none Pedagogy Study Group

Teaching Music History Conference (and Unconference)

June 13-14, 2014

Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois
The Pedagogy Study Group of the American Musicological Society would like to announce the ninth Teaching Music History Day conference. For this edition we are expanding the length and scope of the conference, including an afternoon devoted to an "unconference" that will be informal and participatory. The conference will take place at Roosevelt University in Chicago, a short distance from Millennium Park and the CSO's Symphony Center.


CONFERENCE SESSIONS: We invite proposals on all topics related to teaching music history at any level, from high school to graduate school to community engagement. Traditional conference sessions will be 30 minutes in length, including time for questions, and may take the form of a presentation or a teaching demonstration. For these sessions, please submit a 250-word abstract to the address given below.

Proposals for panel discussions, themed sessions of two or more papers, as well as for creative sessions that fall outside of this time limit or structure will also be considered. For panel discussions or themed sessions, submit up to a 500-word abstract clarifying the overall theme, as well as the individual contributions. For "creative" sessions, submit up to a 500-word abstract describing the content of the session and how it would proceed.

LIGHTNING TALKS: We invite proposals for 5-10 minute "lightning" presentations that present a single teaching idea, viewpoint, focused study, or position paper on any subject that is relevant to music history teachers. These will be scheduled during the middle of the day. To propose a lightning talk, submit a 150-word abstract describing the idea and how you would communicate it (paper, video, handout, activity, etc.).

UNCONFERENCE: Inspired by FlipCamp Music Theory 2013, we will devote Saturday afternoon to an "unconference," in which the procedures are far less formal. More like a seminar than a lecture, the unconference begins a few days before the meeting dates, when participants post topic ideas on a conference website. At the session, participants vote on which topics to discuss. While some may present prepared material, all are encouraged to contribute to each topic. Details will be announced on the AMS Pedagogy Study Group's webpage.

SEND PROPOSALS electronically to Matt Baumer.

DEADLINE: All proposals for conference sessions and lightning talks must be received by the end of the day on Friday, January 31, 2014. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of February, 2014.

Events of interest to the PSG at AMS in Pittsburgh

On Friday, November 8, from 6:45-7:45, the Committee on Career-Related Issues is sponsoring a Master Teacher Roundtable on "New Teaching Philosophies." The session will be co-chaired by Colin Roust and James Maiello and will feature panelists Jim Davis, Jane Riegel-Ferencz, Melanie Lowe, and Patrick Warfield.

On Friday evening, November 8, at 8 pm, the PSG is sponsoring a session entitled "From Objectives to Methodology: Models for Teaching Music History to Undergraduates." J. Peter Burkholder will chair a panel of papers from James R. Briscoe, Matthew Baumer, and Kevin R. Burke.

Directly following the PSG session, we will hold our business meeting: all members and non-members are welcome to attend!

PSG events at CMS in Boston

The Musicology Advisory Council of The College Music Society and the Pedagogy Study Group of the American Musicological Society jointly sponsored the workshop "Teaching Music History and Allied Courses for Non-Specialists and Graduate Students." This workshop was held at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Wednesday October 30, 2013 from 1:00–6:00 p.m., immediately prior to the 2013 CMS National Conference (October 31–November 2, 2013).

Musicologists are sometimes called upon to teach in numerous areas of expertise, and non-musicologists are asked to teach music history and allied areas, sometimes to their discomfort. This pre-conference workshop is intended to give these faculty members, and graduate students and other interested individuals, practical ways in which they may be more actively involved in teaching a variety of topics and approaches with a scholarly and academic focus, whether or not as part of their teaching or research specialties.

Workshop sessions and presenters include:
Teaching Film Music: Colin Roust (Roosevelt University) & Nathan Platte (University of Iowa)
Teaching Music in Its Social Context: Mary Natvig (Bowling Green State University) & Steven Cornelius (University of Massachusetts, Boston)

Teaching Writing in Music History and Allied Classes: Carol Hess (University of California, Davis)

Teaching the American Musical Theater: Jessica Sternfeld (Chapman University)
For more information, please see:

PSG events at AMS in New Orleans

The PSG held two events at the Annual Meeting in New Orleans. The first was the open discussion during the Business Meeting of the proposed revision to the Object of the Society, which would include "teaching" as part of the Object of the Society. The second was a Friday evening session, sponsored in conjunction with the Education Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology and entitled, "The Music Course in General Education: Eliciting Student Enthusiasm and Investment."

PSG at AMS San Francisco

Please join us for the following pedagogy-related events at the National meeting of the American Musicological Society in San Francisco, November 10-13 2011.

Friday, November 11: PSG Business Meeting at 8 pm, followed by the session "Reconsidering Narrative in the Music History Survey," featuring papers by Michael Puri, Christopher Wilkinson, and Ilana Schroeder, chaired by Travis Stimeling.

Saturday, November 12: PSG Alternative Format Session, 2-5 pm, "Twenty-first Century methodologies for Teaching Music History: A Roundtable Discussion," with Colin Roust, James Briscoe, Steven Cornelius, and Mary Natvig

Related events of interest:

Friday, November 11, 12:15-1:15, Master Teacher session with Marian Wilson-Kimber

Friday, November 11, 5-6:30, open session with the Graduate Education Committee

Teaching Music History Day

The last TMHD was held in March, 2011 at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in conjunction with the AMS Southeast chapter meeting. A date has not yet been set for Spring 2012. If you are interested in hosting a TMHD, either on its own or in conjunction with an AMS chapter meeting, please contact PSG president Matthew Baumer. The PSG can offer considerable help in putting together the meeting.

PSG at AMS San Francisco

Please join us for the following pedagogy-related events at the National meeting of the American Musicological Society in San Francisco, November 10-13 2011.

Friday, November 11: PSG Business Meeting at 8 pm, followed by the session "Reconsidering Narrative in the Music History Survey," featuring papers by Michael Puri, Christopher Wilkinson, and Ilana Schroeder, chaired by Travis Stimeling.

Saturday, November 12: PSG Alternative Format Session, 2-5 pm, "Twenty-first Century methodologies for Teaching Music History: A Roundtable Discussion," with Colin Roust, James Briscoe, Steven Cornelius, and Mary Natvig

Related events of interest:

Friday, November 11, 12:15-1:15, Master Teacher session with Marian Wilson-Kimber

Friday, November 11, 5-6:30, open session with the Graduate Education Committee

Teaching Music History Day

The last TMHD was held in March, 2011 at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in conjunction with the AMS Southeast chapter meeting. A date has not yet been set for Spring 2012. If you are interested in hosting a TMHD, either on its own or in conjunction with an AMS chapter meeting, please contact PSG president Matthew Baumer. The PSG can offer considerable help in putting together the meeting.


The Pedagogy Study Group of the American Musicological Society is pleased to announce its annual Teaching Music History Day, to be held in conjunction with the AMS Southeast Chapter meeting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on March 18-19, 2010.

Information on the program, travel, and lodging is available on the AMS Southeast website.


The Pedagogy Study Group of the American Musicological Society is pleased to announce its annual Teaching Music History Day, to be held in conjunction with the AMS Southeast Chapter meeting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on March 18-19, 2010.

Information on the program, travel, and lodging is available on the AMS Southeast website.


Saturday, September 12, 2009, 8:00 A.M.- 5:00 P.M.
Alexander Music Center, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

The Pedagogy Study Group of the American Musicological Society, the Midwest Chapter of the AMS, and Edinboro University announce the sixth Teaching Music History Day, to be held Saturday, September 12, 2009. Teaching Music History Day is a forum for exchanging ideas on effective teaching, and is open to all who have an interest in teaching music history. We extend a special invitation to those whose primary discipline lies outside of musicology who teach music history, music appreciation, or related courses.

First formal PSG session to be held in Philadelphia

The PSG, Committee on Career-Related Issues, and Philadelphia Orchestra will jointly sponsor a session on the role of musicology in community engagement. Featured panelists include Richard Freedman (Haverford College), Susan Key (San Francisco Symphony), Ayden Adler (Philadelphia Orchestra), James Steichen (Princeton University), Marisa Biaggi (Metropolitan Opera Company), and Michael Mauskapf (University of Michigan).


"Only Connect": The Role of Musicology in Community Engagement

In this panel and discussion session, the AMS Pedagogy Study Group, The Philadelphia Orchestra Association, and the Committee on Career-Related Issues will juxtapose the engagement of adult audiences with the stated aim of the AMS—to advance "research in the various fields of music as a branch of learning and scholarship." How can we, as musicologists and teachers, most effectively interact with interested non-professionals, both within the university and without? How can we redefine the role of musicology in relation to these audiences by turning the notion of community "outreach" to a "drawing in"? Considering perspectives in musicology, education, performance, and arts management, panelists will explore ways of engaging general audiences through musicological research, while initiating a dialogue about musicology's potential to encourage audiences to think differently about the repertoire they hear.

Richard Freedman (Haverford College), longtime presenter of pre-concert programs for The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Susan Key, educational director for the San Francisco Symphony's Keeping Score project, will discuss Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, to be performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra on the weekend of the Annual Meeting. While the Fourth Symphony typically attracts audiences with its impassioned emotional drama, scholars usually contest its meaning and significance by addressing the work's programmatic associations, purported autobiographical content, and stylistic references to Beethoven. This perceptual gap between audiences and scholars may be bridged by exploring the music-making process through interaction with musicians, primary sources relating to the composer's biography and culture, and the listener's personal connections to the music via active reflection. Ayden Adler, Director of Education and Community Partnerships at The Philadelphia Orchestra, will similarly discuss inventive forms of engagement derived from her experiences as a performer, musicologist, and educational manager.

James Steichen (Princeton University) and Marisa Biaggi, Creative Content Manager for the Metropolitan Opera Company, will co-present innovative approaches to scholarship and performance on and off campus. Steichen reverses the traditional question of how to bring musicology to the public by asking instead how to bring the public to musicology. His case studies include the University of Chicago's Artspeaks series, which invites artists for a short-term residence of public events and classroom activities, and a recent opera production at Princeton University that occurred in tandem with a scholarly conference. Biaggi, a musicologist working in arts management, will discuss efforts by the New York Metropolitan Opera to reach general audiences, challenging fellow musicologists to look beyond traditional scholarly media and make their work more accessible to the broader public.

Michael Mauskapf (University of Michigan) describes the collaborative efforts of the University Musical Society and Arts Enterprise (both associated with the University of Michigan) in two ventures: the series Who is..., which seeks to demystify the artists who create musical works, and Masterpieces Revealed, which invites a "host" musicologist and graduate student performers to share their passion and knowledge regarding some of history's musical masterworks. Both of these programs combine the live performance experience with innovative interdisciplinary and intergenerational approaches that engage the university community.

Teaching Music History Day

DePauw University
Greencastle IN
September 13, 2008

For details, please visit the conference program.


Pedagogy Panel to be held in Nashville

Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society
Nashville, TN
November 8, 2008


Reaching out to Performance Majors in Music History Classes
Co-Chairs: Colin Roust (Oberlin College Conservatory of Music), Valerie Woodring Goertzen (Loyola University New Orleans)

Performance majors may find music history to be an especially challenging portion of their curriculum. While some performance students excel in these courses, others find that their abilities do not translate into ready success in music history, which calls on a very different skill set. Moreover, where students do not recognize connections between course topics and their own experiences and concerns, they may come to view these courses as a burden and a distraction from ensemble rehearsals or the practice room. The papers in this session offer strategies for helping students to engage more purposefully in the study of music history. Topics addressed include the building of critical reading skills through examination of primary source readings, the investigation of contemporary repertoire for a student's instrument or voice, the exploration of links between the cultures of the past and present, and the possibility of a music history curriculum grounded in music making.

"What's in it for me?": Engaging Performance Students with Primary-Source Readings
Julia Randel (Hope College)

One thing we have going for us when we teach performance majors is that they actually like music. Most of them really are interested in learning about the history of the music they love, in the lives of their favorite composers, and in what it would have been like to attend, or participate in, the first performance of one of their favorite pieces. As historians, we know that the best way to gain access to these experiences is through primary-source texts, and yet, when we assign these texts, students often find them difficult and seem to get frustratingly little out of them. This workshop-style presentation will demonstrate techniques for building students' critical reading skills. First, I will lead participants through a sample classroom exercise, a guided reading of three source texts from the late 18th century, using questions designed to take students from basic comprehension, to critical interpretation, to practical application of the ideas in the text. In the second part of the workshop, I will invite discussion of the methods, as well as of practical issues such as how to adapt them for use in large classes, how to choose the most useful and engaging texts, and how to fit these time-consuming activities into our already crowded syllabi.

Bridging Pastness and Presentness in the Teaching of Music History to Performers
Jen-yen Chen (National Taiwan University)

One of the paradoxes of performing "canonical" music of earlier historical periods is the apparent contradiction between pastness and presentness: a Beethoven sonata (for example) belongs to a bygone culture, yet also constitutes a significant element of today's living culture. In this presentation I shall argue that the teaching of both history and performance has tended to focus disproportionately on one or the other aspect, thereby enforcing a notion of the irrelevance of the two areas to one another, and that an important way for history classes to become fresher and more vital to performance majors is through an effort to intertwine pastness and presentness. In scholarly terms, the process is a hermeneutic bridging of cultural difference, but from a practical pedagogical viewpoint involves actively encouraging students to articulate links (whether of similarity or of contrast) between the materials of music history and their own personal backgrounds. For my examples, I shall draw upon my recent experience teaching a Mozart course in Asia, which may be especially useful in light of the pronounced cultural disparity (and perhaps also of the preponderance of Asian students in today's conservatories). These examples will include observations by students on parallels between Leopold Mozart's upbringing of his children and filial obedience in Asia; between Wolfgang's entrepreneurial creativity and the activities of contemporary "indie" musicians; and between emerging ideals of individual freedom in the eighteenth century and struggles towards the same ideals in the modern world. By means of this "dialogue" with the past, students may foster a critical appreciation of their own passion for perpetuating historical cultures in our own times.

Music History Against the Grain
Dillon Parmer (University of Ottawa)

My paper goes against the grain of this session.

As both professional musician and musicologist, I argue that the difficulties performance majors have with the subject arise because its underlying paradigm-historical contextualism-is fundamentally dissonant with the way music works in actual practice. To be of relevance and value, music-history pedagogy needs to be reconceived on a paradigm grounded in performance.

I argue that traditional pedagogy misconstrues the relationship of academic study to performance. The error derives from an institutional ideology, one that elevates research-based understanding to the status of "higher learning," thereby reducing musical practice into a venue in which such understanding is applied. Both scholars and musicians remain oblivious to how much this ideology still governs their research, teaching, and performance practice.

Drawing from my work as a musician, I debunk the basic premises this ideology instills in the study of music history, that it enriches performance, that it makes for better musicians, that it leads to compelling artistry. Instead, I point to an alternate model for understanding, one grounded in music making. I then outline a curriculum derived from this model, one which makes performing central to understanding. Score study and listening still factor in, but the emphasis is placed on talking about the repertoire in the context of our own performance practice.

The curriculum dispenses with traditional music-history pedagogy, therefore, but performance and non-performance majors alike find the approach more consistent with their playing experience, and they are consequently encouraged to deepen their understanding further.

20th-Century History Projects for Performers
Elizabeth A. Wells (Mount Allison University)

This session describes a paper project that has been assigned to performance majors at both the Eastman School of Music and a small liberal arts college for a 20th-Century history course. The assignment asks students to select contemporary works that are in their repertoire or might well be and conduct research on those works to fulfill an essay assignment following specific criteria. This session will describe the parameters of the assignment and provide real examples of exceptional results from actual student projects. A tie-in with Classical radio stations and the opportunity to "perform" their projects in a conservatory setting has radically changed students' appreciation of and investment in the importance of music history. Some challenges and caveats will be discussed, as well as other assignments for these courses that help to focus student attention on the relevance of music history and musicology to their performance degrees.


Pedagogy Panel to be held in Quebec
Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society
Quebec City, PQ Canada
November 3, 2007

Pedagogy Panel to be held in Quebec

On Saturday, November 3 from 12:45-1:45, panelists Jose Bowen, Jim Briscoe, and Marjorie Roth will discuss questions from moderator Patrick Fairfield and attendees. The panel will focus on current issues facing music history teachers, from class sizes and curriculum requirements to technology in the classroom. Although there will be time for attendees to ask questions at the event, PSG members may also submit questions in advance by sending an email to Patrick Fairfield.


Teaching Music History Day

September 22, 2007

Conference Program

PSG Poster Session planned for L.A. meeting

After soliciting a call for presentations, the PSG session committee is pleased to announce the participants for the L.A. poster session:

Deanna D. Bush and Cynthia Beard (University of North Texas)
Sarah Day-O'Connell (Knox College)
Dan DiCenso (University of Cambridge)
Melanie Lowe (Vanderbilt University)
Fred Maus (University of Virginia)
Anne-Marie Reynolds (SUNY Geneseo)

Presenters will be on hand to discuss innovative approaches to teaching music history courses and will share examples of course activities, syllabi, and on-line course materials.

Poster Session Abstracts

Fred Maus (University of Virginia)
An Introductory Course for a Decentered Music Major Curriculum

This presentation will introduce my University of Virginia course, Music in the 20th Century (MUSI 305), which has a number of unusual features.

  1. Taught at the introductory major level, it is required for all majors, and is conceived as a general introduction to college-level music study. It is rare to place music of the recent past as a "gateway" course for majors.
  2. The course covers a wide range of musics, including modernist art music, vernacular music, popular music, and experimental music.
  3. It covers this range of musics through focused examination of significant examples, rather than through a survey. This is in keeping with the general decision, in our Department, to abandon the "historical survey"
  4. model in our courses for majors.
  5. The course design is multi-disciplinary, bringing together examples of historical musicology, ethnomusicology, and popular music studies, and drawing on critical approaches such as ethnography, gender and sexuality studies, cultural geography, and Adorno's culture criticism. With one exception (Reebee Garofalo's sophisticated textbook on rock), all readings are professional-level scholarly writing rather than textbooks.
  6. The writing assignments are unusual. The final project is a sustained paper on a single composition, song, or album, usually a classical or popular example. Through the semester students work on preparatory assignments to give them a range of approaches to their music before they write the final paper.

The presentation will include

  1. a concise display of bulleted points about the course, similar to the comments above;
  2. copies of the syllabus;
  3. ample worksheets and assignments, including the components of the final project.
Daniel J. DiCenso (University of Cambridge, Ph.D. candidate)
Activities-Based vs. Outcome-Based Approaches to the Music History Survey: Making Deliberate Decisions about Classroom Activities and Assessment

Among the many theories of curriculum and instruction, two models emerge as the dominant ways of structuring the music history survey: the Activities-Based model and the Outcome-Based model. Though these theories are rooted in very different assumptions about what constitutes learning, many instructors mix and match pedagogical activities rooted in both of these theories. As a result, classroom practices and assignments do not always clearly communicate to students what constitutes "learning," leaving students confused and instructors frustrated.

The purpose of this presentation is threefold: 1) to help instructors make deliberate and effective decisions about involving Activities-Based and Outcome-Based approaches in the teaching of the music history survey, 2) to demonstrate the very different classroom practices that derive from each approach, and 3) to illustrate how instructors can ease the burden of learning for students by carefully aligning their classroom practices with their philosophical assumptions about learning. Understanding what one's assumptions are and how those assumptions impact upon the day-to-day of teaching can help make lessons easier to design and music history easier to learn.

The presentation will include a definition of terms, an explanation of Activities-Based vs. Outcome-Based theory, and a demonstration of the influence each approach can have on the design of syllabi, classroom activities, and assessment (testing) using concrete examples. An annotated bibliography of other resources on Activities-Based and Outcome-Based curriculum and instruction will be provided as a handout.

Deanna D. Bush and Cynthia Beard (University of North Texas)
Making Large Classes Personal: Music Appreciation in a Blended Format

In the fall of 2005, the Music History Area of the College of Music of the University of North Texas received a grant in support of a proposal co-authored by Dr. Deanna D. Bush, History Area Coordinator, and doctoral student Cynthia Beard to convert its high enrollment general music courses (200 plus students) from a traditional lecture format to a "blended" format that combines web-based instruction, class lectures, and weekly meetings with groups of approximately 30 students per group. Favorable student response to the pilot version of this "Music Appreciation" resulted in the need to open additional sections of the course.

The success of the course is largely attributable to a more effective use of class time and improved instruction enhanced by technology. Class lectures serve principally to introduce students to a new unit and to live performances of music by faculty artists. Online lessons, self-testing, and detailed information about the daily operations of the class are readily accessible on the course website and free up class time for instruction in small groups. Groups meet weekly to participate in a variety of interactive learning activities designed to teach them to problem solve and to develop effective strategies for focused learning.

We propose to include in our poster presentation an overview of an online lesson, including a Flash interaction, and a video excerpt of a small group session displayed on a laptop computer. The course syllabus, class schedule, and statistical assessment results will be made available to interested parties.

Anne-Marie Reynolds (SUNY Geneseo)
A Novel Approach: Teaching Music History Through Literature

In 20+ years of teaching, I've found that most students think music history is just a series of facts to be memorized, without relevance to their lives.

Therefore the way I teach topic courses in music history is around carefully selected memoirs and historical fiction. These serve as the skeleton of the course, while musical examples, scholarly articles, and related films flesh it out. The whole point is to study music history within the context of a living society, one that is made to feel immediate rather than distant. It has been my experience that this approach instantly engages students and makes the composers and their music real and relevant.

My poster session would detail two examples of music history courses that I have successfully structured around literature, presenting the texts, supplemental articles and films I use, as well as syllabi, sample assignments, and in-class activities I have created.

The first course, "Longing in Music," is based on two historical novels about the lives and music of Robert and Clara Schumann. In addition to a host of musical and ideological issues related to German Romanticism, the books raise questions about historiography and the interpretation of sources, since both were based on precisely the same sources, yet resulted in narratives with different emphases and even agendas. In one assignment, the students consider how much this difference has to do with the authors' gender, since one was male and the other female, and how much with their latter-day perspectives on people and events long past.

The second sample course is called "The Artist in the Third Reich" and addresses the various moral and ethical choices musicians, painters, and actors face as they pursue their art. The first half of the course is driven by a memoir about two players in the orchestra Hitler established for Jewish musicians. One assignment asks the students to compare the ways that Classical music was used by the Nazis for propagandistic purposes and how the very same compositions were used as statements of protest by musicians in concentration camps. Similarly, the second half of the course deals with how differently jazz was viewed by the Nazis as compared to members of the Resistance, and centers on a historical novel about the experiences of a gay, black, jazz pianist interred in Dachau. The students are asked to reflect on moral and ethical choices artists face today, as well as the ways that music continues to serve as a manipulative device.

Melanie Lowe (Vanderbilt University)
Batman and Beethoven

One of my most effective pedagogical strategies for teaching undergraduate music history courses is to engage students' everyday cultural experiences, particularly by using scenes from recent American films and television shows to frame historical topics. For the poster session, I will have on hand the film clips, lecture outlines, and student activities for two classes I have found to be particularly effective. The first is a class on Beethoven in which I show scenes from Batman, New York Stories, Hannah and her Sisters, Barton Fink, and The Red Violin to consider the composer's biography and mythology, conceptions of the romantic artist, and the enduring legacy of their construction. The second is a class in which I introduce students to topics in Mozart's opera Le nozze di Figaro. At the beginning of this class, I ask my students to consider how the contemporary musical soundscape of our lives informs movie soundtracks. We then draw some parallels between how film composers today use these sounds for expressive purposes and how Mozart used the soundscape of his world for the same. The film Trading Places, which features the Figaro overture as its main title and "Se vuol ballare" whistled diegetically by a main character, serves as an engaging frame for the detailed picture of topics and expressive meaning in Mozart's opera. I will also have available a list of other film and television clips I use and an explanation of how they are integrated into the historical content of the respective classes.

Sarah Day-O'Connell (Knox College)
K. Anthony Appiah's Cosmopolitanism and the Liberal Arts Music Curriculum

In college and university music departments, curricular discussions often invoke a familiar dichotomy: canonic repertoires and methodologies "versus" the interests of diversity. Meanwhile, a provocative and widely-reviewed new book advocates cross-cultural understanding while concurrently rejecting "globalization" and "multiculturalism" as rubrics under which to pursue it -- thereby calling into question the premises of traditional music curricula as well as many of our efforts at curricular revision.

I take up this challenge by proposing a one-year, introductory course sequence directly inspired by the book in question, Anthony Appiah's Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (W. W. Norton, 2006). Cosmopolitans, as Appiah construes them, uphold intertwining beliefs in universal values, obligations to others (transcending family and citizenship), and the importance of human difference. A cosmopolitan music curriculum, then, would centralize "habits of coexistence," that is, "conversation in its older meaning, of living together, association" (xix). Given this emphasis on dialogue, in fact, the study of music is particularly suggestive for a cosmopolitan worldview, which relies on engaged listening. Cosmopolitanism, in turn, provides a timely alternative to the polarization that threatens to obscure the complexity of issues and research, as well as the potential for disparate scholarly enterprises to overlap and instruct one another.

The proposed course sequence also addresses musical case-studies in order to examine some of Appiah's bolder assertions in depth. These include "contamination" and the condescension of cultural preservation, "cultural imperialism" and the exaggerated threat of the homogenized consumer, and "local allegiance" and the prioritization of cultural practices that are close and familiar. Handouts will include syllabi and detailed assignment sequences.


CMS Institute for Music History Pedagogy

June 8-10, 2006
Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana 46208

Institute for Music History Schedule

Synopsis of 2006 Meeting


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