Plenary Speakers


Innovating the Future of Music Education
John Kao, Yamaha Artist in Innovation
Thursday, October 11
11:00 a.m.
Kitsilano Ballroom D

* Attendees will have an opportunity to meet and converse with John Kao during an open forum on Thursday, October 11, from 1:30–2:30 p.m. in Discussion Pod B.

We live in a time in which the need and the opportunity to innovate the teaching of music have never been greater. A tidal wave of new technology enable a new toolbox for educators. At the same time, they shape new patterns of music creation and consumption. The potential impact on pedagogy and the social institutions that surround it require thoughtful assessment. This presentation will illuminate how we as music educators can do the work of innovation – how we can innovate our value proposition - to achieved desired outcomes.

kao johnJohn Kao
Dubbed “Mr. Creativity” and a “Serial Innovator” by The Economist, John is a thought leader, practitioner and activist, who has played a leading role in the fields of innovation and business creativity for over 30 years. His knowledge is eclectic and blends the perspectives of former Harvard Business School professor, best-selling author, serial entrepreneur, musician, master facilitator, Harvard-trained psychiatrist, and Tony-nominated producer of film and stage. Recently, Yamaha Music Corporation named him their first “innovation artist.” He is a trusted advisor to leaders of companies, startups and nations who are on the hot seat to deliver meaningful innovation strategies and action agendas.

John serves on the board of trustees of SFJazz and the advisory board of the Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship at the Berklee College of Music He is founder and Chairman of EdgeMakers, whose mission is to empower young people worldwide to become highly effective innovators “ahead of schedule.” He is author of the best-selling Jamming: The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity, which describes what leaders can learn from jazz, as well as Innovation Nation, which documents America’s growing innovation challenge. John was a producer on sex, lies and videotape (Palme d’Or, Cannes) and Mr. Baseball (Universal Studios), and was nominated for a Tony for producing Golden Child on Broadway.

John’s education includes BA and MD degrees from Yale, a residency at the McLean division of Massachusetts General Hospital and an MBA from Harvard Business School. His work has received coverage in such media as the New York Times, The Economist, CNN, and The Colbert Report.

In the summer of 1969, John apprenticed to rock legend Frank Zappa. In his spare time, he plays jazz piano.

Young People, Technology, and Music Making Today
Kylie Peppler (Associate Professor of Informatics and Education, University of California–Irvine)
Friday, October 12
11:00 a.m.
Kitsilano Ballroom D

* Attendees will have an opportunity to meet and converse with Kylie Peppler during an open forum on Friday, October 12, from 1:30–2:30 p.m. in Discussion Pod B.

Where and how do youth learn music? Even though access to music education is largely universal, the majority of youth are counseled out of music courses by high school. Despite this, access to formalized music education has, to a large extent, little effect on the musical immersion--the informal, interest-driven music education--that dominates youths’ out-of-school recreational activities. The challenge is therefore to engage youths' pre-existing interests in music present in their everyday lives and move them to becoming original and high-quality music-makers. Fortunately, new technologies seem to be lowering barriers to who can engage in music-making and diversifying the methods of participation that can signify a 21st-century approach to music learning. In this presentation, we will take a closer look at several examples of how new technologies are changing the traditional relationships between youth, music-making and performance. These examples highlight new opportunities for music educators, parents, and youth to question current misconceptions of how new technologies offer watered down or inadequate versions of traditional music education and instead offer new pathways into music education that is more aligned with youth culture and what we know about high quality, interest-driven learning.

peppler kylie3Kylie Peppler
Dr. Peppler is an Associate Professor of Informatics and Education at the University of California, Irvine, where she engages in research at the intersection of the visual/performing arts, new media, and interest-driven learning. Her research has demonstrated how youth transfer their learning of important musical concepts from rhythmic videogames to formal music study, how collaborative composition activities can be used to improve cross-cultural understandings, as well as how out-of-school multimedia creation can advance the computational literacies of an entire youth community. A central mission of her work is to provide next-generation learning experiences for all youth, which she helps advance at scale through her work as the Chief Learning Officer at LRNG, an online credentialing platform that connects youth interests to academic and career opportunity.

Dr. Peppler is the recipient of several awards, including 2016 Mira Tech Educator of the Year and an NSF Early CAREER recipient, as well as grants from the Spencer Foundation, Moore Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation, among others. Through this support, she has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, including the authoring or editing more than 11 book publications. The most recent volumes include the Makeology series as well as The SAGE Encyclopedia of Out-of-School Learning.;; @DrPeppler

The Otherness of the Other: Diversity, Tribalism, and Empathy
Carolyn Calloway-Thomas (Chair of African American & African Diaspora Studies, Indiana University)
Saturday, October 13

11:00 a.m.
Kitsilano Ballroom D

* Attendees will have an opportunity to meet and interact with Carolyn Calloway-Thomas during a facilitated forum on Saturday, October 13, from 1:30–2:25 p.m. in Kitsilano Ballroom D.

On June 5, 2009, Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel, who was imprisoned at Buchenwald concentration camp as a 16-year old boy, toured the site with President Barack Obama during the latter’s trip to Germany. In commenting on the barbarism resident at Buchenwald and in reflecting on other terrible and evil acts that are “meant to diminish the humanity of other human beings,” from Cambodia to Bosnia, Nobelist Wiesel asked a compelling question, “Will the world ever learn?” And then he offered, we human beings must “stop hating the otherness of the other” and “respect it.” In my speech, I will argue first that genuine efforts to foster ethnic and racial inclusion are leading to an ossification of discourses and a troubling specie of tribalism, which undermine sociability and civil society. Second, drawing on Yuval Noah Harari’s concepts of subjectivity and inter-subjectivity, as well as on Kantian, Stoic and other notions of a respect for human dignity, I will offer a pedagogy of empathy as a humanizing way for deepening intercultural relationships among human beings around the world. Finally, I will discuss how a pedagogy of empathy (a toolbox), fused with reasoned discourse, thoughtfulness and music, can promote more compassion in the world. If not now, then, when?

Carolyn Calloway-Thomascalloway thomas carolyn
Dr. Carolyn Calloway-Thomas is immediate past president of the World Communication Association and professor and chair of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana (USA). She is author of Empathy in the Global World: An Intercultural Perspective, coauthor of Intercultural Communication: A Text with Readings and Intercultural Communication Roots and Routes, as well as coeditor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and the Sermonic Power of Public Discourse. Her coauthored book, Intercultural Communication between Chinese and North Americans, is forthcoming in 2018. Her teaching and research areas are empathy and conflict, intercultural communication, communication in black America, civic engagement and pedagogy. She has won many awards, including a Fulbright scholarship to Nigeria, West Africa; a Carnegie scholarship; the National Communication Association’s (NCA) Robert J. Kibler Award, and the Distinguished Alumni award from Grambling State University. In 2010, she was inducted into the Central States Communication Association’s (CSCA) Hall of Fame.

Professor Calloway-Thomas has served in many leadership positions, including past president of the Central States Communication Association (CSCA); past president, Bloomington Faculty Council; past chair, Public Address Division (NCA); past president, Intercultural Communication Division (CSCA); associate dean of the faculties at Indiana University, president of the Bloomington, Indiana Human Rights Commission, a member of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Praxis Speech Communication National Advisory Board, and director of the Interracial Communication Project (funded by the C.S. Mott Foundation). The latter position found expression in a co-produced educational video titled “In Search of Community: The Interracial Communication Project.” She is currently co-chair of NCA’s Task Force on International Collaboration, book review editor of The Howard Journal of Communications, a member of the editorial board of Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, secretary of the Bloomington Human Rights Commission, and has co-produced a Bloomington-based television program titled “Cultural Lens.”

In 1998, Dr. Calloway-Thomas served as a consultant to President Clinton’s Initiative on Race and the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations One America Guide program. In addition, in 1989, she was a decade editor of TIME magazine’s special edition on communication.

She holds degrees from Grambling State University (B.S.), University of Wisconsin (M.A.), and Indiana University (Ph.D.).

She has given hundreds of talks and seminars on intercultural and interracial communication nationally and internationally in places such as Australia, Barbados, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, England, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, South Korea and Sweden. Professor Calloway-Thomas is a master gardener, loves reading and traveling, and her favorite quotations are:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)
“Keep your eyes on the prize.” (Juan Williams)
“Do the best you can with what you have.” (Thurgood Marshall)
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.)
“Do not walk through time without leaving worthy evidence of your passage.” (Pope John XXXIII)
“Soon we shall breathe our last; meanwhile, while we live, while we are among human beings, let us cultivate humanity.” (Seneca)