Educators often face the challenge of introducing students to unfamiliar material such as a scholarly article in a journal or a musical practice from a cultural or social system far removed from their own. It is difficult to help students become invested in something that doesn’t make sense or means very little to them, so educators often fall into the habit of saying things like, “This is an important concept because it’s something you need to know; it’s significant in the field you’re studying; it’s something that’s fundamental to a big idea,” — basically, “this is important because it’s important.” But if we want to convince someone of something, we need to know how and why it’s important, not just that it is important. We need to examine how we can bring students through this process of understanding what we may consider ‘important’.
One of the pleasures music-lovers enjoyed before the days of streaming, was going to a CD shop, choosing an album, and bringing it home to listen to it. It was certainly one of my favourite things to do in University. We consume music quite differently now of course — not necessarily better or worse, and this isn’t a discussion about technology in any case. I’d like to start this conversation by remembering a very specific aspect of the CD shop visit: stepping in, looking at albums on racks, and seeing them arranged by genre.Continue reading “Why Ethnomusicology: A Series”