The black-cast backstage musical Stormy Weather (1943) is the first Hollywood film to explicitly celebrate black achievement. Featuring key figures of African American dance and more black dance numbers than any other mainstream musical, it testifies to the versatility and—crucially—the hybridity of jazz dance culture. This article analyzes dance in Stormy Weather by addressing questions of appreciation, appropriation, and assimilation in the context of both film and dance history. Stormy Weather’s panoply of styles and stars negotiates several contradictory processes: white appropriation of “authentic” black talent, black assimilation to “classy” white styles, but also black adaptation and appropriation of hitherto white domains of performance. Through its self-referential narrative of dance history—and through some omissions—it simultaneously chronicles the history of black performers and racial stereotypes in white Hollywood, and thus reveals the industry’s strategies in the exploitation of black talent.
This chapter attempts to discuss music collecting and archival work as applied ethnomusicology. Collections are always the result of selection, conscious or unconscious, in which certain phenomena or objects are considered more worthy of preservation than others. Collecting and archiving can be described as a cultural heritage process, in which functions and meanings of the collected material change. Archives and collection work not only reflect and preserve music traditions, they also serve as re-creator of the traditions they preserve. The chapter describes the starting point for the early collecting work from the late 1700s, with emphasis on the Swedish Folk Music Commission’s work during the 1900s. Through the collections the national archives display and define the citizens’ cultural identity. Archives can be seen as statements that point out “our” music and culture, and indirectly, what is not.
Christopher Dicran Hale
This chapter contrasts the contextualization of the Hindu bhajan in Christian churches in North India with its recontextualization as a medium of worship in North America. The author discusses his engagement with “Yeshu bhakti,” a North Indian Hindu modality of devotion (bhakti) focused on Jesus Christ (Yeshu) as the “God of choice.” The band Aradhna, composed of the children of missionaries to India and Nepal, draws on its members’ multiple musical backgrounds to present a “third” religious domain, derived from Hinduism and Christianity. The chapter shows how Aradhna’s music tries to draw together different religious traditions, focusing on their points of conversion. Addressing possible problems of cultural and religious ownership in the band’s practice, the author notes that Aradhna aims to create a new religious space, a meeting place of musics and religions that is something new—and an alternative to Eurocentric Christianity.
It seems that many concert programs are presented without enough concern for the overall flow, purpose, and direction of the choral performance itself. Often, many wonderful selections are included, but rarely do they truly work together in tandem or with enough significant diversity and color changes to warrant the audiences complete attention. Several unique models for programming at all levels are discussed. Questions are raised concerning choral programming tendencies (from Psalm choral settings to mixed meter music to Carmina Burana) and how the building of varied repertoires and unorthodox pairings can assist true success. In this age of diminishing crowds, fiscal resources, and rehearsal time, our ability to creatively weave the material to capture our singers and our audiences at the same time is extremely critical. Finally, we touch upon engaging the audience from the moment the ensemble takes the stage until the final ovation.
Art, Culture, and Pediatric Mental and Behavioral Health: An Interdisciplinary, Public Health Approach
Michael L. Penn and Philip Kojo Clarke
This article adopts an interdisciplinary public health approach to an analysis of the impact of rap music and culture on the mental and behavioral health of children and youth around the world. Its purpose, however, is to go beyond a review of some of the potentially deleterious effects of rap in order to explore the vital role that the arts can play in promoting the protection and development of the human spirit in the twenty-first century. This exploration requires examination of the capacities that are embodied in the notion of the human spirit. In the most basic sense, these capacities consist of the capacity to know, to love, and to will. This article also summarizes the epidemiological and public health research that seeks to link indices of pediatric health to an emerging global musical culture that caters specifically to young people. Finally, it outlines a role for the arts in the protection, development, and refinement of the human spirit.
Tina K. Ramnarine
This chapter presents case studies of three Sámi musicians, focusing on their aspirations for collective rights, cultural distinctiveness, and self-determination. Contrary to early twentieth-century fears that vocal genres like joik were disappearing, music has become one of the most important elements in stories of Sámi cultural survival in the twenty-first century. The chapter examines the role that music plays in valuing nature and imagining alternatives to dominant power regimes in the context of climate change. The author argues that in the face of threats to global survival, historians could give more priority to questions about how the past speaks to us and what it teaches us about survival.
Abigale D'Amore and Gareth Dylan Smith
The chapter discusses the centrality of music making to the lives of young people, framing teenagers’ out-of-school music making and attendant identity realization as leisure activities. It presents arguments for including in school music classrooms the music that students enjoy outside of school. It describes Musical Futures, an approach to informal music learning developed from understanding how popular musicians learn and adopting these practices for the music classroom. Citing examples of nationwide research on Musical Futures from secondary schools in England, the chapter balances benefits and challenges of adopting the approach, and considers implications of a focus in school on the process rather than the product of music making. The authors argue that framing and aspiring to music making as leisure through this particular pedagogical approach could stand to benefit students, teachers, schools, and society.
Samuel Leong, Pamela Burnard, Neryl Jeanneret, Bo Wah Leung, and Carole Waugh
This article presents six case studies from England, Australia, and Hong Kong, which illustrate the different ways creativity in music is defined and assessed by teachers and learners in various educational contexts. It considers the influence of educational policies on the assessment of musical creativity. It also examines the key features of music creativity assessment in order to draw parallels between various contexts. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications for classroom practice.
This essay examines how undergraduate composition teachers assess growth in their students’ work, and shows how assessment frameworks (such as rubrics) can be useful for college composition students and professors alike. The essay presents interviews with university composition faculty to establish the assessment strategies generally used in lessons. Next, it looks critically at existing frameworks and assessment philosophies, considering their strengths and shortcomings for departments whose students are growing ever more diverse in musical style and voice. Finally, it considers the composer’s task of designing an assessment framework for his or her studio, including areas of concern and possible starting points for organization.
Michele L. Henry
This article discusses the current state of assessment of student learning in the choral classroom. Assessing in the choral classroom presents many curricular and logistical challenges, the group instructional format and the large number of students enrolled being chief among them. A lack of preparation for and tradition in assessment further serves to discourage choral educators from assessing appropriately. Most of the available information about choral assessment comes from anecdotal evidence and advocacy pieces; however, researchers are making significant strides, particularly in the development of performance rating scales and sight-reading assessment. Very little assessment of knowledge-based content or written expressions is occurring, either in the classroom or by researchers. University choral education faculty must make instruction in assessment techniques a priority within the undergraduate curriculum rather than part of graduate study, as new teachers are expected to assess their students almost immediately upon entering the classroom.