European Music Council
January 30, 2020
The right for all children and adults ...

... to learn musical languages and skills

Discover our final newsletter on the 6th World Forum on Music organised last September in Paris, France.
The session on the second music right took place at the World Forum on Music in Paris on Monday 30th September and was curated by Prof. Sheila Woodward (South Africa/USA), IMC Executive Vice President.  The session opened with a breathtaking and haunting Xun solo performance by Dr. Shibin Zhou (China), depicting a historic Chinese battle fought with singing.
Ensuring Music Rights in Afghanistan
The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, who gave a moving account of the triumphant return of musical rights to the Afghan people since the country’s liberation. He described the country’s recovery from the previous systematic destruction of cultural heritage and the banning of music listening, practice and learning throughout the country. Establishing the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM), Dr. Sarmast has worked tirelessly to ensure access to music education for the Afghan people. ANIM received the IMC Music Rights Award in 2009.
His school aspires to bring the healing power of music back to the Afghan people. It seeks to promote musical diversity and languages, including valiant efforts to revive Afghan musical traditions. Dr. Sarmast spoke of Afghan women being denied freedom to work, study, or walk freely in public.  His school aims to promote gender equality and to empower girls. It seeks to transform lives through music and education, recruiting disadvantaged children, street children, and orphans and providing equal opportunities regardless of ethnicity, gender, religious sect, or social circumstances. Outreach is high on the agenda, with public performances for the broader community and addressing important social issues and national challenges through music initiatives and concerts. The school pursues substantial international impact through promoting intercultural dialogue, concert tours, festivals, study exchanges and guest educators.
Lifelong Learning in Prisons: Stories of Social Cohesion through Choral Singing
Dr. Sarmast’s keynote was followed by Dr. Mary Cohen’s stirring report of her choral work with men incarcerated in a medium security prison in Coralville, Iowa. Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of Iowa, Dr. Cohen described the Oakdale Community Choir as including both “inside” singers (incarcerated men) and “outside” singers (community members who sing alongside the men). Choir members express their changing narratives through original songs performed for both incarcerated audiences and audiences who come into the prison. After release from prison, some continue their participation in the choir. Exchanges with special guests as the world class Soweto Gospel Choir offer meaningful interactions with this community. Dr. Cohen described the programme’s aims to achieve a broader impact on state policy and community programmes, transforming attitudes and actions from cultures of revenge to cultures of caring while exporting ideas of healing and hope. The inspiring story is captured on camera in the fascinating short film “The Inside Singers”.
Enhancing wellbeing of immigrant children through music
An interview followed with Dr. Kathryn Marsh, Professor Emerita of Music Education at the University of Sydney, Australia, regarding the impactful roles of music and dance on the psychosocial wellbeing of immigrant children and their families.  Parents of diverse cultures are invited to bring their young children to community center programmes with the aim of avoiding social isolation through interaction with others. Sharing lullabies from their own culture, connecting with their own cultural heritage and gaining exposure to other musical cultures enables participants to engage in intercultural exchange activities. Preparatory educational programmes for children entering Australian schools enable children from diverse backgrounds to achieve social synchrony and self-expression through participating in music and dance activities and autonomous musical play. Outreach programmes bring immigrants and refugees onto university campuses and give music education students opportunities for developing cultural understandings in working with diverse communities.
Recruitment and Retention of Nontraditional Populations into Opera in South Africa
Lungile Jacobs, President of the Choral Music Federation of South Africa, shared the success story of South African opera, achieved largely through the visionary recruitment and inclusion of diverse singers from across the country into Cape Town Opera while offering opportunities for studying at the University of Cape Town. Overcoming historical imbalances suffered in virtually every facet of life, these recruits to the Choral Training Programme were awarded financial sponsorship for stipends during their training and performances with the company.
With mostly little to no previous formal music education, the students studied Western Classical notation, vocal performance, movement and stage management. The programme opened doors for future students of all backgrounds to study opera and have successful careers in opera, such as soloist Pretty Yende who, in the same the week as the 6th IMC Forum, was starring in the lead female role of La Traviata at the Paris Palais Garnier. Mr. Jacobs founded the Township Opera Company to provide additional performance opportunities for singers.

Rebuilding Children's Lives: Music Programmes for Earthquake Survivors
Dr. Shibin Zhou, professor and doctoral adviser at Capital Normal University in Beijing, China, and President of the Chinese Music Psychology Association, described the catastrophic 2008 earthquake that devastated parts of the Sichuan Province, China, resulting in extensive loss of life and injury. He recounted leading teams of teachers and students to assist in the psychological rehabilitation of surviving elementary and middle school children in the disaster zone. Dr. Zhou described the communal singing of ethnic folk songs as bringing a measure of comfort and healing to grieving students. In the months and years following, Dr. Zhou pioneered a wide range of opportunities for survivors to play musical instruments in various ensembles.
A social justice paradigm for diversity in school music programmes
Dr. Sheila Woodward, Executive Vice President of IMC and Professor of Music at Eastern Washington University presented philosophies and applications related to a social justice paradigm for music education. Supporting music education for all, Dr. Woodward advocated for broad inclusion in education recruitment and retention policies and practices. She promoted celebrating diversity in student populations and musical cultures, and expanding access to music programmes through increasing diversity in curricular offerings. Dr. Woodward further explored nurturing the expression of student voice throughout the lifespan and the value of collaborative, cooperative learning.
New directions in music learning
In the final presentation for this session, Dr. Marina Gall, Senior Lecturer in Music Education at the University of Bristol, UK, and Board Member of the European Association for Music in Schools (EAS), focused on special education needs and disabilities. She explained how national curricula for music need to be created with inclusion at their core, clearly establishing ways for all children to engage and achieve success in musical activities. Dr. Gall identified a range of technologies that expand access to performance, including adapted musical instruments. She further stressed the need for changes in the assessment of musical progress and achievement for students with special needs/disabilities.
Exploring the potential for new directions in music learning, the session closed with small group discussions by forum delegates on rethinking applications of social justice in music education settings.
Invitation to the next European Forum on Music

4-7 June 2020 in Bonn, Germany

Want to experience more? Can't wait for the next World Forum on Music? The EMC, a regional group of the International Music Council, warmly invites you to the European Forum on Music,  which will take place 4-7 June 2020 in Bonn, Germany, the EMC’s hometown. Inspiring international speakers will provide you with the latest practical examples on music and ecological sustainability. The forum entitled “Climate Action: Music as a Driver for Change” will feature debates, exchanges and hands-on training around music and climate protection, embracing World Environment Day and Pastoral Day on 5 June 2020. Join us in Bonn!

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