Conference focuses on music education

One thing that sets humanity apart is the ability to organize sounds. Around the world and through time, the need to express ourselves through music has been a constant and common factor.

Ruth Wright, Music Education chair at The University of Western Ontario, is organizing the Leading Music Education International Conference (LME) from May 29-June 1 at Western to explore that need as well as learn about how musicians and educators can enable that expression.

Wright has been awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Aid to Research Workshops and Conferences grant to bring together an international gathering of more than 100 presenters from South Africa, Senegal, Brazil, France, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom as well as the United States and Canada.

Featuring workshops, research papers and poster presentations, the conference will host three keynote speakers: Christopher Small, author of Music, Society, Education; Music of the Common Tongue: Survival and Celebration in African and American Music and Musicking the Meanings of Performing and Listening; Hildegard Froehlich, professor emerita at the College of Music, University of North Texas; and Randall Everett Allsup, assistant professor Teachers College, Columbia University and recent Fulbright Visiting Professor, Sibelius Academy, Finland.

Also as part of the conference, Wright has invited Theodora Stathopoulos, Canadian Music Educators’ Association vice-president, to co-convene a Canadian El Sistema Symposium.

Education faces new challenges in the 21st century, yet it continues to play a vital role in the future life-chances of at-risk children and young people. Can El Sistema, the internationally acclaimed music program that helped lift children from the slums of Caracas, Venezuela, be a new model of success for music education with youth-at-risk in Canada?

This symposium, scheduled for May 29, looks to answer that question and includes an opening lecture by Jonathon Govias, Abreu Fellow of the New England Conservatory.

In addition, the symposium will feature one of the first screenings of El Sistema: Teaching The Life Of Music, a new 48-minute documentary by Toronto-based filmmaker Noemi Weiss and narrated by Glee star Cory Monteith. The film will be followed by a round-table discussion.

For information, visit the conference site.