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Music education student wins national essay competition
Lisa Pendergast
Faculty of Education student, Mr. Jeremie Brisson

Jeremie Brisson, a Bachelor of Music Education student, has received the first place award in the annual Canadian Music Educators Association (CMEA) Kenneth Bray Undergraduate Essay Competition.  

The CMEA sponsors two student essay competitions each year, the Kenneth Bray Undergraduate Essay Competition and the Dr. Franklin Churchley Graduate Essay Competition. The essay competitions are offered to all Canadian undergraduate and graduate students studying worldwide and to any foreign students who are studying in Canadian universities. Essays can be submitted in either French or English and are judged in a blind review process by nationally recognized scholars in the field of music education.

“I am very honoured to have received this recognition from the CMEA,” said Mr. Brisson. “The prospect of having my essay considered for publication in The Canadian Music Educator journal is both very exciting and encouraging as I enter my last year of studies and prepare to begin my career as a music teacher.”

This award comes with the opportunity to have Mr. Brisson’s essay considered for publication in CMEA’a journal, The Canadian Music Educator and a cash prize of $250.

Students may choose their own essay topic as long as it is relevant to music education practices or issues. Mr. Brisson’s essay, titled, “Exoticism in Multicultural Choral Repertoire: A Comparison of Lydia Adams’ Mi’kmaq Honour Song and Stephen Hatfield’s Nukapianguaq,” analyzes the contrasting approaches of two prominent Canadian choral composers, Lydia Adams and Stephen Hatfield, to adapting traditional songs of Canada’s aboriginal peoples for choral arrangement.

“This analysis reveals tenuous and problematic representations of Mi’kmaq culture in Adams’ choral piece Mi’kmaq Honour Song that hinder the process of intercultural respect and understanding that the piece is intended to foster,” said Mr. Brisson. “Hatfield’s Nukapianguaq, on the other hand, demonstrates a more sensitive and conscientious approach in its arrangement of Inuit chants, suggesting its potential to nurture in students a meaningful appreciation of Inuit culture.”

The comparison of these pieces is meant to highlight the importance for music educators to be critical and attentive to issues of cultural appropriation when selecting multicultural repertoire to teach in the classroom.

Memorial University Bachelor of Music Education students have consistently been successful in this competition, with 29 award winners since its inception in 1994. Please visit www.cmea.ca for additional information on the Canadian Music Educators’ Association.

Sep 17th, 2014

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