Thinking

Moving to Wilfrid Laurier University

So thrilled to announce that I’ve accepted an appointment to join the music faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University. Here’s the official announcement. I’ll be helping build the undergraduate program in community music, the first of its kind in Canada, and I think perhaps also across North America. I am so excited to be a part of this! This was my first Instagram post in 2012, of Maureen Forrester Recital Hall at WLU.  This was also my first music conference early in my PhD studies. Looking back, that seems like an auspicious start!          

Share

deanna’s got talent. or not.

I recently had breakfast with a dear friend. Someone I’ve know for many years. He’s made an incredible career for himself, particularly as a playwright and an actor, with a gorgeous singing voice to boot. At breakfast, I told him how through college, I envied him his talent–he seemed to get involved in so many things. A whole bunch of opportunities seemed to fall in his lap. But as I watched him develop as an artist, I quickly realized that while, yes, he is a gifted performer, he works his ass off. He seeks opportunity. He creates opportunities for himself.… Read More »deanna’s got talent. or not.

Share

Reflections on RIME

As you might know, I am finishing my PhD in Music Education at the University of Toronto. So last week I attended the international conference known as RIME: Research in Music Education in the beautiful University of Exeter in England. This was the view from my bedroom window:             Besides the tremendous views, I also got a lot out of the conference itself. Now that I am back in Toronto, I find I am left both excited and troubled about the state of music education world-wide. Excited because I saw many presentations that examined a wide… Read More »Reflections on RIME

Share

the politics of music, the music of politics; aka I’m on strike

Strike! Strike! Strike! Strike! I am (finally, really, truly) close to finishing my ph.d. at the University of Toronto, but as a Teaching Assistant, that means I’ve been a part of the highly publicized CUPE 3902 Unit 1 strike. I have lots of political opinions but perhaps will share those in another post. What I will say here is that I’m pretty sure being on the picket line is the opposite of writing a dissertation in every satisfying way–lots of people, lots of walking (albeit in circles), being blunt clear about the message. Perhaps what I’ve most loved about being… Read More »the politics of music, the music of politics; aka I’m on strike

Share

Pete Seeger: The Man of a Million Small, Powerful Actions

So Pete Seeger passed away on Monday at the age of 94. I, like so many millions of people, have been deeply affected and influenced by his music and his commitment to building a more just world through music. I never met him, but I have had the pleasure of singing and teaching his music. I frankly don’t have much to say that could add to the many amazing tributes that have been published, from the New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and the CBC, to name just a few. There’s a fantastic documentary on CBC’s program Ideas that lets… Read More »Pete Seeger: The Man of a Million Small, Powerful Actions

Share

“the power of the arts”

This past weekend I attended the Power of the Arts National Forum in Ottawa, hosted by the Michaëlle Jean Foundation and Carleton University’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Let me first say that there are a surprising number of organizations in Canada working at the intersection of arts and social change. I learned about fantastic projects, like Beautifulcity.ca, which successfully campaigned for a new tax on billboards in Toronto to be streamed into arts funding. Or the research project Pedagogical Impulse, which paired visual artists and 6th grade students to explore ‘Canada and its Trading partners’ in interesting and… Read More »“the power of the arts”

Share

confronting the rational with the embodied

I just left the ph.d. defense for my capoeira teacher and friend, Lang. Her dissertation on capoeira focuses on how the Afro-Brazilian martial art form is both a powerful site of transformative learning and a challenge to strictly logical/cerebral learning indoctrinated in us in academic institutions. She began defending her thesis this morning by bringing in the whole group and playing in the roda at the beginnning. The University of Toronto is really strict about these things: defenses are not open to the public and we were not allowed to be present during the actual defense. But we were allowed… Read More »confronting the rational with the embodied

Share

my ‘choir’ is performing tonight

I’m in a ‘choir.’ I have a hard time telling people I’m in this choir without putting quotes around the word. Because you see, it doesn’t look anything like any choir I’ve ever seen or participated in. If your definition of choir is a group of people singing together, then yes. We’re a choir. But after that, us and most other choirs depart ways. You’re probably familiar with a typical choir: people arranged in rows according to voice type, facing a conductor and singing multi-part scored music. I’ve sung in these kinds of choirs, and I’ve directed versions of these… Read More »my ‘choir’ is performing tonight

Share

looking back, looking forward

Hey there. So it’s 2013. Where did last year go? 2012 brought so much live music into my life, and I drank it all up like a thirsty man finding water in the desert. I have two young kids, so getting out of the house at all, let alone seeing tons of live music, is nothing short of manna. I went to Hillside Festival in Guelph, and to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, in, well, Edmonton. Got to see Merill Garbus and the incredible tUnE-yArDs (watch this video for a sample of her crazy/raw/fun aesthetic), and I fulfilled a life-long… Read More »looking back, looking forward

Share

advice for choosing a choir

I was the guest editor for Whole Note magazine’s May 2012 edition. This Toronto area-based music magazine is known for releasing its ‘Canary Pages’ in May– a listing of choirs and other singing opportunities in the Greater Toronto Area for anyone who’s looking to join a choir, or perhaps looking for a change. I was asked to write about choirs and community for this year’s edition(you can read it here). I also had some long, wonderful discussions with two Toronto-based conductors: Isabel Bernaus, conductor of the Jubilate Singers and Common Thread Community Choir; and Becca Whitla, conductor of Echo Women’s… Read More »advice for choosing a choir

Share