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Past Courses for Teachers

Smithsonian Folkways Certification Course in World Music Pedagogy

September, 2013-March, 2014
University of Miami, Frost School of Music, FL
Written by Ph.D. student and WMP participant, Candice Davenport

The Smithsonian Folkways' World Music Pedagogy Certification Course is being offered as a series of 6 Saturday workshops throughout the 2013-2014 school year held at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. Co-sponsored by the University of Miami and Smithsonian Folkways, the course aims to provide opportunities in learning about world music cultures, with a special emphasis on those found in the rich cultural diversity of the Miami area. Directed and coordinated by Dr. Carlos Abril and assisted by Ms. Sandra Sanchez, the new workshop has brought together a diverse group of 19 participants for exploration of world music and dance, curriculum and instruction.

An exciting addition to Smithsonian Folkways' Certification, the new monthly workshop design allows participants to apply new experiences and skills learned in each course immediately to real-world educational settings. Participants can then share ideas, reflect, and provide feedback as sessions reconvene monthly and new skills are acquired and developed. The course is currently being led by a diverse faculty roster of outstanding traditional artist-musicians, experienced educators, and pedagogical experts, including:

Faculty include

  • Patricia Shehan Campbell (University of Washington) author, world music pedagogy expert
  • Nick Page (Mystic Chorale) composer, author, conductor, song leader
  • Ann Clements (Penn State University) conductor, author, music of Pacific and Oceania specialist
  • Alejandro Jimenez (World Music Press & Hal Leonard) arranger, music educator, Afro-Spanish-Caribbean music specialist
  • Carlos Abril (University of Miami) author, arranger, Cuban folk music specialist
  • Michelle Grant-Murray (Miami-Dade College) dancer, educator, choreographer, African diaspora specialist
  • Deborah Schwartz-Kates (University of Miami) author, Argentinean folk music specialist
  • Clifford Sutton (Florida Atlantic University) master percussionist, Latin American music specialist

Guided by the expertise of faculty and the Smithsonian Folkways' resources, participants have explored musics of Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, and Southeast Asia. Music of Oceania and the Pacific Islands will be explored in the new year. Participants experience world music through singing, playing, dancing, and learning about musical cultures while working with a wide-range of world music resources. These experiences are enhanced through lectures, exercises, and discussions of various subjects ranging from cultural history and influences, traditions, and song element characteristics, to teaching and performance techniques, and overall pedagogy development. The sessions are being documented through an interactive digital repository of resources initiated by Carlos Abril. Due to the periodic nature of the new course design, this tool is providing an invaluable resource of artifacts, sample lessons, and information for participants to recover instantaneously. The resource can be found at

Following the guidelines of Smithsonian Folkways' World Pedagogy Certification, the course will culminate with a presentation of participant-created pedagogical projects developed throughout the course length. While projects are still in the incubation stage, interest has been shown in creating a variety of projects, including lesson and curricular plans intended for publication on the Smithsonian Folkways website. Novel ideas are being discussed and many participants intend to explore and expand project direction beyond regions covered in workshops. The advantages of this optional certification course design hold exciting promises for the future of Smithsonian Folkways!