Join the inaugural Helen Carswell Community Music Symposium  

music notes and keyboard

The Helen Carswell Chair in Community Engaged Research in the Arts is hosting the inaugural Community Music Symposium: “Inclusive Music-Making with Creative Ensembles.”  

The two-day event will take place Feb. 17 and 18 and will welcome keynote guest speaker, Phil Mullen, one of the world’s leading experts on musical inclusion and community music; Helen Carswell researchers, Pratik Gandhi and Patty Chan; and the Regent Park School of Music (RPSM).  

All presentations and workshops will take place virtually. Topics will explore community music, cultural connections through music, inclusive music pedagogy and more. Participants are required to register in advance.  

The Helen Carswell Chair in Community Engaged Research in the Arts presents, Community Music Symposium: “Inclusive Music Making and Creative Ensembles”

Full list of events on Thursday, Feb. 17: 

What is Community Music? (9 a.m.) 
This presentation gives some clarity to community music theory and practice, in particular the so-called interventionist approach that originated in England and is now part of practice in England, Ireland, parts of Canada, Norway and other areas of the world. Mullen has been a part of shaping and growing this work since 1985 and brought it into universities for the first time in 1990. Register here.  

Creative Ensemble Workshop (10 a.m.) 
This workshop centers on a single, extended piece of music co-created live between Mullen and York music undergraduate students. The workshop will explore various ways of playing together. All the music will be improvised and devised rather than scored, but players are welcome to use a manuscript as a memory aid. Register here

Role modelling, Representation and Community Bands (12:30 p.m.) 
Gandhi is a 2021 Helen Carswell grant recipient and York University PhD candidate in music. Gandhi will join panelists Colin Clarke, Cait Nishimura and Bill Thomas will discuss the research objectives of his community music project “Improvisation and Creativity Workshop for Wind, Brass, and Percussion students featuring guest composers.” Register here

Making Music with Children and Young People with Challenging Behaviour (1:30 p.m.) 
Mullen will present his research surrounding working with young people who exhibit challenging behaviour. This work was the subject of Mullen’s 2017 PhD research. Read more about it in The Oxford Handbook of Community Music, as well as in his recently published book Challenging Voices. Register here

Cultural Connections Through Music (4 p.m.) 
Chan is a 2021 Helen Carswell grant recipient and York University master’s student in ethnomusicology. Chen will present her research project titled “Cultural Connections through Music.” Register here

Full list of events on Friday, Feb. 18: 

Strategic Approaches to Inclusion and Community Music (10:30 a.m.) 
Hosted by York University’s Graduate Music Students Association (GMSA), this presentation will be part of the GMSA’s weekly Friday Forum series. This session will look at ways of working that can help remove barriers to music education for marginalized children and young people. Mullen will draw on his experience working with over a third of England’s 120 music education hubs, where he has developed inclusion strategies and action plans that strive to make England more musically inclusive. Register here

Inclusive Music Pedagogy (1:30 p.m.) 
Inclusive music pedagogy has grown apace in England over the last 10 years and is becoming part of music education in classrooms across the country. Mullen has been one of the leaders of this change and he regularly gives training for both contemporary and more traditional music educators on ways to evolve their practice to become more inclusive over time. This session will look at who is included/excluded, suggest tips for inclusion in large classes and highlight the need for an emotionally intelligent approach to music education. Register here

Inclusive Music-Making and Creative Starting Points (2:30 p.m.) 
Bring your instrument. This is a hands-on opportunity to make some music. This workshop includes rhythm work, improvising from stimuli, vocal and instrumental improv, and some ways to approach songwriting in workshops. Register here.  

Virtual Performances by the Regent Park School of Music (4 p.m.) 
Event speakers will include RPSM faculty and students. Register here.  
The Helen Carswell Chair supports a long-term partnership between York University and the Regent Park School of Music. Their work includes rigorous academic research exploring the benefits of community music programs and the links between music and learning as well as engaging and helping to drive new knowledge and practice to community-based groups serving children in the Jane and Finch community.  

All symposium events are open to the public and free of charge. More information is available on the Helen Carswell Chair website.