Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Teaching World Music Symposium: From the Exotic to the Global (4/9-4/11)

2015 Symposium (4/9-4/11)

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first NIU world music concert and the establishment of NIU’s world music curriculum, the purpose of the symposium is to provide a platform for music educators, ethnomusicologists and musicologists, composers, performers, and interdisciplinary scholars in cultural studies to exchange innovative ideas about globalization in music practices in the 21st century.
The first world music concert at NIU on April 8, 1975 was a result of the Music Department’s pioneering establishment of a world music program. To attract a large audience, Dr. Kuo-Huang Han (now NIU Presidential Teaching Professor Emeritus) and his graduate student Jeff Abell (now a professor and the Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Arts Program at Columbia College in Chicago) titled the first concert “Musica Exotica” to suggest the “exotic” excitement of the non-western classical music featured in the concert. This first concert performance was well received by the NIU community because many instruments and music styles featured in the concert were seen and heard for the first time.
Forty years later, as a result of the many efforts of enthusiastic scholars, performing artists, and educators on and off the NIU campus, the practices and repertoire of non-western classical music are no longer “exotic” to the NIU community. The world music program has developed into a distinctive and now familiar component of the NIU tradition representing its unique culture and identity through hundreds of concert performances and outreach programs by the Chinese ensemble, Middle Eastern ensemble, Afro-pop ensemble, Afro-Cuban folkloric ensemble, Latin jazz ensemble, and the steel band. This pioneering history, a reflection of the broadening trends in musical idioms and practices since the 70s, is the genesis of the theme of the symposium.  
To redefine the term world music and expand its possibilities, the symposium will focus on three broad areas of pedagogical trends in world music-- in music education, in performance and composition, and in social/cultural studies. Discussion about world music in music education will include topics such as teaching methods and teacher training and the use of technology, as well as theory and music history. World music in performance and composition will include topics such as traditional and fusion solos and ensembles and the use of mixed media (visual arts, dance, and theater). World music in cultural studies will cover topics such as K-12 social studies and interdisciplinary studies in the arts and humanities (e.g., anthropology, history, art history, foreign languages, political science, sociology, intercultural communication, global studies).
World Music in Music Education
  • Exploring teaching world music in higher education (core course and/or gen ed requirement)
  • Exploring strategies in teaching-methods classes (elementary, secondary)
  • Exploring the application of world music idioms to developing musicianship (ear training, improvisation skills)
 World Music in Solo and Ensemble Performance and Composition
  • Expanding the repertoire to include world music idioms and/or mixed media
  • Including world music idioms and/or mixed media in composition
 World Music in Cultural Studies
  • Exploring the application of world music in K-12 cultural and global studies
  • Exploring the connections between world music and other arts and humanities disciplines
For further information, contact Dr. Jui-Ching Wang, Symposium Chair (

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