Professional Goals, Integration, Ethnomusicology

Things tend to write themselves when they’re important. I was asked today to describe my professional goals, and since I recently realized that on paper my goals don’t line up with my background (they do – just not in a bulleted sequence without explanation), I need to be particularly clear about them. This is what I came up with. I think it’s something everyone should do – to have an idea of where they want to go and the important part – how to get there. As an aside, that’s also why I feel so strongly about Irvin’s “Road to Carnegie Hall” project.

My response to this has changed dramatically in the past ten years. While I agree with Frank Battisti on the concept of music teachers as teaching artists and the need for a conservatory education rather than a liberal arts education, I also strongly feel like I never would have been exposed to nearly all of my current interests if I had gone that route.

So, my response:

My professional goals include an integration of the European art music and music education background I’ve already received with the research in ethnomusicology that I plan to do. My ambition is to research and publish topics related to this integration, and ultimately hold a faculty position at an institution with both a growing ethnomusicology department, and a strong music education department.

On a large scale I wish to study individual non-western traditions, and more narrowly to research and archive the music of eastern religions. I aspire to discover their learning processes, gain a deeper understanding of musical transmission, learn the impact of both the social and political context of music, untangle the global effect of technology on music making and its reception, and lastly, to study the struggle between traditional and popular music. While lofty, this subject matter will enable me to connect with the global community of ethnomusicologists and network with music educators to ensure that traditions are kept alive, and that a logical sequence to world music education is produced.

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