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Ethnomusicology and Arts training in Chiang Mai, Thailand

(December 2009) Ten students from seven countries enrolled in the first three M.A.-level courses in Ethnomusicology and Arts offered by the Linguistics Department of Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from September through December. The courses were taught by staff from SIL and other organizations to provide this unique training opportunity for students from Thailand and other countries.

Month-long advanced courses in Applied Ethnomusicology and Arts, Field Research Methods for Music and Arts, and Music and Arts Analysis Techniques were offered sequentially. The courses will help encourage language development efforts in indigenous communities to which the participants relate.

A shorter week-long course in Basic Principles of Ethnomusicology and Arts was also conducted to give experienced field workers an overview of ethnomusicology and arts from both academic and applied perspectives.

Student comments from the Applied Ethnomusicology and Arts course

Jacob (India): “First of all it helped me to get a little bit of understanding about a huge area of ethnomusicology. It gave me a better picture about other cultures and how people work cross-culturally. I also understood the need of learning some indigenous instruments before I go any further in my work.”

Roce (Philippines): [When asked how beneficial the course was, one student replied,] “A lot! It opened my eyes to possibilities, reminded me of some of the things I already learned before. It taught me to value my own culture and identity, and to value others who look, speak and see the world differently from us— that my own country and culture is not the only one there is.”

James (Nepal): “It was really benefited to me; ethnomusicology course is like roof top and my music field [experience] is like ground so I learn to see music field from roof top. I would [like to] learn more about this in future also.”

Kimiko (Japan): “The course opened my eyes beyond ethnomusicology. I became convinced that any cultural art forms should not be discriminated in my future literacy work.”

Gangadhar (India): “Oh yes, these classes inspired me a lot and helped me to see every art form as unique. Overall course was wonderful and it has contributed a lot to my knowledge for future work.”

Megan (Canada): “My favorite part of class was getting to hear stories of people’s past experiences. It really broadened my understanding of the world to hear about the different cultures that were studied, but it also kind of empowered me and helped me to recognize a desire in my heart to help people who are in need.”

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