|MEMBERSHIP: A $ by your name on the mailing label means your membership is due. Membership is $3.00 (US or Canadian currency acceptable. Our apologies: we can no longer accept UK currency). Make cheques payable to Queen’s University. Send cheques, names & addresses (add e-mail &/or phone number, if you wish) to: Dr. Roberta Lamb, School of Music, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6.|
In this issue:
1. Annual GRIME Meeting
2. Upcoming Conferences
2.1 Philosophy of Music Education, International Symposium III
2.2 International Congress on Women in Music
2.3 Feminist Theory and Music 4
2.4 Music, Education and Gender Conference
3. Conference Reviews
3.1 Women, Music and Gender Institute
3.2 Critical Thinking in Music: Theory and Practice, Symposium VI
3.3 Society for Ethnomusicology, 41st Annual Meeting
3.4 Re: SEM
3.5 Sung & Unsung Jazz Women in Brooklyn
4. World Wide Web
4.1 GRIME list-serve
4.2 The IAWM
5. GRIME Members’ Music
6. GRIME Members’ Research
7. MGEN Newsletter
8. New M.Ed. Specialization in Gender Equity
9. GRIME Newsletter
Our 1997 meeting will be at the Feminist Theory and Music Conference 4 at the University of Virginia. Joan Bentley-Hoffman, <jhoffman@MIDWAY.UCHICAGO.EDU>, is organizing it. As part of the business meeting we need to raise the newsletter fee (your editor recommends $6). Topic for discussion? Informal panel? Contact Joan with your ideas. We need to submit our plan to FTM4 by 1 February, 1997.
Anthony J. Palmer, University of Hawai’i at Manoa and Frank Heuser, University of California, Los Angeles: Co-Chairs
CALL FOR PAPERS: Any subject that describes the relationship between philosophy and practice, proposes new philosophies, develops new ideas or insights about present philosophies, or offers a critique of philosophy of music education itself will be accepted for review. Papers should be no longer than can be read in 25 minutes, approx. 10-12 typed pages, double-spaced. Completed papers are to be submitted postmarked no later than 31 January, 1997, without identification on the paper, but sent with a cover letter with the author’s name and title of the paper. A blind review
will be completed and the authors notified within a reasonable time. Complete details on the symposium regarding housing, registration, and so on, were sent out this Fall.
SEND PAPERS OR WRITE FOR INFORMATION TO: Anthony J. Palmer, Music Dept., Univ. of Hawai’i at Manoa, 2411 Dole St, Honolulu HI 96822-2318, Fax: (808) 956-9657
The International Alliance for Women in Music is pleased to announce plans for
the next International Congress on Women in Music to take place May 29, 30, 31 and June 1, 1997 at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia California, north of Los Angeles. The focus of this year’s conference is on Professional Career Development and Enhancement with a special emphasis on opportunities in commercial music. Some 300 participants are expected from 17 countries. The last ICWM was held in Vienna, Austria in 1995.
Each day will begin with Power Breakfasts with topics like Composing As A Small
Business; The Home Office/Studio; Developing a Personal Support Network; How to Get Commissioned or To Commission a New Work. A series of keynote lectures are being planned by prominent women musicologists. The following workshops are being planned: Point-of-Purchase Publishing; Orchestrators and Arrangers Workshop; Dealing With Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination; Producing Your Own Compact Disc: Paths and Pitfalls; Creating Music for CD-ROM products; Music for the 21st Century: Reality Check; Contracts and Fees, and the Art of Negotiating; WEB Wizards and Opportunities for Musicians; and Music Supervisors, Producers, Licensers, and Supplementary
Careers for Composers.
Other highlights of the weekend include a performance of the Long Beach Symphony
conducted by JoAnn Falletta in a premiere performance of Barbara Kolb’s All In
Good Time; a boat tour of Long Beach Harbor; a concert of chamber music performed by distinguished CalArts faculty members; a Hildegard Von Bingen Sing-Along, and special luncheons speakers. The weekend will conclude with the IAWM Annual Board Meeting.
Registration for the weekend is $175 plus accommodation and meals. These are available in the CalArts dormitory and food service from Wednesday evening through Sunday at a cost of $175 per person ($110 for meals only). There are several other reasonably-priced hotels near CalArts. Participants may fly into LAX, but Burbank Airport is closer to CalArts (both airports have inexpensive transportation to the Institute). Arrangements are being made to accommodate families and for childcare.
For more information, contact Jeannie Pool, ICWM Coordinator, P.O. Box 8192, La Crescenta, CA 91224-0192, USA, or by e-mail at Compuserve <73201,firstname.lastname@example.org> or by fax at 818-248-8681.
The Program Committee invites proposals for Feminist Theory and Music 4, an interdisciplinary conference to be held on the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, June 5-8, 1997. This is the fourth in a series of biannual conferences on feminist studies of music (Minneapolis, 1991;
Rochester, 1993; Riverside, 1995).
All proposals that consider music in relation to feminism, women’s studies, gender studies, and lesbian/gay/queer studies are welcome. There are no restrictions on kinds of music,
approaches and methods, or academic fields of the presenters.
We particularly encourage submissions that highlight one or more of the following concerns: (1) the relationship of race,
ethnicity and/or class to feminist thinking about music; (2) the use of ethnomusicological methods for such thinking, or the implication of feminist theory for ethnomusicological research; (3) music-making by women in contemporary life, including the work of living women composers; (4) gender concerns in relation to avant-garde musics such as electronic music and performance
art. As at previous conferences, we will welcome offerings on current popular music and the history of European art music.
While we expect that many presentations will take the form of 20-minute scholarly papers, we are open to other uses of the
20-minute time, including presentations that are innovative in format (for instance, presentations that involve performance,
collaboration, interaction, or forms of discourse that are not traditional in academic settings).
Proposals should be at most 250 words, stating the goal or argument of the presentation, explaining its contribution to
feminist studies of music, and identifying any unusual aspects of format or presentation. Proposals may be submitted electronically or in hard copies. We cannot accept proposals by
We strongly encourage electronic submission by sending email to <email@example.com>. Email submissions must be sent by midnight February 1, 1997. Email submissions should include the author’s name, address, and phone number (these will be deleted when the message is sent to the Program Committee). Email submissions will be acknowledged by email reply.
If you prefer you may submit hard copies by mailing 15 copies of a 1-page proposal to Fred E. Maus, Feminist Theory and Music, Department of Music, University of Virginia,
Charlottesville VA 22903. The postmark deadline for submission of hard copies is February 1, 1997. Enclose a cover letter
giving the author’s name, address, and phone number and the title of the proposal. The proposal itself should not reveal the author’s identity. Enclose a stamped, self-addressed
postcard if you want acknowledgment of receipt.
We welcome requests that a room and time be set aside for a study group, meeting of an organization, or other gathering. We will consider proposals for longer papers, panel discussions, or “special sessions” devoted to a single topic, though the possibilities for scheduling such sessions are limited. Proposals for events other than 20-minute presentations may be up to 400 words in length and may identify the participants if
appropriate for evaluation of the proposal. Submit electronically or in hard copies as described above.
Program committee for FTM4: Paul Attinello, Suzanne Cusick (co-chair), Linda Dusman, Rita Felski, Sophie Fuller, Kyra Gaunt, Ellie Hisama, Ellen Koskoff, Roberta Lamb, Fred Maus (co-chair), Martha Mockus, Eva Rieger, Carolina Robertson, Deborah Wong, and Elizabeth Wood.
CALL FOR PAPERS:
The organizers are seeking papers on gender issues in relation to music education. The terms of the debate are to be interpreted broadly including issues relating to girls and boys, women and men involved in learning or teaching any kind of music. The educational setting may be formal or informal, individual or group, from nursery to university, inside or outside any institutional context. Central questions will include how gender features in music educational practices and how they are constructed, perpetuated or challenged through music education. Interpretations of these questions and relevant alternative perspectives will also be welcome.
Proposals for Music, Education and Gender Conference: Abstracts of c 200 words should be sent by January 13, 1997 to:
Dr. Lucy Green
Institute of Education
University of London
Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL
Further information and registration forms from:
Bath College of Higher Education
Newton St. Loe, Bath BA2 9BN
3.1 Women, Music and Gender Institute, 17-22 June, 1996, College Music Society at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana brought together leading scholars and musicians in the field of women’s music. Musicologists Judith Tick and Liz Wood, as well as ethnomusicologist Virginia Giglio presented thought-provoking papers and discussions on Ruth Crawford Seeger; Ethel Smyth; and Southern Cheyenne women’s songs, dances and shawl-making, respectively. Additional presentations included gender, race, and rap music by Porltia Maultsby; Art songs of Marion Bauer by Peggy Horrocks; “Being Female and a Concert Pianist” by Sandra Brown; and compositional procedures in relating to female subject material by Joan Epstein and Chris Barton. Live musical events included the routine songfest of women’s choral music directed by Michelle Edwards, as well as lecture/recitals on Latin-American Women’s music by pianist Nohema Fernandez; French Organ Music by Women Composers by Laurence Archbold; Libby Larsen’s solo clarinet “Dancing Solo” by Caroline Hartig; Contemporary piano music by women by Nanette Kaplan Solomon; and chamber works of Clara Schumann performed by students of Indiana University School of Music.
Basic concepts of women’s issues–in biography, in music history, in women and music classes, in lesbian and gay musicology, in traditional cultures (American Black and Native)–were matters of focus throughout the Institute, with adept chairing and administering by Kay Hoke, musicologist at Butler University, Indianapolis.
The next Women, Music, and Gender Institute is being planned by CMS for 1998.
Submitted by Carol Ann Weaver
Carol Beynon (University of Western Ontario): Crossing Over From Music Student to Music Teacher: Negotiating an Identity: In this study Beynon used a dialogic process with a group of pre-service music students to investigate how student teachers learn to teach. By listening to their voices and analyzing their texts, I articulate some of the dilemmas which exist in the professional education of music teachers. Several contradictions emerge during the discourse which cause them, as emergent teachers, to feel a loss of control in their search for personal meaning as teachers. Four critical phases are identified in learning to teach as students alter their personal, naive expectations and begin to reconceptualize their earlier views of teaching.
Situated in the conceptual context of critical theory, there are two important dimensions to this study- the identification of what is in the process of learning to teach and the determination of what should be in the professional education of music teachers.
This study exposes several important issues in music teacher education. It illuminates the intensive acculturation process that student teachers experience during student teaching which leaves them positioned to take up the existing values and practices of the current educational system. At the same time, the study demonstrates an almost total lack of continuity between university-based education courses and the practicum experience. As a result, the age-old dichotomous gap between theory and practice and widened. Finally, the study demonstrates the need for substantive change in the way music students are prepared to become teachers.
Faculties of education and undergraduate music education programs are not encapsulated institutions. If new music teachers are to be prepared to become teachers with a critical orientation toward education and the teaching of music, those institutions and professional programs will have to undergo radical change.
Karen Frederickson (Queen’s University): Beyond Critical: Metacognition for Teacher Training: Music teacher training in North America has frequently taken the form of technical training, with the primary goal as expertise in performance skills. The assumption has been that included in skilled performance is the knowledge of the subject, with the ability to plan for the instruction of others. This approach has served music education well for generations, but the needs of music education in the twenty-first century, especially in North American schools, will be considerably different and require other skills.
Music teachers in the next century will teach a wider range of students, including those who come from a greater cultural diversity than ever before. They will need more flexibility, more toleration for stress, and will need to be more adaptable. research on teachers’ thought processes and the teaching of thinking, including metacognition, has demonstrated that changing teachers’ inner thought processes results in improving overt behaviours that enhance student learning. Inaddition, improving the pattern of adult interactions in a school strongly influences the learning environment and the institutional outcomes for students (Costa, 1994).
Referring to this research, a deliberate attempt was made to facilitate metacognition in a pre-service music education class at Queen’s University. The assumptions were made that 1) thinking is not tied to specific subject matter, and 2) it is habitual, with the potential for change.
Mary Hookey (Faculty of Education, Nipissing University): Critical Thinking as a Focus in an Undergraduate Music Education Course for Non-Music Majors: Despite the focus on the education of young musicians as music educators, the reality is that in many school systems classroom teachers have the responsibility for instruction in music and the other arts. The instructional goals of classroom teachers have been viewed as extending only to socialization and enculteration (Boardman, 1992; Bresler, 1993). The education of non-music majors is only very recently being researched seriously (Hookey, 1994-95). Educators in music and education faculties began organized meetings about six years ago during which the issues surrounding the training of non-music majors were systematically addressed. Textbooks for courses in elementary classroom music for non-music specialists contain a mix of theory and practical approaches to engaging with the elements of music through singing, listening and analyzing, creating, playing and movement.
My personal teacher research (Cochrane-Smith and Lytle, 1991) is an analysis of the process of discovering what the explicit use of critical and creative thinking might mean for my students and for myself as instructor as we work toward understanding elementary music education. It is based on my ongoing reflections on the present course, on my analysis of materials which link music education and critical and creative thinking, and on an analysis of learning logs, assignments, and the final examination. My preliminary analysis indicates that the concept of critical thinking provides non-music majors with a framework not only for engaging personally with music but for developing activities that would engage elementary school learners in learning that extends beyond socialization and enculteration.
Charlene Morton (OISE): Critical Thinking and Non-Rationality: My Musical Friends: In this paper, I (Morton) present my reservations about embracing critical thinking as a central facet of school curriculum. My reservations stem from the premise that, by upholding the centrality of rationality in school curricula, music education may further displace non-rationality as a key facet of learning. I argue that, because of an epistemological bias for “pure” intellection and against corporeal experience, the emotive, the sensory, and the physical (most readily attributed to the arts) are undervalued. consequently, we need to attend to a much broader understanding than that which lauds the amancipatory potential of rationality. Thus, this paper recommends that music educators not only adopt aspects of critical thinking that foster moral-political inquiry and reasoning skills but also affirm the fundamental importance of non-rationality in arts education.
Carol Richardson (University of New South Wales): The Roles of the critical Thinker in the Music Classroom: Drawing on wide theoretical and research base, this paper explores the critical thinking involved as students at all levels of musical expertise engage in musical experience in the roles of listener, critic, performer, and composer. The presentation will also deal with practical considerations of nurturing students’ critical thinking in music such as the role of the teacher, issues of power, the use of time, and questioning strategies.
Eleanor Stubley (McGill University): Thinking Critically or Thinking Musically: Defining Music Performance as Subject Matter: As the dawn of the twenty-first century approaches and we face a potentially irreversible cultural crisis in education, attention has become increasingly focused on the arts and their capacity to encourage critical thinking, the attitudeof mind that Socrates once defined as “the life-giving” force of all true education. To date, much of the debate in music education has centred on issues concerning implementation, with little consideration given to the ways in which critical thinking manifests itself in different types of musical experience. The result has been an instructional approach in which teachers formulated questions to encourage students to become “musical problem solvers.”
The purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which this instructional approach has achieved its intended outcomes. Using Socrates’ own words and techniques as a standard, discussion will unfold in a narrative format designed to reveal the sense in which musical performance can itself be considered a form of musical thinking. Drawing on the experience of musicians and students alike, the discussion will have practical implications for the definition of musical performance as subject matter at all levels of instruction.
Judith M. Teicher (University of Washington): Bhajan Singing in Seattle: The Reurbanization of a Sacred Tradition: The emigration of Indian people to urban centres around the world has been considered a “brain drain” to India, but it has added a new dimension to the sacred Indian traditions, both in India and abroad. Indians who had focused their lives on education and career often resume these traditions with greater commitment and purpose. This, combined with the influence of the teachings of contemporary Jagadgurus (world teachers), and their widespread Western following, has propelled the globalization of the tradition of bhajan singing. The bhajana tradition, the roots of which can be traced to the vedas and, more recently, the 18th century bhakti movement, has survived the processes of primary and secondary urbanization in India. In the context of new urban centres in the West, where Indian people have relocated and are joined by their non-Indian counterparts, the bhajana tradition shows evidence that the traditional and the modern can not only coexist and interact, but also thrive with renewed vigor. Based on the Redfield-Singer model of Little and Great Traditions, as well as field work among the participants of tow large bhajan groups in Seattle, the contemporary bhajan tradition is viewed as a globalized sacred tradition, transformed by worldwide participation and a pattern of deritualization and social mobility. While the tradition remains intact in the rural ashrams of these world teachers, their international networks negotiate cross-cultural modifications that retain their most vital aspects and contribute a traditional component to urban life.
Paula Conlon (Carleton University): The Tzinquaw Dancers: “This is the tale that is told by the O-whey-whey-ems (the Storytellers) of how, in the days of very long ago, Tzinquaw, the Thunderbird, and Quannis, the Killer-Whale, did battle in the waters of Cowichan Bay.” The Tzinquaw dancers of Cowichan Bay, led by Ray Peters, enact the story of Tzinquaw through music and dance. In the summer of 1995, I (Conlon) attended performances by the Tzinquaw Dancers in Duncan, British Columbia and at the First Nations Festival in Victoria, B.C.. I interviewed Ray Peters and members of the group and also studied documents regarding the Tzinquaw at the Royal British Columbia Museum Archives. This paper presents a glimpse into this contemporary cultural display, one of the few Northwest Coast ceremonies that is open to the public, and explores its function of presenting an insider’s view of First Nations culture to the outside world.
Kari Veblen (University of Limerick): Introduction to the Education Committee Sessions: These opening remarks orient participants to the morning sessions and [proposed] forum, posing central questions for educators. Why should music educators consider cultural heritages of multiple ethnic groups? What lessons may we take from teaching/learning practices of world cultures? How specific and how informed do educators need to be when teaching unfamiliar musics? These questions and others will be posed throughout the day and are intended to provoke dialogue.
Marie F. McCarthy (University of Maryland, College Park): Multiculturalism Begins at Home: Music in Schools and Their Communities: As the movement of multiculturalism in education develops, and schools turn back to their communities for renewal and inspiration, music educators are also looking to their school communities to support and enrich their multicultural curriculum, and to deepen its significance in children’s lives. Inorder to create music curricula based on community resources, music educators are developing fieldwork skills and techniques. This paper provides numerous examples of how in-service music teachers identify and make connections with musicians in the school community and at local ethnic festivals, gather folklife resources, involve musicians and dancers from diverse ethnic groups in their programs, and create multicultural musical materials based on their fieldwork. Audio- and videotape excerpts illustrate the teacher’s fieldwork projects, wherever possible, and the challenges confronted by them are discussed and resolutions identified. The sission also addresses the values inherent in using folklife music resources from the school community in the curriculum. They include cultural relevancy, inclusion of live performances, student empowerment and ownership of curricular materials, and meaningful schools through community connections and collaborations.
Virginia Caputo (York University): Rethinking “Culture”: Multiculturalism and Music Education: This paper examines the concept of culture and issues of identity in the debate surrounding multiculturalism and music education. Culture, as it has been conceived in the discourse of multiculturalism, is narrowly viewed by appealing to notions of boundedness, essence and homogeneity. It is a model of culture that does not allow for the ambiguities of lived experience. In the context of music education, these ambiguities emerge through tensions created in music and popular culture. That is, positioned against the ambivalence of the process of identity formation is the individuation of schooling. I (Caputo) argue that to engage critically in the discourse of multiculturalism and music education is to move away from a focus on content to an examination of process and a dynamic view of culture. Examples drawn from the author’s current ethnographic research with children (were) presented.
From: “Natalie R. Sarrazin” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Despite the inconveniences of the poor design and service of the hotel, I thought the conference to be rather successful. Much agreement that good papers were given. I was glad to see a “Learning” panel at the SEM as well as the regular education panels on Saturday morning, and that the education panels were in the same physical space as the rest of the conference. The existence of these two panels did work at cross-purposes. I’m not sure how many music educators received adequate information from the “Learning” session. Much of what was said did not address education issues nor was it of the ‘practical’ type of information educators look for.
This type of music was well addressed on Saturday morning, but I’m not sure how many SEMers attended the Education panel. I know of several people who attended the Vina concert and then left as soon as they heard the words “music education” uttered from Tim Rice’s lips. This refusal or unwillingness to hear about music ed. topics merely reinforces the stereotypes and marginalizes education’s position in society.
There was much interest in the area of gender and music studies, many of it to packed houses which bodes well, but since I actually saw very few of these sessions, I’ll certainly let others speak to the topic…
featured four panels, a keynote address by June Jordan, and closing notes by Angela Davis. In addition there were evening concerts featuring Abbey Lincoln, Jazzberry Jam!, Fostina Dixon & Winds of Change, Geri Allen: The Uptown String Quartet, DIVA, and No Man’s Band.
The scholarly panels included the following topics: The Women and Their Stories-discussion among jazzwomen-their musical
influences, inspirations, and personal stories. Speakers were: Valerie Capers, Terri Lyne Carrington, Fostina Dixon, Ethel Ennis, and Cecilia Smith. The Women and Their Music-lecture/demonstration focusing on vocal styles, instrumentalists, and composers. Presentors were Amina Claudine Myers and Cecilia Smith. Agents of Change: The Critics, Writers, Producers, Funders-discussion by
individuals who influence, interpret, and report on the art and work of jazzwomen. Speakers were Alexa Birdsong, producer; Reuben Jackson, jazz critic and archivist; Cobi Narita, Universal Jazz Coalition; Sally Placksin, author of American Women in Jazz; Sara Picillo, Association of Performing Arts
Presenters; Sunny Wilkinson, International Association of Jazz Educators. Preservation, Conservation, Collecting-discussion on preserving and conserving history and artifacts of the jazz culture. Speakers were John Edward Hasse, America’s Jazz Heritage; Dan Morgenstern, Institute of Jazz
Studies; James Briggs Murray, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture;
Beuford Smith, jazz photographer; Matt Watson, National Museum of American
History; Patricia Willard, Library of Congress.
In addition, there was a booklet that accompanied the concert/symposium with
articles: Sung & Unsung/JazzWomen: An Overview by D. Antoinette Handy and Janice L. McNeil. Jazzwomen by Sally Placksin. Telling Performances: Jazz History
Remembered and Remade by the Women in the Band by Sherrie Tucker and The state
of the Art Today by Kimberly McCord. The booklet also included a bibliography, discography, and filmography compiled by Janice McNeil.
It is unsure if the Symposium and Concerts will occur again next year but I think all participants at this year’s event would agree that this was perhaps the first and most important event (to give) important scholarly justice to Women in Jazz. An important collection of Mary Lou Williams’ music and artifacts is being donated to the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers which will now enable persons interested in studying or writing dissertations to have access to the most important composer/musician of the female gender.
Submitted by Kimberly McCord
4.1 GRIME-L is the Gender Research in Music Education listserv. If you are not currently on GRIME-L and would like to join, please send an email request to <email@example.com>.
4.2 The IAWM is the International Alliance for Women in Music, an organization which unites three others under this new (1995) umbrella: the AWC (American Women Composers), the ICWM (InternationalCongress on Women in Music) and the ILWC (International League of Women Composers).
The IAWM publishes a journal three times a year (Feb., June, and Oct.). Ursula Rempel reports on activities of women musicians in Canada. The IAWM also supports an electronic list. To subscribe, send the message “subscribe” to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The IAWM Web address is: http://music.acu.edu/www/iawm/home.html
by Ursula Rempel, email@example.com
In Praise of All-Encircling Love II: Inclusive Language Hymns, Songs and Liturgical Pieces by June Boyce-Tillman (published by Hildegard Press and the Association for Inclusive Language), and Exiles, a music theatre piece on the theme of Hildegard and Julian by June Boyce-Tillman can be ordered by writing to: Dr. June Boyce-Tillman, 108 Nimrod Road, London, SW16 6TQ, or calling 0181 677 8752.
Ursula Rempel (School of Music, University of Manitoba), firstname.lastname@example.org, gave a paper, “Perceptions of Music and Music Making in the Novels of Jane Austen” at the Canadian Society for Eighteenth Century Studies’ annual conference, held this year, in Victoria, B.C., October 16-20. The paper deals with the levels of musical accomplishment Austen allows her heroines, female musical education, with Austen’s music collections at Chawton, and with her own musical ability in relation to that of the heroines in her novels.
Rosemary Evans, Editor. The most recent edition includes: book reviews, CD reviews, and an interview withCaroline Hutton of WRPM.
Subscription (3 issues per year) is [sterling]9. Contact the editor at: MGEN, PO Box 14, Manchester, UK M23 ORY or by email <email@example.com>
From: “Burton, J. Bryan” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
(edited for length)
For many generations, the study of women’s music and the role of women in music in the Native American culture has suffered much the same fate as that of women’s music and the role of women in music in the western art tradition: benign neglect at best and intentional oversight at worst. Fortunately, recent shifts in curricular philosophy call for “inclusion” of musics of all cultures and all groups within each culture thereby encouraging the exploration of such “forgotten” music and musical practices.
Early scholars often relegated women’s roles to singing lullabies and children’s songs, merely assisting men in singing and dancing, and performing minor work-related songs. Among the reasons for this misconception of the importance of women’s music are: (1) the majority of early scholars were men (Fletcher, Curtis, and Densmore excepted) and were not allowed access to women’s ceremonies and performances; (2) male researchers did not seek out women’s music and dance because of their own cultural beliefs in a patriarchal system in which women were relegated to secondary roles; (3) U. S. government regulations forced Native men and women into new roles based on European models which caused confusion as to appropriate roles; (4) Native peoples themselves closely guarded the women’s music and ceremonies because of their great power.
More recent research has uncovered a rich heritage of women’s songs, stories, and dances as a result of an increased willingness of Native Peoples to discuss women’s cultural issues with selected outsiders and the willingness of scholars to seek complete representation of all aspects of a culture. Female scholars who are actively researching this area include Virginia Giglio, Marla Powers and Judith Vander. Contemporary studies by male scholars such as David McAllester, Bruno Nettl, and Bryan Burton are also addressing women’s issues in Native American music.
Women’s music may be created, sung, and danced by women for women, created, sung, and danced by women for men, created and sung by men for women who dance to the men’s singing, created and sung by mixed gender groups and danced by women or mixed gender groups. Increasingly, there is a blurring of gender roles in music among contemporary musicians with the advent of mixed gender drums and all-female drums, in addition to the traditional all-male drum. Women have also begun to perform competitive dances which were previously “men only” events at tribal fairs and pow wows. Recently, women flutists such as Lillian Rainer have gained recognition in an area of performance previously dominated by male performers.
For purposes of this brief discussion, women’s music in the Native American culture will be grouped into four broad categories:
1) Ceremonial music: Such music includes puberty rites and other rites of passage , healing songs and dances , agricultural songs and dances recognizing the powerful role of women in all fertility-related activities, and sacred spiritual songs. Many of these songs are performed in non-pubic ceremonies while others may be performed as part of larger public celebrations In some cases, these songs are created by women, but performed by men honoring the tradition that the world is divided into male and female domains. In most cases, such music is not appropriate for use in the music classroom.
However, a number of songs and dances have been approved for such use by specific musicians and tribal councils and may be found in more recent publications. An example of ceremonial music created and performed by women is the “Zuni Pottery Dance,” a portion of which has been recorded and transcribed in Moving Within the Circle (see “Resource List”). In this dance, women perform with large ollas (pottery water jars) balanced on their heads and carrying symbols of fertility such as flowers or pine branches. The dance is repeated to each of the sacred directions. The symbolism of carrying water to the village from wells in the ollas is a request for water to be brought to the fields in the form of rain. The Tigua Basket Dance is representative of music sung by men and danced by women. This is a harvest dance performed after crops (beans and corn) are brought in from fields. Four young women (who are past puberty, but have not borne children), begin the dance standing in one of the four sacred directions holding a basket containing corn or brans. The symbolism of using the young women as dancers is to show the continuity of generations in the tribe. Older members of the tribe present the women with the baskets and beans/corn at the beginning of the ceremony to symbolize this transfer.
2) Honouring Songs: These songs may be used to honour family members, clans, returning veterans, etc. Although these songs may have had their origins in victory dances or other celebrations celebrating success in hunting or warfare, they may be used to recognize any activity benefiting the tribe. For example, contemporary Native Peoples often create and perform honouring songs for such events as school graduation, job promotions, and awards. Among many Native Peoples, songs may be performed to honour women for their role in preserving tribal traditions or for serving as role models for younger members of the tribe. Frequently, this latter type of song is sung by men while the honoured women dance. “O Hal’Lwe” (oak tree) is a women’s honouring song of the Nanticoke people from Delaware. It compares the women to the mighty oak tree which drops acorns that take root and grow under the protection of the branches of the old oak tree. As the new trees grow strong, the old oak tree dies making way for the cycle to be repeated by the new oaks. Among the Nanticoke, it is very important to have as many generations of women participating in this dance (as possible) to show the continuity of generations. This song honours women for passing traditions to future generations, guiding decisions, and protecting and caring so that the culture will survive. Several honouring songs are found on the Smithsonian-Folkways recording
3) Social Songs: This broad category includes courtship songs, children’s songs, competition songs, and social dance songs. Quite often, social songs are humorous, and indeed, quite earthy. Virginia Giglio’s book Southern Cheyenne Women’s Songs includes many such songs including “diaper changing songs” with lovely melodies for lyrics describing exactly why the diaper needs to be changed, the aromatic experience and more. Also included in this collection are lullabies, game songs, and so on. Heartbeat also contains several examples of social songs including Georgia Wettin Larsen’s “Objibway Love Charm Song” and Lillian Rainer’s “Taos Courting Song” which was learned from her great-grandmother.
4) Contemporary Songs: This is a classification based more on chronology than type of song and contains music performed by present-day musicians who often combine elements of western popular music with traditional Native American techniques. “I May Want a Man” (Loving Ways–Joanne Shenandoah) combines Oneida words with English and vocables in a humorous courtship song. Among the Iroquois tribes, women take a more aggressive role in courtship, a point which must be understood to fully appreciate this song. This song was used in an episode of the television series “Northern Exposure.”
Joanne Shenandoah also reminds the listener of the futility of war in “Don’t Change the Way I Love My Baby” which was written as a protest against the Persian Gulf War. In addition to references to characters from traditional folklore, the song calls to mind that among the Iroquois, women could forbid the men in their family to take part in a war. Shenandoah uses her music to teach traditional values, tribal and family history, and educate the audience about Native issues.
Sharon Burch’s “Yazzie Girl” (Yazzie Girl–Sharon Burch) celebrates the continuity of the matrilineal Yazzie clan recognizing Burch’s grandmother, mother, and unborn daughter through ceremonial Navajo names. Burch uses Navajo texts combined with guitar and harmonica in a style strongly reminiscent of Joan Baez. Buffy Saint-Marie ranks as one of the best-known and most successful contemporary Native American women musicians. “Starwalker” (from Coincidence and Likely Stories) cites numerous cultural heroes as role models for modern Native Americans, characters who honour their traditions, avoid substance abuse, protect their families, and carry traditions forward. Traditional singing styles and instruments join with a heavy rock sound and electronic western instruments.
This has been only a superficial overview of the rich heritage of Native American women’s music which has only recently become widely available for study and educational use. At the conclusion of this paper is a listing of selected texts and recordings which may serve as a starting point for further study in this field. It should be readily apparent from this sampling that previous thinking and writing about Native American music must be significantly revised to include musics of ALL Native Peoples.
Ballard, Louis (to be released 1997) American Indian Music for the Classroom. New Southwest Publications: Santa Fe, NM
Burton, Bryan (1993). Moving Within the Circle: Contemporary Native American
Music and Dance. World Music Press: Danbury, CT Burton, Bryan, Chesley Wilson and Ruth Wilson (1994). When the Earth Was Like
New: Western Apache Songs and Stories. World Music Press: Danbury, CT Giglio, Virginia (1994). Southern Cheyenne Women’s Songs. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman, OK Heth, Charlotte (1992). Native American Dane: Ceremonies and Social Traditions. Smithsonian Press: Washington, DC Vander, Judith (1988). Songprints: The Musical Experiences of Five Shoshone Women. University of Illinois Press: Urbana, IL
Heartbeat: Voices of First Nations Women. Various Artists. Smithsonia/Folkways SF 40415. Yazzie Girl. Sharon Burch. Canyon records CR 534. Once in a Red Moon. Joanne Shenandoah. Canyon Records CR 548. The Best of Buffy Saint-Marie. Buffy Saint-Marie. Vanguard Records 73113. Creation’s Journey. Various artists. Smithsonian/Folkways SF 40410. Music of New Mexico: Native American Traditions. Various artists. Smithsonian/Folkways SF 40408
Fall 1997, INTERDEPT. SPEC. GENDER EQUITY IN EDUCATION
The M.Ed. in Gender Equity in Education is designed as a specialization for educators who are interested in the professional applications of women’s studies in schools. Though it is coordinated by the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education, it involves faculty and students in a number of OISE/UofT programs. Students may take the M.Ed. specialization in Gender
Equity in Education in combination with the listed programs offered by the following departments:
DEPT OF CURRICULUM, TEACHING & LEARNING:
Curriculum, Measurement and Evaluation,
DEPT OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT & APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY: Educational Psychology, School Psychology, Special Education;
DEPT OF SOCIOLOGY IN EDUCATION;
DEPT OF THEORY & POLICY STUDIES IN EDUCATION: Educational Administration, Higher Education, History of Education, Philosophy of Education.
The basis for this specialization includes the large number of feminist scholars on the OISE/UofT faculty, and the availability of extensive resources on women and schooling as well as curriculum materials in the OISE/UofT library and in the Women’s Educational Resources Centre. The Centre for Women’s Studies provides support and facilities to students taking this specialization.
ADMISSION: Applicants are admitted to one of the departmental programs listed above. They must indicate `Gender Equity in Education’ as their area of specialization (see Supplementary Application Form B, Item #3). The specialization is especially appropriate for students who are working teachers or otherwise professionally active as educators.
Roberta Lamb, Editor. If you would like to write a conference or book review, please do!! Letters are welcome; reviews of available recordings or videos would be good, too. Please try to write short articles (500-900 words). Submissions may be made by regular mail, FAX 613-545-6808, or by email <email@example.com>. Deadline for the Spring issue: 15 April 1997. We welcome more on practical issues of addressing gender issues in teaching/ learning settings of all kinds.