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Performance as Conversation: Dialogic Aspects of Music Performance and Study

Performance as
Dialogic Aspects of Music
Performance and Study
Rachel Elizabeth Scott
What does a photo have to do with a piece by Gershwin? A recently discov-
ered photograph identied the pitches of taxi horns used in a 1929 perfor-
mance of An American in Paris supervised by Gershwin. Scholars at Univer-
sity of Michigans Gershwin Initiative have used this nding, in conjunction
with a recording of the same performance, to justify the change from the
traditional realization of the taxi horns for the new scholarly edition of this
piece.1 Flexibility is a requirement for the modern musicologist; discoveries
and breakthroughs can come in a variety of formats, and not just printed
Although much of the classical music repertory is centuries old, musi-
cians, musicologists, and fans participate in ongoing and lively conversations
in an increasing variety of arenas. New insights on old works now surface
thanks to technological innovations, from data-rich digital humanities proj-
ects to casual online forums, where media and text can be posted and dis-
cussed. e study and performance of a musical work—typically, the com-
bination of sound, notation, and performance—is informed by a variety of
sources in a wide array of formats.
* This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-
NoDerivatives 4.0 License, CC BY-NC-ND (
240 CHAPTER 17
e recently introduced Framework for Information Literacy for Higher
Education (Framework) includes the frame “Scholarship as Conversation.2
e frame highlights the ongoing, collaborative, and iterative nature of re-
search processes. is frame, in addition to the Framework’s emphasis on re-
ective practices, provides information professionals, students, and scholars
alike with a structure with which to make sense of the complexity of music
research and performance. As the interplay between audience and performer
becomes increasingly dynamic and the potential sources for study multiply,
librarians can help students negotiate this sustained, multi-format discourse.
Music as conversation
Conceptualizing Scholarship as Conversation will enable musicians to navi-
gate the many considerations of how to perform or understand a piece. Un-
like other disciplines, like law, in which consensus of eld undergoes change
slowly and only via codied processes, understanding of a musical work is
subject to interpretation in uniquely personal ways and can change with each
performance. Because music is primarily an aural and not a textual tradition,
even recordings and notated music only lend so much permanence to a mu-
sical composition. With almost limitless ways to analyze a work or to realize
the work in performance, musicians typically, if unwittingly, participate in
conversations to negotiate meaning of musical works.
Traditionally, this “conversation” may have meant discussing the piece
with a teacher, conductor, or other respected musician. It may also have en-
tailed visiting the library to consult a scholarly edition and thematic catalog,
listen to various recordings, and read relevant sections of the composer’s bi-
ography. Traditional conversations were also social, discussing elements of
performance with one’s colleagues in a performance ensemble or with com-
plete strangers in the audience of a performance venue. Historically, though,
these conversations were among smaller groups in face-to-face interactions
or via written correspondence, and both the variety and amount of musical
information with which one came into contact were limited.
Now that compositional analysis, performance recordings, and a variety
of scores can easily be found, uploaded, interacted with, and discussed online,
the conversation is growing more dynamic, distributed, and complex. Music
information in digital settings is rapidly changing, not xed and controlled
like traditional information sources. Increased interactivity and simplied
web productivity tools mean that anyone has the potential to contribute to
musical conversations online. Digital media of various kinds can be added to
illustrate musical materials, creating an information-rich musical landscape.
It is essential that novice researchers and musicians understand that the qual-
Performance as Conversation 241
ity and authoritativeness of music sources must be evaluated; online avail-
ability or convenience does not necessarily recommend a resource.3
In order to fully appreciate the lifecycle of a given musical work, one must
synthesize a variety of contemporary and historical recordings, scholarly,
manuscript, and performing scores, composer biography, and other contex-
tual information. Donald Krummel, noted musicologist and music librarian,
wrote in 1982 that “the best way for any scholar to enter a eld will always
be bibliographically, through the activity of passing as much of the source
material through his or her hands as possible.”4 While digital objects cannot
necessarily be held in one’s hands, the idea still proves true. In order to un-
derstand something well enough to make a scholarly or musical contribution,
one must rst read, listen to, see, and interact with as many of the extant
materials as possible.
In a similar vein, this frame states, “developing familiarity with the
sources of evidence, methods, and modes of discourse in the eld assists nov-
ice learners to enter the conversation.”5 Knowledge of the variety of source
material available and an understanding of how to use this material is essen-
tial to contributing to this discourse. Similarly, an appreciation of the vari-
ous modes of discourse specic to music is essential to participating in this
conversation. Music research is comprised of several specialties, including
musicology and ethnomusicology, music therapy, music education, and mu-
sic theory. Each of these subdisciplines has specic research methodologies,
preferred source material, and scholarly processes and activities. However,
recent music scholarship is increasingly interdisciplinary and may incorpo-
rate diverse modes of discourse. As modes of musical discourse diversify and
become increasingly casual and participatory, contributing to scholarly con-
versations may become less intimidating to students and novice researchers.
Both the Framework in general and this frame in particular emphasize
the interactive nature of scholarship. Students who have understood their only
role in scholarship to be that of a passive consumer, using published research
to support their arguments, are challenged to see themselves as participants
in an ongoing conversation. Musicians, however, have a unique perspective
on this interactivity. Musical performance is, aer all, seldom performed in
isolation; music is a conversation among composer, artist(s), and audience,
among others. Musical performances may also be understood as a dialogue
with the artist’s perceived predecessors. Even when alone in a practice room,
the musician is in dialogue with a composer’s musical notation, a teacher’s
instruction, and a musical inuence’s interpretation. Where students in other
disciplines might not actively contribute to or participate in their eld until
they enter graduate school or obtain a professional position, musicians learn
from an early age to engage in the collaborative work of performance. While
experts may have more condence in their contributions to scholarly under-
242 CHAPTER 17
standing of a musical work and a well-developed sense of their audience, stu-
dents and amateur musicians now have online platforms from which to share
and promote their performances and contributions. e possibility of posting
one’s performance or musical analysis and promptly receiving feedback from
a variety of sources is a relatively new phenomenon for the novice researcher
or amateur musician. Digital platforms have ushered in considerable changes,
both in the size and diversity of audiences and in who can contribute.
is frame also highlights the interdisciplinary nature of research. One
characteristic of expert researchers is their inclination to seek out diverse
perspectives in order to conduct exhaustive research and to add depth of un-
derstanding to their research. Novice researchers may lack the deep subject
knowledge to know when to step outside the boundaries of the discipline.
ey might also not know what questions to ask or be unable to appreciate the
relative authoritativeness of various sources. Conducting research in many
subdisciplines of music requires signicant forays into other disciplines. Ex-
pert music researchers are familiar with expectations when incorporating
outside perspectives into their research and know how to engage with ex-
tra-musical material when conducting music research.
According to this frame, “Providing attribution to relevant previous re-
search is also an obligation of participation in the conversation. It enables the
conversation to move forward and strengthens one’s voice in the conversa-
tion.”6 Attribution has always been important to both musical performance
and musicology. Many classical performers proudly trace their musical an-
cestry back to famous performers and pedagogues, claiming to be a musical
descendent of so-and-so or a disciple of X-school of singing. Musicians may
cite or signal their musical inuences in their programmatic choices, elements
of technique, or stylistic choices. is tracing of musical lineage may not be
exactly what is meant by attribution in the Framework, in which learners
credit others “through proper attribution or citation.”7 Although it espouses
metaliteracy, the Framework focuses on text-based scholarship, which still
comprises the bulk of the corpora. However, providing attribution, in music
as in scholarship, helps others contextualize your contribution. Being able to
recognize a musician or argument in a particular camp or school of thought
is characteristic of someone with considerable experience and expertise.
Digital natives may struggle to understand traditional attribution. Clas-
sical and popular musics have long been sampled with and without attribu-
tion, but research has shown that students who have grown up in a “copy and
paste” environment see uidity of authorship.8 Because of this uidity, they
may not appreciate the ways in which acknowledging the original context of
content enriches one’s use of it. In a recent study of undergraduate responses
to the language and concepts in the Framework, one student used a musical
example to highlight the dialogical interplay of scholarship: “Most musicians
Performance as Conversation 243
will say… the best musicians know how to borrow ideas. e same goes for
creating other forms of content in our day and age. We’re all oering our
own input on their past works. It’s an everlasting conversation!”9 Musicians
and musical scholars continue to draw heavily on the work of their predeces-
sors. e increasing availability of music information, from authoritative to
inaccurate, make this network of inuence ever more complex to negotiate.
Accordingly, it is essential that students learn to appropriate information eth-
ically and with an understanding of its original context.
Teaching and assessing Scholarship as
In order to authentically teach and assess this frame, the academic librarian
must collaborate with music classroom and studio faculty. Several studies of
music information literacy have highlighted the need for instruction that is
highly relevant and tailored to the specic needs of the class.10 Accordingly,
in order to specically target and assess student understanding of the dialogic
nature of music performance or study, the librarian must work closely with
the classroom faculty to ensure that this content ts within the overall learn-
ing objectives of the course. e librarian should meet with the instructor and
collect class syllabi, assignment descriptions, or performance assignments.
Embracing the principles of backward design, the librarian should discuss
and understand the instructor’s desired results for the instruction session.
By understanding the scope of course content, requirements for assignments,
and instructor expectations, the librarian can better integrate the library in-
struction and assessment into the class.
In order for information literacy instruction to have immediacy for the
students, it needs to be active and authentic. In an article in Journal of Music
History Pedagogy, music librarian and musicologist Jennifer Oates empha-
sizes the importance of experiential learning in music library instruction:
“Students are taught how to explore their intellectual curiosity by engaging
in research and asking questions that require academic resources to answer
them eectively.”11 Learning interventions should force students to critically
evaluate and use resources in order to answer questions relevant to their per-
sonal or intellectual goals.
Regardless of the format of the instruction, the librarian can begin to
introduce students to practices that will help them appreciate the dialogic
nature of musical research and performance. Knowledge practices for Schol-
arship as Conversation include: properly citing others’ work, contributing
appropriately to the conversation, recognizing barriers to participation, ana-
244 CHAPTER 17
lyzing others’ contributions, recognizing the relative contribution of certain
works to the discipline, identifying change in perspective, and appreciating
the diversity of perspectives. 12 Not all of these knowledge practices can or
should be introduced in a one-shot instruction session; the assignment and
assessment section details some ways in which select knowledge practices
might be incorporated in a single session. However, once the librarian has
mapped out knowledge practices in relation to the instructional content, the
overlapping nature of these practices should make the task of addressing mul-
tiple knowledge practices more approachable. Regardless of the knowledge
practices targeted, instruction must allow students opportunity for engage-
ment and reection.
Unlike the Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Edu-
cation (Standards), the Framework does not have built-in outcomes.13 Where
the Standards outline discrete and exhaustive competencies, the Framework
identies some potential dispositions and knowledge practices for each frame.
I appreciate the knowledge practices as great fodder for thinking about long-
term learning and nd that they have helped me shi to a more student-cen-
tered pedagogy. e Standards were limiting; I felt compelled to stick to my
script in order to ensure that the appropriate standards were taught and could
be measured objectively. e Framework’s interconnected frames and overlap-
ping dispositions have heightened my awareness of the complexity entailed in
knowledge construction and in measuring student learning. I have been forced
to acknowledge that students will grapple with these information literacy
practices at varying speeds and level of engagement long aer a given library
instruction session. ere has also been debate about the frames as threshold
concepts as dened by Meyers and Land.14 Although I am not convinced that
Scholarship as Conversation is particularly bounded, I do think “conversation”
is a worthwhile metaphor for conceptualizing scholarship in many disciplines.
Choosing conversation makes this frame accessible to and appropriate for nov-
ice and experts engaging in almost any type of scholarly work.
Accordingly, assessing Scholarship as Conversation may feel like an in-
surmountable challenge for librarians accustomed to the more prescriptive
Standards. Oakleaf, however, oers some encouragement and several ideas
for assessing the Frames at the program level:
threshold concepts are very well suited to learning outcomes
assessment, as long as the assessments permit the use of au-
thentic assessment approaches, provide useful feedback to
students to help them over the “stuck place,” emphasize
individual variation in the journey that students travel to
achieve them, recognize that learners may redene their
sense of self, link learning and grading in meaningful ways,
Performance as Conversation 245
organize programmatic assessment around transformation-
al ideas, and support metacognition.15
What might this look like in the context of a single-shot library instruc-
tion session? e “troublesome” nature of threshold concepts make them
challenging to teach and assess in a single session. Accordingly, instruction
and assessment should be as personal, integrated, and open-ended as is prac-
tical. e instruction and assessment should support reection and exibil-
ity, convey to students that there are many ways to nd, evaluate, and use
information, and that awareness of one’s ndings and developing knowledge
should inform one’s strategy. roughout the instruction and in assessment
instruments, one should pose open-ended instead of multiple choice or ll-
in-the-blank questions. Whenever possible, assessment should allow for in-
dividual variations rather than homogenize student understanding. is can
be achieved by engaging music faculty to determine which information liter-
acy concepts would best support their course objectives and collaborating to
create a mutually benecial assessment tool. When possible, one should pro-
vide feedback to students, oer to meet them individually, get to know them
personally, and remind them of library services that support their ongoing
e following section includes ideas for assignments and assessments
based on the author’s experience. Sample lesson plans for music education,
musicology, and music business courses are not meant as exhaustive ap-
proaches to teaching this frame. Rather, they represent jumping-o points
that should be revised based on one’s own context and, ideally, informed with
input from teaching faculty.
Assignment and assessment ideas
Music education: Conversation as pedagogy. Music librarians oen teach
music education majors in the context of a music history or research methods
course. If the librarian has an opportunity to work with music education or
music pedagogy students in a major-specic course, the librarian could in-
troduce a discussion of the dialogical nature of pedagogy and show students
some resources that model this approach in the context of applied music in-
struction. Two learning outcomes for this class might be:
Students will nd and access master classes in order to identify use-
ful pedagogical techniques.
Students will identify ways in which questions and conversation
facilitate musicians’ understanding in order to enhance their own
246 CHAPTER 17
During the instruction, the librarian demonstrates how to nd master
classes and other instructional videos in MUSAIC, a free streaming video
platform for classical music concerts, master classes, and interviews. In mu-
sic, master classes are typically group classes in which an expert publicly
works with a single student at a time on a prepared piece or excerpt. Aer
watching part of a master class together, the instructor leads a discussion of
how the teacher’s question-posing and conversation improve the student’s
musical performance. e librarian ties this into the theme of “Scholarship as
Conversation” and encourages students to seek out other resources that make
this dialogue explicit. e master class viewed should provide the librarian
with ample opportunities to highlight that musical works and music perfor-
mance are both ongoing conversations, master classes are a venue for such
conversations, and, nally, as future educators, students will facilitate these
conversations and must understand the responsibilities and privilege thereof.
e librarian and instructor collaborate to plan and write an assessment
of student learning. A possible assignment would require students to select
and watch another master class and ask students to respond to the following
questions in one-page essays.
1. Describe how the “master” uses dialogue to facilitate learning. Identify
as many specic strategies as possible.
2. Which of these practices will you incorporate into your own instruc-
tion? How will you do so?
3. Reect on the usefulness of the master/student dichotomy and identify
one example of expertise that may be dismissed in this construct.
e assignment facilitates the following student practices: “seek out con-
versations taking place in their research area; see themselves as contributors
to scholarship rather than only consumers of it; recognize that scholarly con-
versations take place in various venues… recognize that systems privilege au-
thorities,” all of which are dispositions for this frame.
Music students are familiar with the master class format and accustomed
to streaming online media, but the casual venue for professional content is
likely new. is assignment demonstrates that relevant, scholarly conver-
sations can be found and hosted online. Although students might struggle
to recognize that “systems privilege authorities,” seeing the all-star line-up
on MUSAIC makes the master/student dichotomy quite clear. Nonetheless,
the media format makes it easy for students to hear, see, and observe mas-
ter teaching techniques in action and begin to form ideas about how they
might appropriate techniques and enter into the conversation. Furthermore,
providing timely feedback on student essays reinforces the import of these
practices and extends the librarian’s dialogue with the student.
Musicology: Eavesdropping on scholarly conversations. One option
for teaching this frame to musicology students over the course of a semester
Performance as Conversation 247
would be to require students to subscribe to AMS-L, the email discussion list
of the American Musicological Society. Subscribing to this list for a semester
would teach students a great deal about the research methods, resources, and
discourse employed by professional musicologists. Students would have the
opportunity to eavesdrop on the conversation or to participate. e learning
outcome for this instruction is:
Students will evaluate email discussion list threads in order to identi-
fy characteristics of musicological scholarship.
Begin the instruction session by asking students to identify some of the
traditional scholarly processes involved in music research. Present as a case
study a recent example from AMS-L in which a New York Times article16
about slavery and race in Mozart operas sparked multiple conversations, not
only about the article, but about why a relevant letter to the editor would not
be published and where else a rejoinder should appear. is case illustrates
how scholarly conversations increasingly occur across various formats and
venues, involve non-academicians, and are highly interactive. Use this or a
similar case example to facilitate a discussion of how scholarly processes are
evolving in light of digital media.
To assess this assignment, the librarian would only need to provide a
prompt that promoted reection and then provide written feedback on stu-
dent responses. A sample prompt should include open-ended questions that
allow students to articulate in their own words the nature and perceived value
of the conversations fostered by this email discussion list. A sample prompt
might read as follows: Please reect on the various posts and conversations
you’ve followed on AMS-L and respond to each of the following questions in
one or two paragraphs:
1. What kinds of information have you seen posted to this email discus-
sion list? Explain which are most useful to you and why.
2. Evaluate three or four Calls for Papers (CFP). Describe the characteris-
tics of musicology scholarship as outlined in these CFP.
3. Look up the credentials of some of the more frequent posters. Who
are these people? Who seems to be included in this forum and who is
excluded? Why does this matter/what are the implications of exclusion?
4. What types of research methods were discussed or featured? Describe a
digital musicology initiative that piqued your interest.
In addition to identifying the variety of ways in which this email discus-
sion list facilitates conversation within the musicology community, this as-
signment should also open students’ eyes to the diversity of musicology proj-
ects, papers, and initiatives. Exposing students to this diversity helps students
see a role for themselves as contributors to the discipline. e list provides
an appropriate opportunity to interact with prospective colleagues at various
levels and, perhaps, to contribute to the conversation. By pausing to reect on
248 CHAPTER 17
who might be excluded from participating, it forces students to recognize a
variety of barriers to publishing in the eld. As they reect on participating
authors and their messages, students will gain familiarity with the tone of the
conversation and develop an awareness of the relative contributions of some
Music business: Disruptive events in a sustained conversation. Music
Business students have very dierent information needs than their peers in
classical music programs. ey frequently seek sales and other music indus-
try data and may be less interested in engaging conceptually in information
literacy topics. However, the following assignment might present an opportu-
nity to encourage music business students to consider the ongoing and itera-
tive nature of research. e learning outcome for this assignment is:
Students will evaluate articles in order to identify how understand-
ing of a disruptive event (in music business) has evolved over time.
To set up the activity, the librarian opens with a discussion of source
evaluation and explains that the scholarly study of popular music is relatively
new and necessarily interdisciplinary. By asking students, “Who is qualied
to write authoritatively about music business?” and “Where can authorita-
tive music business information be found?” the librarian encourages them to
identify stakeholders in this conversation. If students can identify potential
experts in the eld (e.g., music producers, artists, fans, recording engineers)
and explain when each might be authoritative and when their contributions
might be less meaningful, they demonstrate a burgeoning understanding of
the dynamic and contextual nature of authority in music business research.
e librarian asks students to form small groups and assign each a “dis-
ruptive event” in the eld of music business. Examples of disruptive events
and ideas might include: MP3, streaming platforms, Auto-Tune, Web 2.0,
“Rockonomics” (relationship of declining record sales and rising ticket pric-
es), and TV talent shows. e librarian provides each of the groups with two
articles from dierent time periods or perspectives. Working in groups, stu-
dents evaluate the two sources using a prompt that encourages reection re-
lated to frame:
1. Who wrote each of these? List their qualications to write on this topic.
2. What can you nd about this journal/source? What barriers can you
identify to publishing in it?
3. What external citations can you nd in these articles? Explain how the
respective author uses these citations (to provide evidence, to acknowl-
edge its importance, to contest claim, etc.).
4. How has understanding of the topic changed over time?
ese questions underscore several of the underlying features of Schol-
arship as Conversation: the ongoing and dynamic nature of inquiry, the hi-
erarchy of scholarly contributions, the limitations to participation in certain
Performance as Conversation 249
venues, the diversity of perspectives and approaches, and, nally, the need
for critical evaluation of all contributions. By walking around the room
and providing feedback to the groups as they work, the librarian legitimiz-
es their practice of critically evaluating sources and identifying competing
understandings in published works. By modeling source evaluation, assign-
ing group work, and exposing students to this ongoing conversation in two
dierent forums, the librarian encourages students to enter the conversations
surrounding their “disruptive event.”
As musicians, music students have an inherent understanding of the conver-
sational nature of any piece, scholarly or not. e above exercises are meant
to help bring to the surface this innate understanding of the ongoing dia-
logue which surrounds all forms of music information production. is has
implications for the performer’s understanding of the musical works; only
when this knowledge becomes explicit can musicians and music scholars ful-
ly leverage the complexity and richness of music information past and pres-
ent. By demonstrating an understanding of a musical works history, import,
and contemporary understanding, the performer enters into the ongoing di-
alogue surrounding the works.
Conversation is a useful and accessible metaphor for explaining scholarly
processes to music students. It has also been a valuable conceptual framework
for me to apply not only in library instruction, but also to my own scholarly
endeavors. Reecting on Scholarship as Conversation has shaped my under-
standing of the various dialogues in which in which I must participate in
order to contribute to library science practice and research. It has given me
a new understanding of scholarly agency and encouraged me to participate
more broadly in professional discourse.
Librarians’ knowledge of subject resources and information literacy
concepts that ground research practices make us well-situated to model the
variety of sources and diversity of approaches that can inform musical per-
formance and scholarship. By helping musicians recognize and understand
the many voices engaged in these scholarly conversations, librarians’ con-
tributions can make a meaningful impact on the musician’s stock-in-trade:
1. Mark Clague, “1929 Gershwin Taxi Horn Photo Claries Mystery,” Gershwin Ini-
tiative blog, March 5, 2016,
250 CHAPTER 17
2. Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), Framework for Information
Literacy for Higher Education, February 2, 2015, http://ww
3. Kirstin Dougan, “Music, YouTube, and Academic Libraries,” Notes 72, no. 3 (2016):
491-508; Rachel E. Scott, “e Edition-Literate Singer: Edition Selection as an
Information Literacy Competency,” Music Reference Services Quarterly 16, no.3
(2013): 131–140.
4. D. W. Krummel, “e Bibliographical Prognosis,”e Journal of Musicology 1, no.
1 (1982): 31.
5. ACRL, Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.
6. Ibid.
7. I bid .
8. Mary R. Lea and Sylvia Jones, “Digital Literacies in Higher Education: Exploring
Textual and Technological Practice,” Studies in Higher Education 36, no. 4 (2011):
377–393; Dan Perkel, “Copy and Paste Literacy? Literacy Practices in the Produc-
tion of a MySpace Prole,” in Informal Learning and Digital Media: Constructions,
Contexts, Consequences, eds. Kirsten Drotner, Hans Siggard Jensen, and Kim
Schroeder (Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008); John G. Palfrey and
Urs Gasser, Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives
(New York: Basic Books, 2008), 111–129.
9. Rachel E. Scott, “Part 2. If We Frame It, ey Will Respond: Undergraduate Stu-
dent Responses to the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education,”
e Reference Librarian 58, no. 1 (2017): 19–32, doi:10.1080/02763877.2 016.1196 471.
10. Beth Christensen, “Warp, We, and Wae: Weaving Information Literacy into
an Undergraduate Music Curriculum,”Notes60, no. 3 (2004): 616-631; Victoria
Vaughan and Kathleen A. Abromeit, “Info Lit and the Diva: Integrating Informa-
tion Literacy into the Oberlin Conservatory of Music Opera eater Department,”
Notes 60, no. 3 (2004): 632–652; Rachel E. Scott, “e Edition-Literate Singer: Edi-
tion Selection as an Information Literacy Competency,”Music Reference Services
Quarterly16, no. 3 (2013): 131–140; Alessia Zanin-Yost and Christina L. Reitz, “In-
formation Literacy in Music History: Fostering Success in Teaching and Learning,”
Journal of Library Administration 54, no. 7 (2014): 562–572.
11. Jennifer Oates, “Engaging with Research and Resources in Music Courses,” Journal
of Music History Pedagog y4, no. 2 (2013): 284.
12. ACRL, Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.
13. Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL), Information Literacy Com-
petency Standards for Higher Education, 2000,
14. Jan Meyer and Ray Land,reshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages
to Ways of inking and Practising within the Disciplines, Occasional Report 2, ETL
Project (2002), http://ww
15. Megan Oakleaf, “A Roadmap for Assessing Student Learning Using the New
Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education,” e Journal of Aca-
demic Librarianship 5, no. 40 (2014): 511.
16. Zachary Woolf, “Can Opera Become an Agent of Change?” New York Times, July
15, 2016,
This cautionary tale outlines how a librarian with an understanding of and respect for cataloging processes was the perfect candidate to be duped by a false attribution in a bibliographic record. In the process of compiling a list of compositions attributed to Alma Mahler for my disser- tation, I encountered a handful of works not yet addressed in the scholar- ship on her compositional work. Despite numerous red flags, and much to my detriment, I invested a great deal in one of these unqualified and unsubstantiated attributions that turned out to be false. In the wake of this false attribution, I have had to come to terms with how my profes- sional identity as librarian has worked to my advantage and detriment as a researcher. I leverage the ACRL frames “Authority is Constructed and Contextual” and “Scholarship as Conversation” to explore this tension.
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The second part of this exploratory study compares student pretest and posttest responses conducted at the beginning and end of a semester-long research methods course to measure the evolution of undergraduate students’ comprehension of information literacy concepts as presented in the Frames.
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Many young singers are not aware that the edition of a piece they select may differ greatly from a different edition of the same piece. The proliferation of free and easily accessible public domain scores online has complicated the process of selection and has favored convenience over quality. This article explains how the evaluation of scores is a valid information literacy competency and details steps that music librarians might take to promote evaluation of editions among undergraduate vocal music majors.
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In this chapter, I argue that MySpace is an environment that fosters the development of new literacies. Drawing on examples from fieldwork and my own use of the site, this analysis is based on a model that tries to reconcile social and technical perspectives on literacy. The expressive power found in the creation of a MySpace profile concerns a technically simple but socially complex practice: the copying and pasting of code as a way to appropriate and reuse other people's media products. However, the importance of copying and pasting code does not easily fit in the common conventions of reading and writing, consumption and production. By integrating theories of appropriation and reuse of media with theories of literacy, a new way of thinking about this practice emerges, seeing "participation" and "remix" as important concepts to describe the social and technical aspects of these new literacy practices.
The current environment of video sharing sites like YouTube, and direct-to-consumer digital music distribution models, presents challenges to academic music libraries’ primary mission of building collections of materials to support research and create a record of scholarly and artistic output. The rise in the use of smart mobile devices that allow individuals to store large quantities of music and use sites like YouTube has created an expectation that finding and accessing music should be convenient and easy. This article examines the ways in which university music faculty members in the United States consider YouTube use in their teaching and research. It finds that there are differences in how faculty in different music subdisciplines view and use YouTube, and that there is a dichotomy in how faculty as a whole value YouTube for teaching compared with their own work. Faculty understanding of YouTube’s content, legality, and applications for teaching and research varies widely. Finally, this article illuminates how faculty view their institutional libraries in comparison to sites like YouTube, and explores the implications all of this might have for the future of library collections.
This paper arises from ongoing research undertaken by the Economics team of the ESRC/ TLRP Project 'Enhancing Teaching and Learning Environments' (ETL) 1 . This forms part of the large scale ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme Phase 2. ETL is seeking to identify factors leading to high quality learning environments within five disciplinary contexts across a range of HE institutions. Meyer's notion of a threshold concept was introduced into project discussions on learning outcomes as a particular basis for differentiating between core learning outcomes that represent 'seeing things in a new way' and those that do not. A threshold concept is thus seen as something distinct within what university teachers would typically describe as 'core concepts'. Furthermore, threshold concepts may represent, or lead to, what Perkins (1999) describes as 'troublesome knowledge' — knowledge that is conceptually difficult, counter-intuitive or 'alien'. The paper attempts to define characteristics of threshold concepts and, in the light of Perkins' work, to indicate correspondences between the notion of threshold concepts and that of 'troublesome knowledge.'
The article describes the collaborative process between the authors in adapting course assignments in undergraduate music history courses to demonstrate actual learning of content and information literacy skills. Although the inclusion of the information literacy standards is an important step in developing critical thinking skills, other factors impede students to perform well such as lack of knowledge on how to structure a research paper or not understanding how to properly cite the information. By monitoring student performance, the faculty and instruction librarian can make changes to improve student learning and the acquisition of critical thinking skills.
Notes 60.3 (2004) 632-652 The teacher wondered . . . what the problem was. Her students had been having such difficulties with finding research materials for their papers. Perhaps it was the assignments themselves, which were admittedly quite demanding of their information-literacy skills. Her students were so keen to learn about opera, and they seemed so enthusiastic about the interdisciplinary aspects of opera research, but somehow they could never quite pull all the information together. They were all wonderful, intelligent, and talented students. Perhaps she was failing them as their teacher. The librarian pondered . . . how to convey to students that learning to find information is crucial. How do I get performers to understand the importance of well-honed library skills? Sometimes I think they believe that just being able to play their instruments well will make them successful in the music world. Aren't they curious about the bigger picture? Don't they wonder about the translations of the arias they are singing, or the social context for the characters in the opera they are performing? They are so talented, but why the complacency? The teacher brooded . . . over what to do. Maybe if she created even more detailed reading lists and bibliographical handouts they would start to understand the need to cross-reference their research materials. Perhaps they would even venture to the Main Library and make the first vital leap into the literature and performing arts resources in the Library of Congress's PN classification section. Maybe they would even discover the Art Library and begin the wondrous journey into the history of scenic design. But it all seemed so futile. The librarian speculated . . . about what was happening in the opera-theater class. She knew many of the opera students and had heard them speak of the assignments for Introduction to Opera Theater. The students come in the library with huge research projects assigned to them, and they wander around the library looking for resources as if they are looking for a needle in a haystack. I wonder if their instructor has explained the research process. For that matter, I wonder if even she knows how to find library material? The teacher knew . . . that the research materials were there in the library for her students to use. The teacher stood up suddenly from her desk. She could bear it no longer. She opened the office door and strode towards the library. She felt that within its walls there lay the answer to her quest, that if she could even for a moment make contact with one of her opera students in the library, she could lead him to the bound-periodicals section and show him the door to interdisciplinary research. As she slid through the entrance gate she noticed an unfamiliar face behind the Information Desk. The librarian was pleased to be working at the Information Desk. The teacher stopped at the desk. "Excuse me, but I was wondering if you could help me?" In 1876 Otis Robinson made the following statement on academic libraries which summarizes the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century view of library education: Robinson's statement is noteworthy in that he holds the librarian responsible for the teaching of skills needed to use the collection, as well as for building and maintaining it. Since Robinson's time, much has happened in terms of library instruction. In the last thirty years we have moved from teaching individual tools, to the use of conceptual frameworks in instructional design, to instruction and learning activities based on learning theory, to an information literacy model. The Association of College and Research Libraries defines information literacy as
Notes 60.3 (2004) 616-631 I have had the privilege of working with bibliographic instruction and information literacy at St. Olaf College for more than twenty years. As a liberal arts college, our institution has always been committed to the concept of lifelong learning. Add a large music department with a particularly strong performance component to this mix, however, and it can create an interesting combination—something we often call "healthy tension." St. Olaf College also has a time-honored program of course- integrated, sequential library instruction, and that approach to instruction is the focus of this article. Just what does course-integrated, sequential library instruction mean? It means that we work with existing courses and scheduled course time, collaborating with the faculty, to weave the library and the concept of information literacy into the course content with which students are presented. We accomplish this with specific assignments that build upon the knowledge and skills that students gain from semester to semester. And we do it again, and again, and again. Any good librarian knows one does not learn everything one needs to know about information in kindergarten; likewise, as musicians might phrase it, practice is one good way to get to perfect. This process of "weaving" the library with the music curriculum demands that sometimes the thread of information literacy goes one direction, sometimes another, and sometimes we cannot decide so we simply waffle. It is an ever-changing, organic process—one influenced by the healthy pressures created by changes in the curriculum, the faculty, the technology we use, and the information we want the students to master. The underlying philosophy of St. Olaf's program of sequential, course-integrated library instruction has been strikingly consistent over the years. Based upon the model Evan Farber set for library education at Earlham College, our program has always relied upon the premise that students need to not only locate information but also understand the strategy behind their research and, very importantly, be able to evaluate the information they uncover. During the past two decades, technology has made it easier for students to locate information, but often more difficult for them to navigate the abundance of information they encounter to determine what is relevant and worthwhile in their research process. When considering any course-integrated instruction program, we need to acknowledge the significant pros and cons that inevitably accompany the endeavor. One of the most daunting challenges is the initiative and energy required. Librarians must be more proactive in their approach to user education, and that can take much more energy than simply waiting for questions to come to the reference desk. I am convinced that course-integrated library instruction is some of the most difficult teaching one can do: librarians visit pre-existing class environments, are always being observed by peers, frequently encounter low student motivation, and often wait years for positive student feedback. And building a program within the curriculum is a slow process, often taking years if not decades to accomplish. At the same time, there are important advantages to such a program. First, and probably most interesting to our administrations, it is cost effective. Many students can be reached in one class period, saving expensive individual reference service for more complex and well-prepared questions. Librarians are also able to reach students who may not come into the library when reference service is available. Second, the program has had a positive effect on collection development, from both library and teaching faculty perspectives. Because I, as music librarian, am better aware of general course content and upcoming assignments, I can better anticipate needs for the collection in tandem with curricular demands and changes. Third, the program leads to much more interesting reference questions. Students receive basic information for the assignment through course presentations and bibliographies, allowing librarians to focus the precious individual reference experience on questions that have been prepared and researched ahead of time. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the library is perceived as being integral to what it means to be a musician. Thinking critically about music is a real goal, whether in choosing a score, selecting a recording, or finding critical works...