Call for Abstracts/Papers
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Music Researchers' Email Directory

The University of Georgia, Hugh Hodgson School of Music

Call for Abstracts/Papers
Meeting Title: 
MayDay Group Colloquium 29: Thinking Critically about Institutions and Individuals
Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA, USA
Date(s) of Meeting:
June 21-24, 2017
As continuation of our engagement with the vital and challenging questions that make up our revised Action Ideals, The MayDay Group invites scholars, music makers, educators, and innovators from around the globe to consider music as socially, culturally, and politically embedded action. This year's colloquium centers on Action Ideal IV:

Like all elements of musical culture, contributions made by schools, colleges, and other institutions must be systematically and critically examined in order to evaluate the extent and directions of their influence.

Music institutions permeate 21st century life, from garage bands and a-cappella groups, to media conglomerates and government bureaucracies. Individual musical actions are guided, often invisibly, by institutions. We must find ways to account for the effects of established institutions on the musical health of individuals, and in shaping their musical identities.

a. In what ways do small and large musical institutions influence the actual musical lives and identities of persons and communities, and on what basis can their effects be identified and evaluated?

b. What barriers to individual and community musical development do institutions perpetuate, and how can their effects be addressed?

c. What can we do to encourage lifelong amateur musicing as a cultural norm?

d. How can we find ways to bridge existing institution-based musical activities with other types of lifelong musical participation/musicing?

When we consider institutions in a structural way, we view them as arrangements of individual actors into groups. Whether we are considering families, elementary schools, community music schools, universities, businesses, or other entities as institutions, there exists some degree of consensus on roles (mother, child, principal, teacher, singer, rock guitarist) and relationships (partnership, employee, donor, familial, community, ensemble). Institutional norms are consensual, yet they are also invisible except as they are carried out, or embodied, by individual actors. Roles are shaped through socialization processes, and although socialization was once thought to take place only during childhood, it is now acknowledged as a life-long process. In addition, socialization is no longer imagined as passive-individuals may be viewed as "role makers" in addition to "role takers."

Thoughts about institutions and the norms established within them for roles and relationships lead toward expanded questions about music and music education:

Often in music education research, only high status institutions serve as models-symphony orchestras and elite higher education institutions, for example. What motivates such tendencies? Which institutions may be overlooked as models, and consequently, which roles and relationships might be under-investigated in research literature?

What musical roles and relationships do children learn in the institution of the family? Do these complement or conflict with the musical roles and relationships that children learn in the institution of the school? How do socialization processes of these two institutions compare? To what extent can children be viewed as "role makers" rather than "role takers"?

What are the institutional norms of community-based music institutions in which children participate outside of schools? How do children and families access such institutions in their communities and is their access equitable? Which families have access to which institutions?What roles and relationships do music teachers learn in institutions of higher education? How do preservice music teachers' anticipated roles and relationships interact with the resources (or lack of resources) in school institutions during early field experiences? During student teaching experiences? How might higher education institutions responsibly prepare music teachers within schools that lack resources?

Assumptions are often made that institutions serving lower-SES families are themselves under-resourced. According to Mario Small (2009) and other sociologists, however, more resources flow to schools and childcare centers located in lower SES neighborhoods, although the resources may not be monetary. For instance, resources might include teaching artists, books and supplies, instruments, and tickets to symphony concerts. What are the implications for music teaching and learning? How might our socialization processes change to help teachers become more aware of, and more likely to rely on community resources?

In 2011, the University of Chicago released the Teaching Artist Research Project, a cross-sectional study of 12 US cities, including artists and program managers in each city. The report showed greater movement of teaching artists into schools, especially into low-income schools. The report suggested that teaching artists both required and desired high-quality professional development, but five years later, it remains unclear which institution will be responsible. How do teaching artists develop? Which institutions will facilitate partnerships with teaching artists?

Institutional norms for schools or departments of music may vary across higher education. To what extent do those norms acknowledge the every-day musical realities of families and pre-collegiate schooling? What partnership models exist and to what extent do they accomplish their intended goals? What partnerships can we imagine?

In the face of state-mandated school reforms, how are principals, arts supervisors, and other administrators socialized into the evaluator role? To what extent do they exercise agency in their evaluative relationships? To what extent do music teachers exercise agency in such relationships? What mechanisms enable teachers in this process?

Research literature in music education suggests that individuals often cease musical participation after elementary school and then return to music in adulthood. How are adults re-socialized into musical roles and relationships? How do the institutions of families, schools, community music and/or higher education support adults' music participation?
Types of Submissions Sought:
Presentations - better understood at MayDay Group Colloquia as provocations - are designed to inspire conversation. Therefore, each presenter will be allocated 45 minutes, to include no more than 30 minutes for the presentation and no fewer than 15 minutes for discussion. Projectors, speakers, and screens will be available, but it is completely acceptable to use no supporting technology.

Proposals also will be considered that go outside the conventional scope of a provocation, such as a collaborative panel presentation or a set of lightning talks including artists, P-12 teachers, and/or policy makers. Musical engagements will also be considered, and pianos will be available. Unfortunately, Skype presentations cannot be accommodated.
Topics Sought:
Proposals are invited that address these and similar critical questions related to institutional arrangements and interactions within and among institutions.
Submission Information:
Please submit both: a proposal of no more than 800 words (references not included in word count) and an abstract of no more than 100 words as email attachments. Incomplete submissions will not be considered.

State your name, institutional affiliation, email address, and other contact information in the body of the email only. There should be no identifiers on proposals or abstracts.

Submit no later than midnight, Eastern Standard Time, January 30, 2017 to:

Proposals will be blind reviewed by committee and evaluated according to the following criteria: clarity of ideas, contribution to/interest for the profession, relevance and contribution to theory, and connection to the action ideal and surrounding questions.

Notification will occur by email no later than February 27, 2017.

If accepted, the primary presenter and any co-presenters must register for the conference no later than March 27, 2017 or forfeit their acceptance.

Registration information will be posted on the MDG 29 Colloquium website at

Accepted abstracts will be posted to the Colloquium website by April 3, 2017 and cannot be changed after that date.
Deadline for Submissions:
Submit no later than midnight, Eastern Standard Time, January 30, 2017 to:
Notification will occur by email no later than February 27, 2017. 
Meeting URL:
Contact Information:
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