they are “based on the partial appropriation and transformation” of African-based drumming. This article suggests how to get out of drum circles by recognizing and embracing African melody, especially pitched idiophones and ensemble singing. We describe a program at two Historically Black Colleges that combines more equitable and accurate representation of African cultures with technological literacy and a greater range of learning modalities.
Ten years after the Taman Siswa (Garden of Students) schools were founded in 1922, the Dutch colonial government declared them Wilde Scholen (Wild Schools) for operating without government certification. Taman Siswa educators resisted the designation, eventually repealing the ordinance, as an act of rebellion against colonization. Decades after Indonesia achieved independence, Taman Siswa continues to work towards decolonization by focusing on student self-governance and local wisdom, two core pedagogies of Taman Siswa founder Ki Hadjar Dewantara that are practised daily in music classrooms. Ultimately, I argue for a closer examination of Taman Siswa as an educational institution striving for decolonization in complex regional, national, and global systems.
Some members of the new music scene wish to decentralize its Eurocentric roots and criticize its colonialist tendencies. Prior to the discussion of strategies that could constitute a decolonizing framework, it is useful to identify how coloniality is reflected in this scene. The author, himself an active member of this scene, shares avenues of reflection on the cultural homogeneity of the milieu, questions of access, the legacy of classical music, the concept of European excellence, the presumption of universality, the coexistence of legitimacy and marginality, the ambiguous relationship with cultural appropriation and the foundations of the attribution of merit.
Kendra Jacque and Ellen Waterman
Eurocentrism is deeply embedded in the structures governing post-secondary music, from admissions to curricula. In this article, an Inuit student from northeastern Labrador recounts her journey to and through music school, including the challenges of accessing music instruction and navigating the audition, the considerable supports she received from mentors and organizations, and the culture shock, isolation, and racial micro-aggressions she experienced in university. Several recent qualitative studies of Indigenous students’ university experiences provide context for and support our conclusion that decolonization of post-secondary music must include deep structural change to provide broader and more flexible pathways for students and curricula that respond to the needs of a pluralistic society.
xexé:yltholetsel te sqwà:ls te'íle tl'ekwelep tél:exwatlha ye s'í:wes shxwélméxwelh. xéyxewetholetsel. ólew híth kw'elsu ó:lmethome. eyeléwthelh. tl'élexw kw'a's qel í:weselep. éy kw's totí:ltset, lheqtó:léstexwtset te syó:ys te í. ewe qelélweselep. xwelítem skwukwelstéleq talhwélep, maytólxwchapcha (xwélmexw, lets'ô:lmexw) tlowáyél, qas te wáy:eles.This letter describes some of the foundation and basic structural changes that must be implemented by music programs in order to move toward decolonial forms of music education. The letter serves as one starting point for such change among many that must always be led by Indigenous, Black, Latinx, Asian and other scholars / artists of colour (IBPOC) who live and work in the locations where music programs are based. Community-led change is imperative in order to avoid the replication of normative systems of music education that merely include diverse content. The letter asserts that while curricular change and hiring of IBPOC scholars constitute one part of this change, it might also be understood as a form of additive inclusion. Models of additive inclusion proceed by placing diverse content within normative, white supremacist structures of pedagogy that remain unchanged. Additive inclusion consequently maintains the power of those who choose what content to include, rather than giving over space for IBPOC leadership to determine the parameters for change, and to determine how foundational structures of music education should be dismantled and renewed.
Dylan Robinson. 2020. Hungry Listening: Resonant Theory for Indigenous Sound Studies. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 319 pp. ISBN 978-1-5179-0768-6 (hardcover), ISBN 978-1-5179-0769-3 (paperback)