Volume 13, No 2 (December 2004)

Gender Research in Music Education

Volume 13, Number 2 (December 2004)

In this issue:

1. Messages

A Call to Feminist Theory and Music 8, Elizabeth Keathley Co-Chair

2. Research Abstracts and Publications

Afrikaner women and Western art music in South Africa during the second half of the twentieth century, Maretha Davel

Swinging Back the Gender Pendulum: Addressing Boys’ Needs in Music Education Research and Practice, A preview of a chapter in Research to practice, Adam Adler and Scott Harrison

3. Calls for Papers

Feminist Theory and Music 8

Inter-Actions: Exploring diverse feminist perspectives
The Feminist Research Group (FRG)

4. Conference Reports

Women and Creativity at West Virginia University, Elizabeth KeathleyCSER 2004: The Second Annual Complexity Science and Education Research Conference, Robb MacKay

Forte ’04: the annual conference of the Ontario Music Educators Association (OMEA), Robb MacKay


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1. Messages

A Call to Feminist Music and Theory 8
Co-Chair Elizabeth Keathley

Dear GRIMErs,
You have probably seen on our list that the Eighth meeting of the Feminist Theory and Music conference will be hosted by the City University of New York, Graduate Center and New York University on 23-26 June 2005. These are critical times, and our commitment to our values—like teaching, learning, and gender equity—is more important than ever. Therefore, it would be uplifting to see GRIME make a strong presence at FTM8.

Roberta Lamb suggested that we submit a panel of papers dedicated to pedagogy issues, preferably by some less experienced scholars in GRIME. I am happy to coordinate this effort; any members wishing to participate in such a panel is welcome to e-mail me with their abstracts or ideas: elizabeth337@earthlink.edu . Alternatively, you could post them on the GRIME list for general discussion.

In addition, as I mentioned in the Summer/FAll newsletter, I thought it would be interesting for GRIME to conduct a forum or panel discussion on a gender and music education topic. The one I proposed in the last newsletter was suggested by several students: “women’s musical performance and visual delectation. With the increasing commercialization of even classical music, women musicians are expected to exhibit sex appeal as well as chops. How do or should we respond to this as teachers of music?” However, given the results of U.S. elections and the theme of the conference, perhaps it would be more fitting to discuss something related to gender and music education “in a post-9/11 world characterized by a conservative moralistic backlash” (See full call for papers below). Please contact me if you would like to be a panelist, but if you have ideas for a topic, please post them to the GRIME list so we can all brainstorm.

Finally, if you have agenda items for our business meeting, please let me know!

Notice that “proposals must be received via e-mail on 7 February 2005,” so those wishing to participate on the either the paper or discussion panel should act soon. Individual proposals should be e-mailed to ftm8.conference@nyu.edu . There have been some problems with the FTM8 website, so, in case it is not working when you try it, I give the call for papers again below.

Elizabeth Keathley elizabeth337@earthlink.net

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2. Research Abstracts and Publications

Afrikaner women and Western art music in South Africa during the second half of the twentieth century, Maretha Davel

South African researchers have begun, although belatedly, to explore the neglected field of research that is women and music. My use of the terms ‘neglected’ and ‘belated’ are intentional: to address them forms part of the motivation for undertaking this study. Little information is available on women in music in South Africa and are mostly confined to ethnological or
anthropological topics, for example the articles by Malobola (2001) and James (1999). Gender studies is a very recent addition to South African musicology.

The reasons for the neglect of women’s role in music appear obvious. Theories resulting from compensatory music history, sociology and ‘new musicology’ (Dibben 2002) are as applicable to a South African context as to the rest of world. The burden that falls on gender to explain behavior, practices, roles, and social organization is complicated, however, by South Africa’s unique history. Gender inequality seems trivial compared to the evils of apartheid (racism), social stratification and economic hardship. The musicological environment is further loaded with moral and political agendas, for example how to justify research into women’s role in music while sections of the population are dying of HIV/AIDS. In addition, women’s contributions to and involvement in music in South Africa have been obscured by male
achievements in a male-controlled discipline. I agree with Prof. Walton, in his introduction to the first conference on gender, sexuality and music in South Africa (2003), that the lack of enquiry on women’s matters in music in South Africa might be because of a particular unwillingness to discover the answers. In this context ‘Afrikaner women’ refers to white, Afrikaans speaking women from the Afrikaner or boere (farmer) community. The Afrikaner woman is struggling: she belongs to a minority race, her gender is considered previously disadvantaged and she is confined by stereotypical expectations in a religious community (Landman 2000). Although she has played a significant role in the political, social and cultural development of South Africa, she has little self-esteem and is absent from South African historiography (Loubser 2001, Giliomee 2003, Landman 2000). My study addresses her
position in the discipline of Western art music and focuses on the second half of the 20th century, a time of extraordinary change for the Afrikaner.


DIBBEN, N. 2002. Gender identity and music. In Musical Identities.
Edited by Raymond R. MacDonald, David Hargreaves and
Dorothy Miell. New edition. p.117-133. Oxford: Oxford
University Press.

GILIOMEE, H. 2003. The Afrikaner. Biography of a people. London:
Hurst & Company.

JAMES, D. 1999. Songs of the Women Migrants: Performance and Identity
in South Africa. Johannesburg: Wits University Press for the
International African Institute.

LANDMAN, C. 2000. Women using Culture against Women. In Women,
society and constraints: a collection of contemporary South
African gender studies. Pretoria: Unisa.

LOUBSER, H. 2001. Mevrou Vloerlap! In Die Huisgenoot. Issue 209,
June 14, p.120-121. Kaapstad: Huisgenoot.

MALOBOLA, J.N. 2001. Performance and Structure of Southern Ndebele
Female Folk Songs: Experiences of Womanhood. MA Thesis.
University of Pretoria.

Maretha Davel is currently living in the UK and working on a Masters in Music Education at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. mdavza@yahoo.com

Swinging Back the Gender Pendulum:
Addressing Boys’ Needs in Music Education Research and Practice

A preview of a chapter in Research to practice: a biennial series: Vol 2
Questioning the Music Education Paradigm, L Bartel (ed), Canadian Music
Educators Association, Toronto.

Adam Adler, Peel District School Board
Scott Harrison, Griffith University

In the last decade gender research in music education has been dominated by feminist theory, and has moved away from broader issues of gender to a narrower focus on girls and women’s needs and experiences in music education. While this has been an important and necessary shift, this chapter makes an attempt at recognising (or re-recognising) the value of gender research in music education that focuses on issues that span a gender spectrum that includes female and male gender research in music education.

The chapter critically examines gender research in music education as it has developed since the early 1990s. Taking a post-feminist stance, the impact of feminist theory on music education research as it relates to the subordination and exclusion of males, is problematized with a view to establishing a stance we have called a critical genderist perspective. Gender and identity as they relate to males’ engagement in education and music are discussed.

Schooling and music education are problematized from this critical
genderist perspective, to illuminate structures and practices that contribute to a gendered social hierarchy that negatively affects the participation of both males and females in music. Practices that may aid in building a gender-equitable music education experience for all students are offered.

Dr Scott Harrison
Lecturer, Music Education
Griffith University
Ph (07) 38755734 (Room M_09 1.123, Mt Gravatt Campus)
Ph (07) 38756159 (Room 3.13, Queensland Conservatorium)
email: scott.harrison@griffith.edu.au

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3. Call for Papers

Feminist Theory and Music 8

City University of New York, Graduate Center & New York University 23-26 June 2005 New York City

The eighth meeting of the biennial conference Feminist Theory and Music will take place from Thursday, 23 June to Sunday, 26 June 2005 in New York City at the CUNY Graduate Center and New York University.

One focus of this year’s conference will be the relationship of gender, sexuality, and race to the variety of musics in New York City. Additionally, we welcome proposals that consider the implications of feminist and queer music scholarship in a post-9/11 world characterized by a conservative moralistic backlash. As always, the Feminist Theory and Music conference invites contributions on all aspects of musical inquiry, drawing on feminism, gender studies, women’s studies, queer studies, critical race theory, postcolonial studies, and area studies/ethnic studies from cross-disciplinary perspectives. Composers whose work engages any of these areas are also invited to submit proposals for presentations on their music.

For a 20-minute presentation, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words, along with your contact information (name, address, phone number, email address, and affiliation if any) and a list of audiovisual requirements. Please send your proposal via e-mail to ftm8.conference@nyu.edu. We also welcome proposals for alternative formats such as panel/forum discussions and lecture-performances. Such proposals should provide a detailed description of the session and the names and roles of the participants in an abstract of no more than 500 words.

For information on the conference, please visit www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/music/ftm8. Performance tapes or CDs for possible lecture-performances should be mailed to Prof. Ellie Hisama, Ph.D. Program in Music, City University of New York, 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016 USA-please include a stamped, self-addressed postcard or your e-mail address for confirmation of receipt.

Proposals must be received via email by 7 February 2005.

Program Committee

Suzanne G. Cusick and Ellie M. Hisama (co-chairs), Farah Jasmine Griffin, Marion A. Guck, Tomie Hahn, Elizabeth Hoffman, Anahid Kassabian, Martha Mockus, Annie Janeiro Randall, Martin Scherzinger, and Sherrie Tucker

Feminist Theory and Music 8 is cosponsored by the Ph.D./D.M.A. Program in Music, City University of New York; Department of Music, New York University; Institute for Studies in American Music, Brooklyn College, CUNY; Women’s Studies Certificate Program, Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, and Continuing Education and Public Programs, CUNY Graduate Center; and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality and the Program in Women’s Studies, New York University.

Inter-Actions: Exploring diverse feminist perspectives

The Feminist Research Group (FRG) invites you to submit a proposal for presentation at the 6th annual Feminist Research Group Conference May 5-7, 2005 at the University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

The conference features feminist research and creative activity completed by graduate and exceptional undergraduate students across many disciplines.

The international and multidisciplinary conference is a three-day event that will feature several half-day workshops and a combination of paper presentations, panel presentations, poster presentations, and interactive poster presentations as well as other creative presentations (e.g., short plays, musical compositions).

If you would like to present your work, please complete a 250-word summary of your work on the Conference Submission Form at http://www.uwindsor.ca/frg/submissions. Works in progress are encouraged.

* Submission deadline: February 1, 2005 *

Please visit our website at
http://www.uwindsor.ca/frg for more information regarding this year’s conference and previous conferences. If you have any questions, please
contact Rebecca Purc-Stephenson at frg@uwindsor.ca or at (519) 253-3000 x2256.

Feminist Research Group (FRG)
University of Windsor
Windsor, ON N9B 3P4
Phone: (519)253-3000 ext. 2256

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4. Conference Reports

Women and Creativity at West Virginia University

My UNCG colleague Constance McKoy and I participated in the Women and Creativity Conference at WVU in Morgantown, WV, October 13-15, 2004, hosted by WVU’s College of Creative Arts and its Center for Women’s Studies. The conference theme was “Examining the Past/Composing the Future,” so predictably music was well represented, something that is not always true of interdisciplinary conferences. Libby Larsen, who has been a Women’s Studies Resident this year, gave a fine keynote address, “The Artist’s Search for Voice: Synthetic Structure or Organic Utterance,” in which she discussed her own creative process, illustrating her points with her own compositions, and her music was featured in several of the concerts and lecture recitals that were part of the conference.

As Connie’s field is music education and mine is music history, we presented interrelated papers that attempted to address a common problem: women’s erasure as a result of our composer-centered paradigm of musical production and consumption. Here is our abstract:

“Post-structuralist thinkers Foucault, Barthes, and Derrida have called into question conventional definitions of authorship, replacing the “Author-God” with “infrastuctural networks” of persons who create and interpret texts. Creativity, in this account, does not reside in the individual author alone, but rather is shared by a community of authors, readers, and others. While this concept of authorship has evoked mixed responses in literary circles, it has had virtually no impact on classical music scholarship and audiences, where the author (composer) is still king. One indication of the composer’s entrenchment as sole creator is music history textbooks’ dearth of information about others in musical “infrastructural networks.” This imbalance extends to scholarly music literature, which remains centered on composers and their works, and to commonplace formulations that devalue teachers (“those who can’t do teach”) and figure performers as mere technicians whose role it is to realize “the composer’s intentions.” This panel seeks to de-center the composer and to argue that the projects of women teachers and historians contribute creatively and significantly to musical culture.

“The composer-centered view of musical creativity has particularly severe ramifications for women, for whom composition has not been a widely available option until quite recently, and whose musical creativity has more commonly found its expression in the relatively devalued, “feminized” roles of teacher, performer, patron, and helpmeet. While feminist music scholars have resuscitated women composers of the past, supported women composers of the present, and applied feminist criticism to the musical canon—work of unquestionable value—they have devoted less attention to musical women in traditionally feminine roles, thus reaffirming the notion that men’s projects are more significant than women’s and that the roles of teachers and patrons, for example, are fallback positions for women who lack the talent and commitment to undertake composition.

“While rank-and-file music teachers are predominantly female, the towering figures of the history of music education (Lowell Mason, Carl Orff, Zoltan Kodaly, and Emile-Jacques Dalcroze) were men, replicating the “feminine” nature/ “masculine” culture ideology identified by Sherry Ortner (1974) and others: women may be bearers of culture, inculcating community values in successive generations, yet they may never be makers of culture. To the contrary, although Frances E. Clark, Anna Lechner, Sarah Glover, and Barbara Andress, for example, lack the immediate name recognition of their male counterparts, their work has influenced the theoretical foundations underlying best practices in music teaching and learning. Thus, inasmuch as music education transmits musical culture from one generation to the next, those who develop creative pedagogical approaches may be said to be among the makers of that culture.

“In contrast to traditionally female vocations, the writing of music history has been a predominantly male preserve until the late twentieth century. The historical writing of Marion Bauer (1877-1955) transgressed the boundary of that preserve, sometimes with the collaboration of Ethel Peyser (b. 1887), whose non-musical writing concerned home economics. Bauer’s 1933 volume Twentieth-century Music imagined the music of a century still young, guided listeners, and influenced subsequent composition.”

We especially enjoyed another music pedagogy-oriented paper, “Challenges, Innovations, Legacies: Female Piano Teachers and Performers,” by Connie Arrau Sturm of the Division of Music, WVU. Sturm gave a striking account of American women’s significance in the advancement of piano pedagogy and of music more generally in the early twentieth century. Overcoming early gender stereotypes of appropriate instruments, performance venues, repertoire, pay scales, and professional capabilities, these women not only propagated American pianism, but also changed the character of its pedagogy through their innovative teaching, authorship of method books and journal articles, and workshop presentations. The child-centered, age-appropriate piano instruction we now associate with American piano pedagogy is part of their legacy. Moreover, women’s work in music clubs supported American composers and young performers, and spurred the development of school music programs in their support of music teachers and development of plans of study. In spite of their near erasure in historical accounts, these women’s contributions to the growth of American musical culture can scarcely be overestimated (paraphrased from Sturm’s abstract).

Another highlight was a lecture recital on Clara Schumann’s piano trio in G minor, op. 17, given by Christine Kefferstan of WVU. As I learn over and over, never underestimate the power of live music! I have heard this work on various recordings a number of times, but never heard it in such detail or with as much pleasure as I did at Kefferstan’s lecture recital.

There were several other lecture recitals—unfortunately we could not attend them all—of works spanning many genres and periods, all composed by women, a wonderful recital of “Chamber Music by American Women Composers” played by WVU artist faculty, and “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues,” a performance by Carla Daruda. The evening symphony concert featured psalms settings for chorus and orchestra by Lili Boulanger and a violin concerto by Libby Larsen beautifully played by Laura Kobayashi, violinist of the WVU faculty.

Among the many other fascinating papers and events in other disciplines, I was particularly enlightened by a panel on “progressive educator . . . Elsie Ripley Clapp [who] drew upon a nurturing pedagogy as a critical element in her work in the 1920s and 1930s . . . in Kentucky and . . . West Virginia,” and by the artwork of Blanche Lazelle (1878-1956), a significant modernist from West Virginia (who knew?). These two were among several events that investigated the creativity of women in the region, something that gave the conference a distinctive character. A disadvantage of the emphasis on the local, however, was the relatively small number of events concerning women of color, although Lynda Lambert and Valora Blackson’s panel on representations of race and gender in the visual art of Howardena Pindell, Elizabeth Asche Douglas, and Kara Walker was a welcome exception.

Visual art, cinema, dance, theater, and literature were all represented at the conference, and there were promising-looking ancillary art tours and optional activities in conjuction with Arts Monongahela—really an action-packed two and a half days. There were some interdisciplinary sessions, but not enough of these for my taste. This is a problem I have yet to see overcome in multi-disciplinary feminist or women’s conferences: the way panels are put together often does not encourage people to venture beyond their own discipline. Nonetheless, our overall assessment of the conference was quite positive, and I would encourage GRIME members to consider partipating or attending the conference in the future. They are not held annually, so watch for announcements, or you might consider adding your name to the Center for Women’s Studies’ mailing list. The information for the recent conference is still on their website, so you may wish to have a look: http://www.as.wvu.edu/wmst/wvuwomenandcreativity.htm

Elizabeth Keathley elizabeth337@earthlink.net

CSER 2004: The Second Annual Complexity Science and Education Research Conference, Chaffey’s Locks, ON, September 30 – October 3, 2004

Last year I read a book called Inventions of Teaching: A Genealogy, by Brent Davis, a mathematician and complexity theorist from the University of Alberta. I was very impressed by Davis’ clear writing style and compelling arguments about what he thinks are the roots of many of the difficulties faced by modern educators, and I thought if I ever had the chance to see him speak, I would jump at it. That chance presented itself this past September, just down the road from Queen’s, so I jumped.

CSER 2004 was organized and hosted by GRIMEr Rena Upitis and her colleague at Queen’s Faculty of Education, Rebecca Luce-Kapler. For those of you not familiar with our neck of the woods, Chaffey’s Locks is part of the Rideau Canal, built in the mid-1800s to provide a route for British ships around a particularly treacherous stretch of the St. Lawrence River. The stretch of river in question was tricky partly due to narrows that caused white water. The narrows also made easier targets of British ships, allowing the Americans of the time to indulge in their pesky habit of firing on these vessels. The conference was held at The Opinicon, an old style lock-side lodge akin to the one featured in the movie Dirty Dancing. This was a naturally beautiful and relaxing setting in which to open one’s mind to some grand new ideas that begin, upon further inspection, to look suspiciously like common sense.

The keynote address, “The Schoolhouse in the Knowledge Age: Lessons in Complexity and Learning,” was delivered by Elizabeth Morley, Principal of the Institute of Child Studies, University of Toronto. Morley recounted her faculty’s experiences in allowing students great freedom to set the pace and focus of their studies. In one case, a class project that began as an effort to restore a garden plot adjacent to the school turned into a class’ year-long obsession with worms. She said that, though she did not realize it at the time, she and her colleagues and their students were engaged in “slow-schooling.” Her talk set a comfortable and inviting tone for the entire conference. Later, when another participant asked all who were present to “invite chaos and trust complexity,” we all understood that his invitation was the very thing that goes on at Morley’s school.

During the three-day conference, we discussed themes of schools as nested communities, where both bottom-up and top-down organization occurs, and the possibility of replacing a pedagogy of transmission with a pedagogy of creativity, where the former implies knowledge that is a static quantity to be transferred from a teacher to a student, and the latter acknowledges teachers’ and students’ co-creation of knowledge. I was particularly struck by complexivist Jeffrey Bloom’s idea of a “resiliency toolbox.” According to Bloom, educators cannot possibly predict the coming social, political, and economic (etc.) forces to which their students will need to adapt, and so the best we can do is to help students build a personal “toolbox” to help them be as flexible and creative as they can be in the face of the unpredictable future. This is, of course, a gross simplification of the weekend’s discussions of complexity theory and its implications for education.

Complexity theory appears to me to be very compatible with feminist theory and its implications for music education. Principles that seem to lie at the heart of these two critical theories (or families of critical thought) are the necessity to break down hegemonies and the individual’s obligation to question the status quo.

Through this conference, I gained some insight into a field that appears to have staggering implications for the social sciences. It was a truly international conference that attracted educators and philosophers from across North America, Australia, and Europe, and despite the fact that I am a tyro complexivist, I was welcomed as valued contributor to informal discussion. This inclusiveness is another trait I find that the complexivists share with music and gender researchers.

A personal highlight of the weekend was “Singing Lessons: A Hidden Pedagogy,” performed by GRIMEr Katharine Smithrim. With piano accompaniment by Rena Upitis and some beautiful slides, Katharine gave the enthralled crowd an abridged version of the story of her professional singing career. Her story will be with me for some time and I heartily encourage anyone who might have the opportunity to see Katharine’s “Singing Lessons,” to do so.

As a result of my participation in this conference, I have read a great deal on complexity theory over the past two months. I have written a lengthy annotated bibliography, which is available for any GRIMErs who are intrigued by the contributions that complexity theory could make to our work in gender and music. In the mean time, please have a look athttp://www.complexityandeducation.ualberta.ca/ for a very informed starting point.

Robb MacKay mackayr@post.queensu.ca

Forte ’04: the annual conference of the Ontario Music Educators Association (OMEA), Toronto, ON, November 25 – 27, 2004.

In a slightly less bucolic setting than Chaffeys’ Locks, I attended Forte’04 at the end of November. The conference took place at the Double Tree Plaza, at the end of a runway at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. This was primarily a music teachers’ resource conference and I am not sure I would have gone if it had not been my first “away game,” a chance to present the beginnings of my research outside of Queen’s. I think that these kinds of events are very important for in-service and pre-service music teachers to attend because they offer many opportunities to refresh and expand one’s teaching philosophy and repertoire, but my own attention was focused primarily on my poster presentation and the brief talk that was to accompany it.

Coincidentally, GRIMEr Rena Upitis was the keynote speaker. Her presentation, “Why the Arts Matter,” was very well received by the mostly female audience. Many times at OMEA I felt that I was a stranger in a strange land, but Rena’s talk helped me ground myself a bit, as I am familiar with her work with GRIMEr Katharine Smithrim on “Learning Through The Arts.” That research, as well as Rena’s experience teaching music at an inner-city school in Boston, was the frame for Rena’s presentation.

Forte ’04 seems to have stretched the resources of this conference centre past its capacity. We felt this strain particularly during the poster session, for which AV equipment arrived late and was not all-together functional, and there were neither enough tables nor really adequate space for this session. However, as much as I was focused on my own presentation, I very much enjoyed GRIMEr Liz Gould’s presentation, “The Compositional Dance and Music Education: Remembering Flight,” and one by Linda MacArthur, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, on the effects of parental involvement in music education and the gender differences her study has revealed in this area.

I was pleased, if sometimes bemused, by the reception of my own poster and talk, “And on bass guitar . . . ! Women’s role ’n rock.” One person said that she “enjoyed my irony” (I hope that we found irony in the same parts of my presentation) and another wanted to know what kind of person my mother is and if I helped out with housework when I was a teen. I managed to recruit a few new GRIMErs at this presentation, and for that I would also consider this to have been a successful outing. In retrospect, it might have been more fruitful for OMEA to have had us mount our posters in a prominent place for the duration of the conference, to generate more discussion and, possibly, greater attendance at our presentations – maybe next year.

My work was not done, though, after my presentation: field research reared its critical head the next day at a percussion clinic I attended. I have been playing drums for nearly 30 years now, and I will go out of my way to see how others teach my calling, and so I offer the following observations with caution. Most of the participants in this clinic were women. Most of these women were not percussionists. Most of the non-percussionists treated the instruments in this session as though they were venomous. There was no sense of play or joy in their approach to learning about this alien musical form and many of these teachers seemed genuinely afraid of approaching the rear of their music classes where, seemingly, there be dragons. Conversely, many of these same women were very comfortable, and obviously very talented and thoughtful, during sessions we shared on Orff and Dalcroze. “What is going on?” I asked knowingly. If I hadn’t had adequate impetus to continue researching gender and music before I attended OMEA last month, I certainly would have had my interest rekindled by observing the gender divisions in music education played out so “Forte.”

Robb MacKay mackayr@post.queensu.ca

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