Musicology

koegel_johnJohn Koegel, California State University, Fullerton
CMS Board Member for Musicology

The site in downtown San Diego for the 2013 CMS National Conference was notable for several reasons. The stunning view from the upper stories of the conference hotel of the beautiful city of San Diego and its charmed environs, stretching miles in all directions, contrasted sharply with the bustling U.S.-Mexico border and the city of Tijuana only about 15 miles to the south. While on the surface the surroundings of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, next to the sparkling Pacific Ocean, seemed to insulate conference attendees in a bubble of opulence, the CMS conference, with its emphasis on live performances and a variety of scholarly and practical presentations from different intellectual and pedagogical approaches, brought us back to reality. The conference encouraged participants to think broadly and outside their own specific specialties. This was also the case with the lecture and poster presentations, which as ever ranged over a very wide territory, as, for example, with two interesting poster presentations representing U.S. west and east coast topics: a research project on Bartók’s summer visit to Vermont, and one on the difficulties and success of male Chicano music students in the U.S. university music department, specifically in Southern California. This juxtaposition seemed to verify the all-encompassing approach taken by the CMS.
The CMS Musicology Advisory Committee also seeks to advocate an inclusive approach to the discipline of musicology, beginning with the position where first we began, as learners and students. Thus, the emphasis in 2012, and 2013, has been and will be on the pedagogy of music history in its largest meaning. Plans are in the works to propose a pre-conference workshop for the 2013 National Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in teaching music history for the non-specialist (non-musicologist) faculty member, and for graduate students from various areas of musical scholarship, performance, and composition. In some smaller music units, musicologists are sometimes called upon to teach in several areas, and non-musicologists are also asked to teach outside their specialties. This pre-conference workshop is intended to give these faculty members, and graduate students, as well as trained musicologists, ways in which they may be more actively involved in teaching a variety of topics and approaches with a scholarly and academic focus. For instance, 2013 pre-conference workshop topics might include themes such as teaching film music and musical theater, writing in the music history and academic music curriculum, and incorporating the social and political context for music in these classes.
It is hoped that this workshop will be co-sponsored by the CMS Musicology Advisory Committee and the Music History Pedagogy Study Group of the American Musicological Society. The AMS Study Group has been very active in promoting improvements in teaching pedagogy within the discipline of musicology. It sponsors the annual Teaching Music History Day, held at various locations throughout the country, and publishes the peer-reviewed, open access online Journal of Music History Pedagogy. This linkage and possible collaboration between CMS and the AMS Music History Pedagogy Study Group would serve both organizations well. Not only would it encourage more musicologists—graduate students, independent scholars, and college and university instructors—to become more active in the CMS, it would also introduce CMS members to a wider range of possibilities and opportunities in teaching and studying music history from a variety of vantage points and with a variety of pedagogical and research approaches. And the location of the 2013 CMS meeting, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, should aid in encouraging a greater level of musicological representation on the 2013 conference program since the Northeastern U.S. has many colleges and universities and doctoral programs in musicology, and a large number of musicologists.