October 12th and 13th, 2023, Graz
University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz
Deadlinefor submissions: April 24, 2023
A Cooperation between the Institute for Music Aesthetics, Institute for Music Pedagogy, and the Center for Gender Studies.
Languages of the Conference: English and German
Keynote Speakers: Prof. Dr. Glenda Goodman, Associate Professor in Musicology, University of Pennsylvania, USA ; Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Lessing, Professor in Music Pedagogy, Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, Germany.
The terms amateur and expert come across, at first glance, as opposing concepts. While in the strictest terms, an amateur is someone who pursues music non-professionally, and thus not for financial gain or to make a living in general, it has been common to assume that most such musicians also usually have less musical skill than professionals, so much so that this has become a secondary part of the definition of the term. Yet many cases in music history and in today’s musical practices–including as studied within music pedagogy–complicate this association. Historically, many amateur musicians attained a professional level of skill, including women for whom a professional career in music was not possible. In the past and today, the boundaries between amateurism and professionalism have been ever fluid. Amateurs have crossed into the world of professional activity, and professionals have similarly become amateurs. In many music clubs such as wind orchestras, professional musicians have worked and still work closely together with amateurs, creating a shared expertise that connects both worlds. In instrumental teaching, there is also a tension between the ideas of professionalism and amateurism: on the one hand, students look up aspirationally to their professional teachers, and may wish to be professionals one day; on the other hand, in the vast majority of cases, the aim is for students to acquire the necessary know-how to be active as amateur musicians.
And perhaps most importantly, amateur music-making has often been praised precisely for its status as something outside of the paid musical professions. Qualities like a greater sincerity, originality, or openness to new ideas have been associated with amateur music-making, for example, and professionals have sometimes been described as being less well-suited to have these qualities due to the market demands on their work. These assumptions about amateurism have been persistent, potent, and deeply problematic historically and in recent discussions about amateurism, as they very often oversimplify distinctions in the musical contributions of amateurs and professionals.
The conference “The Expertise of the Musical Amateur” thus seeks to answer the following questions from multiple interdisciplinary angles: In what senses might amateur musicians be said to have particular, special types of expertise, and how might this expertise be best understood within a continuum of amateur and professional musical practices? To address this question, we invite contributions that take historical, pedagogical, aesthetic, ethnographic, or sociological approaches to the topic; contributions need not be confined to any particular historical period or geographic region.
Some possible topic areas might include (with an eye toward the larger question of “expertise):
-Gender, class, or race and amateurism
-Historical social contexts for amateur musical activity
-Pedagogical perspectives on amateurism in historical or current contexts
-Amateur contributions to music pedagogy
-Social interactions between amateurs and professionals
-Aesthetic qualities of amateur composition or performance
-Amateur (or its synonyms) as a pejorative or laudatory term in music
Please submit an abstract of no more than 350 words according to the following guidelines by March 15, 2023:
Please attach your abstract as a PDF, identifying it only by the paper title, so that your submission can be judged anonymously.
Looking forward to your submissions!
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