The College of Arts and Architecture

Teryl Dobbs, Visiting Scholar in Music Education - CANCELLED

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - 2:30pm

102 Music Building I

This event has been cancelled due to winter weather travel difficulties.


Teryl Dobbs, chair of the music education area at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, visits the School of Music to present a lecture titled Trauma, Music-Making, and Musical Remembrance: What Survivor Testimonies Reveal about Making Music in Theresienstadt. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Professor Dobbs characterizes her lecture as follows:

"Juxtaposing the delights of children’s music making with the Shoah’s “haunted terrain” (Schwab, 2010) might at first glance appear as profoundly disturbing, even incomprehensible. However, Czech composer Hans Krása’s charming operetta, Brundibár, created spaces for children to experience music directly within the confines of the Theresienstadt ghetto. In contrast to popularized and salvific tropes of spiritual resistance, what Roger Simon (2000) describes as sociopolitical “strategic practices,” I suggest that the musical experiences provided by Brundibár to its young offered them much more.

Through my study of survivor testimonies in both the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies and the Shoah Foundation Video History Archive, I believe that the survivors’ musical experiences, coupled with their perceptions of their experiences, offer up compelling lessons for 21st music scholars and educators. In this lecture, I present critical analyses (Wodak and Reisigl, 2003) of selected testimonies provided by Brundibár’s participants, audience members, and prisoners who aided Theresienstadt’s musical art world (Becker, 1982). As a result, I identify and interpret systems of belief within the testimonies; theorize the operetta’s role in the ghetto’s life; suggest alternatives to spiritual resistance; and propose possibilities for reframing how arts agencies and music educators currently mobilize Brundibár.


Dr. Teryl Dobbs is associate professor and current chair of music education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, having appointments in both the School of Music and the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She is an affiliate within the Mosse/Weinstein Teryl DobbsCenter for Jewish Studies and the Disability Studies Initiative. Professor Dobbs holds a master’s and Ph.D. in music studies/music education from Northwestern University, and she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in music education and pedagogy. Her teaching responsibilities include courses in undergraduate music teacher preparation, pedagogy, ability/disability studies in music education, and current issues in music education. Professor Dobbs advises graduate students pursuing master's and doctoral degrees in music education and serves on committees for students pursuing doctoral degrees in performance and conducting. With over 16 years of experience teaching instrumental, choral, and general classroom music in U.S. public schools, Professor Dobbs enjoys her work as an active wind band clinician and guest conductor, particularly with middle school ensembles.

As a scholar, Professor Dobbs investigates musical representations of trauma and pedagogies related to the Shoah; undertakes archival study of child survivor testimonies regarding music learning activities in Theresienstadt; interrogates theories of disability and nondisability within music education; and explores preservice music educators’ constructions of teaching identity and praxis. She presents her work nationally and internationally (including NAfME, ISME, AERA) and publishes in the Philosophy of Music Education Review, The Bulletin of the Council of Research in Music Education, Advances in Music Education Research: Diverse Methodologies in the Study of Music Teaching and Learning, and the upcoming Rethinking Education and the Musical Experience to be published by Oxford University Press. She was recently named an international co-investigator with scholars in the United Kingdom and Australia within the collaborative project, Performing the Jewish Archive.

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