Music in Transmission:
Teaching and Learning Traditional Music Today
The International Shakuhachi Festival Prague 2019, September 12 – 16, is an event dedicated to cultural and artistic exchange between Japanese and European contemporary music. Over the twelve years of its existence, it has become an important artistic, networking and educational platform for musicians, composers, scholars and artists. Its long-term goal is to expand its audience perception for sound.
Transmission of traditional music in modernizing and globalizing world has been an issue in various fields of music studies for several decades. In ethnomusicology, the discourses have historically entertained the notions of ‘preservation’ and ‘authenticity’ and ‘continuity’, of the ‘formal’ and the ‘informal’, of the ‘oral’ and the ‘visual’ or even of ‘cultural appropriation’ and ‘resistance’. Various traditional cultural institutions of musical transmission have been studied to understand both continuity and change under the conditions of globalization. New sites and ways of teaching and learning traditional instruments and singing techniques have constantly appeared in the globalizing world, especially in its better connected and more affluent parts, opening up the possibilities for fresh research perspectives.
Moreover, the technological boom has enabled an unprecedented availability of musical recordings, video tutorials and sophisticated music software enabling thus the potential for learning and/or reviving any kind of music in the world. Yet, the intimacy between the teacher and the learner, the oral transmission face to face, is still greatly appreciated and usually seen as indispensable for acquiring ‘the knowledge’ of an instrument or a singing technique in full. Indeed, neither an instrument, nor a voice are a ‘thing’, they are both always already cultured and socialized, and active actors playing their role in embodiment of the musical tradition and the culture they belong to.
What is this ‘knowledge’ musicians desire to teach and learners seek to learn today? Why do they do it? To what extent do they share or differ in their perspectives? How do various technologies influence the teaching/learning process today? What does the ‘mastering’ of a traditional instrument or a voice actually mean today? Who is the judge – the teacher, peer-musicians, the audience (and who is the audience)? What does teaching/learning traditional music entail and perhaps offer in the cross-cultural perspective? Does an instrument or a singing technique have an agency? How does an instrument ‘play’ the musician and how does a voice ‘sing’ her or his body? What is the role of institutions both ‘informal’ and ‘formal’ in the process of teaching/learning and what are the relationships between them in particular contexts? And why, in the first place, do people – still and anew – teach and learn ‘traditional music’ in the ‘modern world’?
Single day symposium
September 12, 2019
Prague, Czech Republic
Researchers in (ethno)musicology, music ethnology/folkloristics and music education as well as theorizing and reflective music teachers, learners and practitioners are encouraged to submit their proposals for 20-minute-long individual presentations which will be followed by a 10-minute-long discussion. Experience-based and ethnographic case studies- based presentations are particularly welcome. The abstracts must not exceed 300 words.
Selected papers with topics falling within the scope of musicology, ethnomusicology, organology and music theory will be published upon peer review in Živá Hudba/Living Music Review, the journal of the Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague.
Written papers, however, are not mandatory for the symposium presentations.
This symposium will be conducted in English.