Academic courses and performance classes about musical traditions from around the world, taught at all levels, teach a fundamental understanding of the diversity of human experience and expression worldwide. They foster a cross-cultural and often humanitarian awareness, while rigorously mapping and critiquing what music has been for humanity.
From this broadened perspective, students understand the music of their own daily soundscapes in relation to the richness and vast array of world musical cultures historically. Hints of these musical worlds have already reached students’ ears through global music networks, exposure we as professors and teachers often leverage to make our critical contextualization of music interface with students’ lived experiences, and ultimately to give our teaching greater resonance.
The challenge remains that while we can already significantly impact the learning experience of students who are either committed to learning or show a general aptitude for the subject matter, how do we generate an effective baseline for all students? How do we maintain the crisp clarity of the complex musical and cultural insights we have to offer, while ensuring that students who are struggling still walk away with both their general and specific schemas thoroughly stimulated?
While these questions are answered anew each quarter/semester, I believe that in order to make things “stick,” we must utilize multiple complimentary modes of representation to depict musical history, musical performance, and the complex of expressive practices that surround music making. My approach to teaching emphasizes the theoretical lineages of ethnomusicology and cultural anthropology as a kind of North star, pushing students to use them to triangulate their own relationship with the music being studied. Using my experience as a jazz drummer and classical/world music percussionist, I guide students through the experiential and kinesthetic aspects of world musical practice through videos, websites, applications, performances, participation, and musical training.
“Enemy Music: Blind Birifor Xylophonists of Northwest Ghana” Ph.D. Dissertation with New Media Companion, UCLA. 2011.
“Gendered Modes of Resistance: Power and Women’s Songs in West Africa.” In The Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology. Vol. 13/Winter 2008.
“Locating the Chopi Xylophone of Southern Mozambique” In The Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology. Vol. 11/Winter 2006.
Built modern responsive PHP, JS, and MySQL driven website for a revolutionary green energy company.
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Front-end development and design of big data management web application for MIT MechE Alumnus Patrick Ho.