When conducting meets teaching, or the other way around

About six years ago, I moved to Singapore from the UK, where I had lived all my life. As much happiness as the move brought, it also involved saying goodbye — or at least au revoir — to Unlock the Music Singers, the choir I had formed and trained. My final concert with them was at the parish church in which I grew up and had been musical director, a building which boasted arguably the finest acoustics in Coventry for choral music. We performed Kodaly’s Pange Lingua, my favourite choral piece, and one I had fallen in love with whilst studying it during my Masters, and Purcell’s Come Ye Sons Of Art, which had become the choir’s signature piece.

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The ‘relevance’ question, and how to address it in the classroom

As an ethnomusicologist who both lectures at the university level, and teaches primary and secondary students, I take great interest in seeing the different perspectives students bring to a topic. This is compounded with my own research interests, which lead me to read a great deal of material which often seems abstract and impenetrable. I often ask myself what value a complex article in a journal can have to a student studying music at an IB level, or to an undergraduate whose dissertation I’m supervising. Within academia, it is not difficult to feel like life happens in — to borrow a phrase often used in the media these days — an ivory tower.

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