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Past Courses for Teachers

Report from Smithsonian Folkways’ 5th Annual Certification Course in World Music Pedagogy

June 24-28, 2013
University of Washington School of Music
Seattle, WA

For the fifth year running, Smithsonian Folkways’ Certification Course in World Music Pedagogy, held annually at the University of Washington-Seattle’s School of Music, has come to a successful close. Initiated by Smithsonian Folkways and supported by an inter-agency agreement with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the workshop brought together a diverse group of teachers and staff to train in pedagogical methods for addressing international music curricula. Directed by ethnomusicological education expert and Smithsonian Folkways advisory board chair Patricia Shehan Campbell, and supported by music education assistants Christopher Roberts and Amanda Soto, this year’s intensive workshop brought together sixteen participants for five days of ethnomusicological exploration.

Participants converged on the UW campus from Japan, Mexico, Chile, and Canada, as well as from across the United States, to share their experiences in music pedagogy and learn new skills for diversity education. Through lectures, performance ensembles, curriculum development, listening expercises, and discussion sessions, participants experienced musics from around the world, and were exposed to a variety of teaching methods, tools, and pedagogical skills that they may activate in their home classrooms.

Based on Smithsonian Folkways’ music collection, participants explored music from India, Brazil, Senegal, Mexico, Tanzania, Indonesia, and Bulgaria. Topics ranged from culturally contigent notions of song structure, rhythm, and melody, to performance skills and student engagement techniques. Several music ensembles were experienced onsite, providing crucial opporunities to “learn through doing” while interacting with culture-bearers trained in diverse musical traditions.

In the final days of the program, Smithsonian Folkways’ education specialist, Meredith Holmgren, spoke to the group about Smithsonian Folkways’ education priorities and new strategies for engaging the education sector. The importance of technological reach, accessibility, innovative curricular themes, and cultural heritage discourse were all emphasized.

At the close of the program, each participant shared a project that they had been working on throughout the week. The most common projects centered on developing new, international music curricula to be hosted on the Smithsonian Folkways website. These curricula encompassed musical themes such as the American blues, Georgian folk songs, Indian rhythm, Acadian folk music, and locomotor pedagogy based on the music of Madagascar.

Smithsonian Folkways thanks all of this year’s participants for bringing their exceptional skills, active engagement, and open minds to the 2013 Certification Course in World Music Pedagogy. Stay tuned to the Smithsonian Folkways website for announcements about future workshops, which are posted on a rolling basis. Hope to see you next year!