Dr Michael Webb

DipMusEd, BMus, MA PhD (Wesleyan)
Senior Lecturer

C41 - Sydney Conservatorium of Music
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 1332

Biographical details

I am an ethnomusicologist specializing in Melanesian musical cultures past and present, and a music educationist with a particular interest in the classroom transmission of musical knowledge. I grew up in Papua New Guinea in the 1960s and 1970s and worked there as a secondary and tertiary educator in the 1980s. As an undergraduate I studied ethnomusicology with Alan Marett; Mark Slobin supervised my MA and PhD (1995) in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University, Connecticut, USA. I am at present completing a book,Hymnody in the ‘Dark’ Islands: Protestant Missions, Musical Encounter and Racial-Cultural Uplift in Melanesia, 18351975.

Some of my Vanuatu research has been captured in a documentary film, Circling Around in Song(2016), which was prompted by the discovery in the Maskelyne Islands of a song-and-dance tradition based on African-American Jubilee songs from the 1870s. I am also currently exploring musical aspects of what has been referred to as the ‘Black Pacific’, as well as the musical legacy of the Australian South Sea Islanders.

I authoredLokal Musik: Lingua Franca Song and Identity in Papua New Guinea, the first monograph (1993) on Melanesian popular music, co-authored Music in Pacific Island Cultures: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (OUP 2011), and have published articles on Melanesian music inEthnomusicology(2011)andThe Contemporary Pacific(2016).

My first published article (1986, in the International Journal of Music Education) was on bi-cultural music education in Papua New Guinea. My writing and thinking relating to music education has appeared in The British Journal of Music Education; Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education; Music Education Research; International Journal of Music Education; and the Oxford Handbook of Music Education.

Research interests

  • Musical ethnography
  • Melanesian anthropology
  • Musical diversity
  • Music, colonialism, and histories of race theory
  • Melanesian musical cultures and history
  • Music and the ‘black Pacific’
  • 18th and 19th century Protestant hymnody
  • Indigenous music video
  • Australian Indigenous music in education
  • Musicology and music theory in classroom music education

I welcome inquiries concerning supervision of ethnographic research relating to music of any sort, including music of near Oceania, Australian musical cultures, and aspects of musicology and music theory in relation to music education practice.

Teaching and supervision

I currently teach undergraduate subjects in Australian Indigenous music, classroom music methodologies, and aspects of regional ethnomusicology, as well as a postgraduate subject, Music Through Ethnography. I supervise PhD projects on a range of topics, including, currently:

  • The Chinese pipa, a musical instrument in transition [Lulu Liu] (co-supervised with Catherine Ingram)
  • An ethnographic study of the 'piano craze' in modern China [Bing Bai] (DMA, co-supervised with Catherine Ingram)
  • An ethnographic study of rites of membership in the Australian jazz community [Lucian McGuiness]
  • Developing a collaborative model for the teaching and learning of Indigenous Australian music in the school context [Thomas Fienberg]
  • A study of the practise strategies of tertiary level jazz pianists [Daniel Gough]
  • Music and home education in New Zealand and Australia [Madeleine Rutherford]
  • Addressing the needs of the student popular musician in school music education [Christine Carroll]

Postgraduate students supervised to completion:

  • Andrew Robson (2016) Austral jazz: A practitioner’s perspective on the local remaking of a global music form (PhD)
  • Geoffroy Colson (2016) Compositional ethnomusicology and the Tahitian musical landscape: Towards meta-sustainability through creative practice research informed by ethnographic fieldwork (PhD)
  • Rachel White (2015) Listening in: New South Wales music educators’ reflections on teaching Higher School Certificate aural analysis (MMus [MusEd])
  • Sarah Butler (2014) Music inside the walls: Mapuche expressive culture and identity in the context of a southern Chile boarding school (MMus [Musicology])
  • Anthony Lewis (2011) Becoming a garamut drummer in Baluan Island, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea (PhD)

Current projects

Music, Mobile Phones and Community Justice in Melanesia(ARC Linkage 2015-2018)

National Orchestra of Samoa Collaborative Learning Project(New Colombo Plan funded project 2017 with Goetz Richter)

Australian Indigenous music in pre-service teacher education: Learning from and through collaboration(The University of Sydney Educational Innovation Large Grant 2016 with Clint Bracknell)

Awards and honours

I was recently awarded theJournal of Pacific HistoryPrize for best article published in 2015. See:https://www.facebook.com/journalofpacifichistory/(JPH 50:3). The award is granted each year to the article that, in the eyes of the editors, adds most creatively to historical knowledge of the Pacific/Oceania region; it must also be well supported by evidence from a range of relevant sources and written in a clear and engaging manner. The award included a cash prize of $1,000.

Selected grants

2015

  • Australian Indigenous music in pre-service teacher education: Learning from and through collaboration; Webb M, Bracknell C, Barwick L, Marsh K; DVC Education/Large Educational Innovation Grant.

Selected publications & creative works

Download citations: PDF RTF Endnote

Books

  • Diettrich, B., Freeman Moulin, J., Webb, M. (2011). Music in Pacific Island Cultures: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. New York: Oxford University Press.

Book Chapters

  • Webb, M. (2015). Every Creative Aspect Breaking Out! Pentacostal-Charismatic Worship, Oro Gospel Music, and a Millennialist Aesthetic in Papua New Guinea. In Monique M. Ingalls, Amos Young (Eds.), The Spirit of Praise: Music and Worship in global Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity, (pp. 78-96). Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press.
  • Webb, M., Seddon, F. (2012). Musical Instrument Learning, Music Ensembles, and Musicianship in a Global and Digital Age. In Gary E McPherson and Graham F Welch (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Music Education, (pp. 752-768). New York: Oxford University Press.

Journals

  • Coady, C., Webb, M. (2017). Resisting Best Practice in Australian Practice Based Jazz Doctorates. British Journal of Music Education, 33(3), 1-10. [More Information]
  • Webb, M., Webb-Gannon, C. (2016). Musical Melanesianism: Imagining and expressing regional identity and solidarity in popular song and video. The Contemporary Pacific, 28(1), 59-95.
  • Webb, M. (2015). Heart, Spirit and Understanding: Protestant Hymnody as an Agent of Transformation in Melanesia, 1840s-1940s. The Journal of Pacific History, 50(3), 275-303. [More Information]
  • Webb, M. (2011). Palang conformity and fulset freedom: Encountering Pentecostalism's "sensational" liturgical forms in the postmissionary church in Lae, Papua New Guinea. Ethnomusicology, 55(3), 445-472. [More Information]
  • Webb, M., Fienberg, T. (2011). Screen worlds, sound worlds and school: a consideration of the potential of the ethnomusicology of Australian Indigenous film for music education. Australian Journal of Music Education, 2011 (2), 30-43.
  • Webb, M. (2010). Adrian Sherriff in conversation with Michael Webb. Extempore, 5(November 2010), 51-65.
  • Webb, M. (2010). Re viewing listening: 'Clip culture' and cross-modal learning in the music classroom. International Journal of Music Education, 28(4), 313-340. [More Information]
  • Webb, M. (2009). Phil Slater in conversation with Michael Webb. Extempore, 3, 48-62.
  • Webb, M. (2008). Gilles Apap's Mozart cadenza and expanding musical competences of twenty-first-century musicians and music educators. Music Education Research, 10(1), 15-39. [More Information]
  • Webb, M. (2008). In Conversation: Michael Webb interviews Sandy Evans. Extempore, (1), 41-59.
  • Webb, M. (2007). Music analysis down the (You) Tube? Exploring the potential of cross-media listening for the music classroom. British Journal of Music Education, 24(2), 147-164.
  • Webb, M. (2007). Rock goes to school on screen: A model for teaching non-"learned" musics derived from the films 'School of Rock' (2003) and 'Rock School' (2005). Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, 6(3), 51-73.

Conferences

  • Dunbar-Hall, P., Rowley, J., Webb, M., Bell, M. (2010). ePortfolios for music educators: Parameters, problems and possibilities. 29th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) 2010, Perth, Australia: International Society of Music Education (ISME).
  • Webb, M. (2010). Heavenly music in a new world: A century of accounts and interpretations of the hymn singing of Melanesian Islanders. Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies, 3rd Conference: "OCEANIC TRANSFORMATIONS", Melbourne, Australia: Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies.
  • Webb, M. (2010). Screen worlds, sound worlds and school: a workshop on the ethnomusicology of Australian indigenous film and Aboriginal music in music education. CDIME10: Tenth International Conference on Cultural Diversity in Music Education, Sydney: Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
  • Webb, M. (2009). YouTube, 'clip culture' and cross-modal listening in the music classroom. Australian Society for Music Education XVII National Conference 2009, Australia: Australian Society for Music Education.
  • Renwick, J., Webb, M. (2008). Going Global: A Pilot Project in Diversifying the Musical Experiences of Conservatoire Students in Non-Performance-Based Programs. 17th International Seminar of the Commission for the Education of the Professional Musician (CEPROM), International Society for Music Education (ISME), Nedlands, Western Australia: International Society of Music Education (ISME).
  • Webb, M., Renwick, J. (2008). Trialling other musics and their pedagogies in the conservatory: University training for diversity and multiple musical contexts. CDIME-NINE Ninth International Conference: Cultural Diversity in Music Education, Seattle, Washington: CDIME.
  • Webb, M. (2006). A preliminary discussion of 'visual listening' as a means of enhancing classroom music learning. The XXVIIIth Annual Australian Associatoin for Research in Music Education, Melbourne: Australian Association for Research in Music Education (AARME).

Textual Creative Works

  • Webb, M. (2008). The resisting muse: popular music as social protest (by I. Peddie). Musicology Australia, (pp. 147 - 150). Sydney, Australia: Musicological Society of Australia.

Web Site / Exhibition

  • Webb, M., Isoda, H. (2014). Melanesian Music Research, Australia: MelanesianMusicResearch.com.

Reference Works

  • Webb, M. (2005). Pacific Islands: Melanesia.

2017

  • Coady, C., Webb, M. (2017). Resisting Best Practice in Australian Practice Based Jazz Doctorates. British Journal of Music Education, 33(3), 1-10. [More Information]

2016

  • Webb, M., Webb-Gannon, C. (2016). Musical Melanesianism: Imagining and expressing regional identity and solidarity in popular song and video. The Contemporary Pacific, 28(1), 59-95.

2015

  • Webb, M. (2015). Every Creative Aspect Breaking Out! Pentacostal-Charismatic Worship, Oro Gospel Music, and a Millennialist Aesthetic in Papua New Guinea. In Monique M. Ingalls, Amos Young (Eds.), The Spirit of Praise: Music and Worship in global Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity, (pp. 78-96). Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press.
  • Webb, M. (2015). Heart, Spirit and Understanding: Protestant Hymnody as an Agent of Transformation in Melanesia, 1840s-1940s. The Journal of Pacific History, 50(3), 275-303. [More Information]

2014

  • Webb, M., Isoda, H. (2014). Melanesian Music Research, Australia: MelanesianMusicResearch.com.

2012

  • Webb, M., Seddon, F. (2012). Musical Instrument Learning, Music Ensembles, and Musicianship in a Global and Digital Age. In Gary E McPherson and Graham F Welch (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Music Education, (pp. 752-768). New York: Oxford University Press.

2011

  • Diettrich, B., Freeman Moulin, J., Webb, M. (2011). Music in Pacific Island Cultures: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Webb, M. (2011). Palang conformity and fulset freedom: Encountering Pentecostalism's "sensational" liturgical forms in the postmissionary church in Lae, Papua New Guinea. Ethnomusicology, 55(3), 445-472. [More Information]
  • Webb, M., Fienberg, T. (2011). Screen worlds, sound worlds and school: a consideration of the potential of the ethnomusicology of Australian Indigenous film for music education. Australian Journal of Music Education, 2011 (2), 30-43.

2010

  • Webb, M. (2010). Adrian Sherriff in conversation with Michael Webb. Extempore, 5(November 2010), 51-65.
  • Dunbar-Hall, P., Rowley, J., Webb, M., Bell, M. (2010). ePortfolios for music educators: Parameters, problems and possibilities. 29th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) 2010, Perth, Australia: International Society of Music Education (ISME).
  • Webb, M. (2010). Heavenly music in a new world: A century of accounts and interpretations of the hymn singing of Melanesian Islanders. Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies, 3rd Conference: "OCEANIC TRANSFORMATIONS", Melbourne, Australia: Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies.
  • Webb, M. (2010). Re viewing listening: 'Clip culture' and cross-modal learning in the music classroom. International Journal of Music Education, 28(4), 313-340. [More Information]
  • Webb, M. (2010). Screen worlds, sound worlds and school: a workshop on the ethnomusicology of Australian indigenous film and Aboriginal music in music education. CDIME10: Tenth International Conference on Cultural Diversity in Music Education, Sydney: Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

2009

  • Webb, M. (2009). Phil Slater in conversation with Michael Webb. Extempore, 3, 48-62.
  • Webb, M. (2009). YouTube, 'clip culture' and cross-modal listening in the music classroom. Australian Society for Music Education XVII National Conference 2009, Australia: Australian Society for Music Education.

2008

  • Webb, M. (2008). Gilles Apap's Mozart cadenza and expanding musical competences of twenty-first-century musicians and music educators. Music Education Research, 10(1), 15-39. [More Information]
  • Renwick, J., Webb, M. (2008). Going Global: A Pilot Project in Diversifying the Musical Experiences of Conservatoire Students in Non-Performance-Based Programs. 17th International Seminar of the Commission for the Education of the Professional Musician (CEPROM), International Society for Music Education (ISME), Nedlands, Western Australia: International Society of Music Education (ISME).
  • Webb, M. (2008). In Conversation: Michael Webb interviews Sandy Evans. Extempore, (1), 41-59.
  • Webb, M. (2008). The resisting muse: popular music as social protest (by I. Peddie). Musicology Australia, (pp. 147 - 150). Sydney, Australia: Musicological Society of Australia.
  • Webb, M., Renwick, J. (2008). Trialling other musics and their pedagogies in the conservatory: University training for diversity and multiple musical contexts. CDIME-NINE Ninth International Conference: Cultural Diversity in Music Education, Seattle, Washington: CDIME.

2007

  • Webb, M. (2007). Music analysis down the (You) Tube? Exploring the potential of cross-media listening for the music classroom. British Journal of Music Education, 24(2), 147-164.
  • Webb, M. (2007). Rock goes to school on screen: A model for teaching non-"learned" musics derived from the films 'School of Rock' (2003) and 'Rock School' (2005). Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, 6(3), 51-73.

2006

  • Webb, M. (2006). A preliminary discussion of 'visual listening' as a means of enhancing classroom music learning. The XXVIIIth Annual Australian Associatoin for Research in Music Education, Melbourne: Australian Association for Research in Music Education (AARME).

2005

  • Webb, M. (2005). Pacific Islands: Melanesia.

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