Augsburg News

News Archives - 2003

Presenting music therapy in China

June 2003
Prof. Roberta Kagin, Zhou Shibin after a conference in Beijing, China.

Professor Roberta Kagin (right), chair of Augsburg's music therapy program, was greeted with flowers in Beijing, China, where her presentation at a conference on music therapy was eagerly received and overfilled the meeting room. Zhou Shibin (center above) is an administrator at Capital Normal University who visited Augsburg in the winter of 1996-97.

Despite what is suggested in the title of her presentation, "Music Therapy—A Field Whose Time Has Arrived Around the World," music therapy professor Roberta Kagin found that relatively few of the nearly 120 people who crowded into a room set up for just 30 people in Beijing, China, were familiar with the discipline of music therapy.

Kagin was one of five music educators invited to present at a conference on music education reform, held at Capitol Normal University in Beijing. She says that Western music in general is sorely lacking in China, and that the Chinese concept of music education is more commonly understood as teaching people about music, not preparing teachers of music.

"Students are hungry for anything we can give them," she commented, in reflecting on the great interest in her presentation and in music therapy in general.

The conference audience included university faculty and students, as well as a number of dignitaries, as could be felt in the conference ambiance. Kagin reported that, "The opening ceremonies were an amazing array of flowers, speeches, and videos."

While in Beijing, Kagin visited two other music schools—the premier Central Conservatory of music and the Chinese Conservatory, a more traditional program. As part of her own doctoral study, Kagin met with members of the Huaxia Musical Ensemble, a group of music students playing traditional Chinese instruments. A paper she wrote included research and field recordings of the instruments.

Kagin's host in Beijing was Zhou Shibin, an administrator at Capital Normal University, who visited Augsburg in the winter of 1996-97 and may return in the coming fall.