Western Music Featured at Sound Meaning Education Conference

On October 20, 2023, Western music theory professor Jonathan De Souza gave the keynote lecture at this year’s Sound Meaning Education Conference at the University of Guelph’s International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IISCI). Dr. De Souza’s keynote was titled “Improvising with Technology: Phenomenology, Pedagogy, and Performance.”

The event was co-organized by recent Western Music Education alum, jashen edwards (PhD, 2023). It was supported by an SSHRC Connection grant involving Dr. edwards and Music Education faculty member adam bell. The attendees included music teachers, improvisers, and composers, as well as academics. In addition to traditional paper presentations there were many interactive workshop sessions.

Several other Western Music students, faculty, and alumni were involved with the conference. Current graduate students Donna Janowski and Daniel Gardner both gave interactive presentations, with Janowski sharing her research on music-making and YouTube, and Gardner leading a session on “Deep Listening and Diverse Classrooms” that included structured group improvisation.

There was also involvement from Western’s Centre for Theory and Criticism, with presentations from current PhD student Elk Paauw and recent PhD grad Nick Wees.

A group of conference participants performed as part of IICSI’s 24+ hour Improvisation Festival, including Dr. De Souza on violin. Reflecting on the event, he said, “it was great to be in multiple kinds of dialogue with other conference participants, through musical improvisation as well as scholarly discussion.”

Donna Janowski at SME2023 Daniel Gardner at SME2023
Photo 1: Donna Janowski, PhD (Music Education) candidate
Photo 2: Daniel Gardner, PhD (Composition) candidate