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West African dance and drumming at the 2010 symposium.
West African dance and drumming at the 2010 symposium.

Educators interested in integrating music into the curriculum to improve student achievement, and musicians who want to hone their craft, are invited to a six-day conference at UT.

The ninth biennial National Symposium on Multicultural Music will be held October 8-13.

The event is for general music teachers, choral and band directors, university students and professors, and the local community. Participants may earn professional development credit.

“We don’t live in isolation, especially as it pertains to music,” said Marvelene Moore, a UT professor of music education and founder of the symposium. “My goal is to bring together people from all walks of life to experience and participate in different types of ethnic music and genres.”

The symposium will kick off with a Multicultural Music Celebration Day that will feature performances and music ranging from Appalachian and Native American to Cajun and African drumming. The UT student jazz ensemble also will perform. About fifty booths will be set up at the all-day event on the Pedestrian Walkway on campus. The celebration day, which is free and open to be the public, will be held in partnership with the UT Appalachian Heritage Festival.

Bagpipes of Scotland at the 2010 symposium.

The next five days of the conference will feature a variety of paid sessions. Participants will learn from national and international experts on music integration and multicultural music.

The event will include field trips to the Museum of Appalachia in Norris and Knox County’s Mooreland Heights Elementary School, which has a successful arts integration program. There also will be folk dancing and storytelling.

The symposium sessions will be held at UT, at the UT Conference Center, and the Museum of Appalachia. Participants may register for one or a group of tracks.

Moore established the symposium in 1999 as a resource and inexpensive training for music teachers in the East Tennessee region. It has since grown to attract teachers from across the country. They have come from as far away as California and Washington State.

Melinda Russell, an elementary school teacher in Virginia, called past symposiums “a real shot in the arm.”

They’ve reinvigorated her teaching, she said. Because of the symposiums, she purchased angklungs, musical instruments made of bamboo, to help her students learn about the culture and music of Indonesia. She also added stories about Appalachian and Irish music to other curriculum units.

Korean mask used in dance and drama at the 2010 symposium.

“I don’t want children to hear different languages or music and start to laugh simply because they don’t understand it or have not experienced it,” said Russell, who plans to attend this year. “If we can help our children learn about other cultures, I think they will be more understanding of people in general.”

For Nancy Kahler, a teacher in Ohio, attending past symposiums has provided an intimate connection with the presenters and their music. The meetings have given her tools to create more effective lesson plans.

“More than that, I have new energy to share with my students at school and my church choirs,” she said.

The symposium is sponsored by the School of Music, the College of Arts and Sciences, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and the Ready for the World initiative.

To register for workshops, or to see a detailed schedule of events and fee information, visit the symposium’s website.


Korean mask used in dance and drama at the 2010 symposium

Bagpipes of Scotland at the 2010 symposium

West African dance and drumming at the 2010 symposium


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,