This week on A Voice and Beyond, we have a very special episode lined up for you. This is part one of a two-part interview in which we welcome Matt Edwards and Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards, who have been working together and conducting ongoing research into the roots of academic bias against popular music.

Jacqlyn is an adjunct assistant professor of voice for the musical theatre program at Shenandoah Conservatory and serves on the faculty at the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute. Matt has been working at Shenandoah University since 2010 as an Associate Professor, within the Voice and Musical Theatre departments. He is also the Coordinator of Musical Theatre Voice and Artistic Director of CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute.

In this fascinating episode, Matt and Jacqlyn delve into the history of the classism and racism that was evident in American society during the late 19th century and into most of the 20th century. Matt and Jacqlyn explain that it is important to understand the history in order to unravel why the bias against popular music styles continues to perpetuate in higher education. Matt and Jacqlyn share with us that these biases have been handed down generationally, and contribute to the continued delay in expanding popular music education in higher education.

Matt and Jacqlyn are advocating for change in the status quo of music education programs and believe that as a voice community, it is time to create change in the cultural hierarchy in voice education. As they explain, it’s not a battlefield of pedagogical approaches, but of trying to gain a better understanding of the world we all work in now. This is a not to be missed interview with Matt and Jacqlyn.

Please remember this is part one of a two-part interview with Matt Edwards and Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards. Next week, we will be proudly celebrating our 100th episode release and part two of this interview will go live the week following our special 100th episode.

In this Episode

1:16 – Introducing Matt and Jacqlyn

11:27 – Transitioning from classical to teaching CCM

26:34 – Bias in Popular music in High Education

29:00 – The inspiration behind their research

40:13 – Theodore Presser’s impact on music publishing

51:42 – Music enrolment is falling


Dr Marisa Lee Naismith is excited to announce the release of her new book “Singing Contemporary Commercial Music Styles: A Pedagogical Framework” published by Compton Publications UK. Marisa offers this book as a starting point and as CCM markets continue to evolve, she encourages that we, as a voice community, continue to evolve, debate and communally add to this framework.



Visit the A Voice and Beyond Youtube channel to watch back the video replay of this guest interview or to see my welcome video.

Episode Transcription


Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:00

Hi it’s Marissa Lee here, and I’m so excited to be sharing today’s interview round episode with you. In these episodes, our brilliant lineup of guests will include health care practitioners, voice educators, and other professionals who will share their stories, knowledge and experiences within their specialised fields to empower you to live your best life. Whether you’re a member of the voice, community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:42

It’s time now to share your gift with others develop a positive mindset and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, it’s time for you to live your best life. It’s time now for a voice and beyond. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:16

This week on a voice and beyond, we have a very special episode lined up for you. This is part one of a two part interview in which we welcome Matt Edwards, and Jacqueline Zito Edwards, who have been working together conducting ongoing research into the roots of academic bias against popular music. Jacqueline isn’t a junked assistant professor of voice for the musical theatre programme at Shenandoah conservatory and serves on faculty at the CCM vocal pedagogy Institute. Matt has been working at Shenandoah since 2010. As an Associate Professor within the voice and musical theatre departments. He is also the coordinator of musical theatre voice and artistic director of the CCM vocal pedagogy Institute. In this fascinating episode, Matt and Jacqueline delve into the history of classism and racism that was evident in American society during the late 19th century and into most of the 20th century. They explain that it is important to understand the history in order to unravel why the bias against popular music styles continues to perpetuate in higher education. Matt and Jacqueline share with us that these biases have been handed down generationally and contribute to the continued delay in expanding popular music education. Matt and Jacqueline are advocating for change in the status quo of music education programmes, and believe that it is time to instigate that change in cultural hierarchy in boys education. As they explain, it is not a battlefield of pedagogical approaches, but of trying to gain a better understanding of the world we all work in now. This is a not to be missed interview. And please remember, this is part one of a two part interview with Matt Edwards, and Jacqueline Zito Edwards. Next week, we will proudly be celebrating our 100th Episode release. And part two of this interview will go live the following week. So without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:03

Welcome to the show, Matt and Jacqueline. How are you? 

Matt Edwards  04:08

Doing great. 

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  04:09

We’re doing good. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:10

That’s good. I feel like it’s a really special episode. Today. I’m getting to for one. And that’s only ever happened once before. And I’m very excited about what we’re going to talk about today. But first of all, I’m going to welcome you both introduce you to our audience. And I’m going to go ladies before gentleman’s so Jacqueline, you’re an Adjunct Assistant Professor of voice for the musical theatre programme at Shenandoah University and on faculty at the CCM vocal pedagogy Institute. And Matt, you’ve been at Shenandoah since 2010, which must make you at least 21.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:56

You’re an Associate Professor working within the boys and Muse sequel theatre departments, you’re also the coordinator of musical theatre voice and artistic director of the CCM vocal pedagogy Institute. Now, the reason why I have you both here is because you’ve, you’ve both been working together on some ongoing research into the roots of the academic bias against popular music. And as you know, I’m a real advocate for CCM. That’s been my life’s work. And my mission is now to advocate for this music and see if we can instigate instigate change within higher education. So as I said, highly excited to talk to you both about your research. But let’s start with you, giving the listeners a little bit of an insight into your own training and professional and academic journeys. How you’ve arrived at this point. So Jacqueline, would you like to go first? Let’s get the etiquette going here.

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  06:03

Sure, that’s fine. Um, thank you for having us. And doing this interview. I do. We I think we both agree, this is something that that definitely needs to be explored more and there needs to be more discussions about it.

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  06:16

And just my background, I, how I came to where I am now, I did start out in high school singing in a show choir. And I was singing a lot of musical theatre and a lot of standards. But I also had a private teacher that I was taking voice lessons from, but we did a lot of classical singing. And I really did love classical music, I wanted to go to school to not just saying but to potentially become an opera singer. And, but I also really loves singing standards I loved. I listened to a lot of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, and Nat King Cole and, and all those really great standard singers. But I was also told if you go to school for vocal performance, you can do all those things. That’s That’s what I was told. And that’s what I believed in at that time. I think that that was just a very, a very prominent message that was that was told to us. So as I did go to school I went to, I got my bachelor and my master’s degree in vocal performance. And then I started teaching voice lessons out of out of school. And when I started, when I started teaching a lot of my students wanting to sing musical theatre and contemporary music and pop rock music. And I did it. This is so embarrassing now, but I did what I think a lot of us did, we I started using what I would consider more of a classical training or Belcanto type singing. And I was trying to get my students to saying, break away by Kelly Clarkson, but by using coronial, Ben first using and using your vows, and we said, you know,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  08:04

yeah, break away like something. I’ve had no classical training. That was my destination.

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  08:13

But But But yeah, I mean, it was, but I knew that that sound wasn’t working. Like I could tell that the sound wasn’t working. Because this is we started teaching right around the time that I think American Idol was coming out. And so and I could tell that something was not working. And we both could tell that something wasn’t working. And we decided that we were going to try to figure out what to do, how to how to fix it.

Matt Edwards  08:35

Yeah, my experiences, you know, it’s similar, a little different. I started off in high school, I was playing in a rock band, I was doing the musicals during the place. I was actually going to be a music, theatre, music education major at a university. But then, you know, you have to have financial aid in the United States. My dad lost his job right when the deposit was due. So I couldn’t do that. So the only opportunity I had to go to college at all was to go to my hometown University and be a music education major there which was classical music. Now, I had been in classical choirs. I had been taking classical voice lessons. And so I didn’t mind I did like this music. I loved Pavarotti, and I thought if I could sing like him, I’d be happy.

Matt Edwards  09:15

happened. Never happened. But um, you know, so I got into undergrad and I started singing. I was put in an opera my very first semester, my second year, I was singing with the Dayton Opera Chorus. And at that point, my opera coach said, Hey, if you really want to do this, you need to transfer to a top level conservatory. And he helped me transfer to the Cleveland Institute of Music, which is where I met Jackie. And so we met up there at the Cleveland Institute of Music. We both finished our bachelor’s degrees there. I sing a little bit with Cincinnati opera and Lyric Opera Cleveland while she was finishing school because I was a transfer. I was a year ahead of her. We both went to Louisiana State University and studied vocal performance there. I had a teaching assistantship and a lot like what Jackie said my students wanted to sing music that wasn’t class.

Matt Edwards  10:00

School, and I was supposed to teach them classically. So I had this dilemma where I was like, Well, I gotta teach you calm yo Ben, but you want to sing Hey, Jude, and me being always a little bit rebellious, I looked at them, I was like, Hey, can you learn calm yo bene, we’ll work on it for like the last four weeks. Let’s work on Hey, Jude. And I then started kind of jumping in and playing a little bit. But I was still using the classical tools that I had, while trying to figure out what to do. We taught for a year after we graduated from LSU. And then we got resident artists positions with Tri Cities opera, and upstate New York. And so we moved up to New York, we’re working in Tri Cities opera, luck had it that we moved in right next door to the owner of the biggest recording studio in town. And so we got to hang out in the recording studio whenever we wanted to, I did a lot of work there with him. We had all kinds of artists come through, there’s a lot of hip hop, a lot of r&b gospel, but also blues country rock and roll. So I had a great time getting to hang out in the studio, see how things were done and how they were made. And then we also started working with a friend of ours, who was a music theatre, music director, he did a lot of coaching with us as we were going down this journey of trying to figure out what we needed to do to help these singers get to the place that they want it to be. And along the way, what we discovered is that the tools that we had from our academic training just weren’t enough. And that’s kind of what led us on our pursuit, our pursuit to find new information and new ways of approaching all of this.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  11:27

So where did you find that information? That is the million dollar question. So how did you transition from classical to teaching CCM? How did you develop those teaching approaches for those sounds?

Matt Edwards  11:44

Well, I’d say the first thing is that we took a voice pedagogy class together, and our second year of our master’s degree. And we were lucky because we had a teacher, Dr. Lorraine Sims, who now is also really well known for her work. And she was relatively new to LSU. And she taught this amazing pedagogy class, and we started learning about how the voice works. And that was super exciting for me, because when I was a kid, I loved to tear things apart to figure out how they worked and put them back together. And once I discovered that I could tear apart a voice, not really tearing, metaphorically break it down. And then yes, learning what to do. I was fascinated. And so the both of us started coming across these articles about CCM pedagogy. It wasn’t called that it was barely called that at that point in time, it was just more about how this is how to teach belting. And we both came up with this idea of Speech Level Singing, we came across that and the idea that you would start with vernacular speech. So that’s where we started. And she got to help me try to learn how to sing like I speak again, which was a really interesting journey, because it had gotten out of me. I was very much of the

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:47

hood, be a baritone. I can hear that in your speaking voice, by the way.

Matt Edwards  12:53

Yeah. Right. So I mean, but it was there. And so we started with that. And we were exploring everything that we could read everything that you know, we could get our hands on back then it was watching, you know, videotapes, we had VHS tapes. Roger love

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  13:08

Roger. Roger, I mean, keep but he’s taught a lot of great people going, if he’s still gone, he’s still

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  13:17

going. He’s

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  13:17

coming up on my feed on Facebook at the moment, advertising, workshops and classes.

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  13:24

Yeah. We found those at the local library.

Matt Edwards  13:28

And we started using that info. That’s Riggs,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  13:31

SLS. So Speech Level Singing.

Matt Edwards  13:34

We were doing our own research. I mean, we were broke postgraduate students. We were doing what we could, you know, so I was flipping through something. I don’t remember how I came across it. But I came across the NATs intern programme. And this is when we were singing Tri Cities opera. I was teaching musical theatre majors at a university in upstate New York, she had a booming private studio full of music, theatre and rock singers and country singers. And, you know, I saw this nats intern programme, and I was like, that’s what I need to do. I need to go to the NATs intern programme to find out what I don’t know. And I got really lucky to be paired with Jeanne Vetri and Dr. Scott McCoy.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  14:14

So So you you actually hit the jackpot.

Matt Edwards  14:18

I did. I won the lottery.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  14:20

You so salutely did amazing.

Matt Edwards  14:23

And so I went there and my mind was blown. I would call home about every night and be like, Look what I just learned. I can’t believe this. We’re gonna you know, have we got things to play with? And I went home and we started exploring everything I learned she would help me I didn’t work with

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  14:39

her experiment. Well, we were me rediscovering my chest voice was Do you remember that? It was a huge thing. Because we were we were doing this speech level stuff a little bit and like I do remember helping you with that. But then it like it clicked. When you got back. It was like, Oh, that’s my voice. That’s where that one yes. Yes. Yeah.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  15:01

That’s weird. Sorry. I just want to make a comment here for someone that has only ever sung in chest, you know, I have I can use head voice. I have have a strong head voice too. But I find that bizarre because if you’re speaking that way, how can how does it not become natural to sing that way? So that’s just my right. Sort of where my mind goes, because I know how much work it takes to lower the larynx and to make the classical sounds when we’re in that chest voice or what we call m one all the time. How does that not feel natural? You know,

Matt Edwards  15:46

we were also I mean, part of, I think your training as an opera singer, at least when we were doing it was also reworking the way that we talked in a way Yeah, I mean, I was constantly being corrected on the way that I talk because I’m from a family in southern Ohio and people didn’t like my accent. They thought there was something

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  16:03

they wanted. They wanted him to neutralise the way that he was speaking instead of speaking from where he was from, and I mean, the same, the same kind of thing was happening where they were, I was taught to speak a little bit higher, you know, um, but at the same time, I mean with with classical singing, especially operatic singing your your singing unamplified, so you have to do different things here yet to create those sounds. And I don’t, I don’t think I don’t I don’t ever remember one teacher ever saying to me, you’re not allowed to use your chest voice. You’re not allowed to use your chest voice. That’s that was not happening. I think it was just the developing of my head voice because I was a soprano. And so when we when we went back down to a fold singing place, which I didn’t even know if that’s what that was called. When you when you came back. We didn’t even call it we just called it chest voice, but just finding like, ah, oh, I can sing with an ad sound. And that that felt like it was in my body instead of so high up here. So yeah, I don’t I don’t want that to, I really did not have any teacher. I don’t ever remember a teacher saying not to use my chest voice. But I just remember the way development mentally it was more had more. It was just more head voice. Of course. Yeah. And,

Matt Edwards  17:27

you know, so we then just started diving in and doing all of this research. I found a job posting for a teacher at Shenandoah University and they wanted somebody with a classical background, to teach musical theatre majors how to sing rock and roll. And I looked at that job. And I was like, that sounds a lot like me, because I had this weird background that you know, not many people had, I applied, I got the job. And once I got here, I was surrounded by great colleagues in the musical theatre programme other colleagues, because the CCM Institute has been housed here for over 20 years. And I think both of us just started trying to make sure that we were going to places where we were not the smartest people in the room. Like the old adage goes, make sure you’re not the smartest person in the room. So we will keep finding the places where we knew we could learn more. And so going to the voice foundation annual symposium, you know, the acoustics Society of America National Centre for voice of speech, when they put on a conference, I was there as soon as I could get there, and just soaking up everything and learning by doing with our students. And one of the great things about our institution is that we bring in casting directors and agents, and they also bring in recording engineers to campus. And so we’ve spent hundreds of hours working with all of these other industry professionals to really know what everybody wants and what the goals are. And over the years, you know, we were able to put the pieces together to the point now that you know, our students are consistently working that consistently booking or leaving school to go do gigs, you know, and so it was a it’s been a long journey. But it’s been a lot of a journey that I hope in the future other people don’t have to make because we had to figure it out on our own because we didn’t get it. And I think that’s why a big chunk of our mission now is to help other people get that information in their academic training so they don’t have to go through what we had to go through to learn it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:20

Sounds like you hit the jackpot a couple of times throughout your journey one with Jeanne and Scott McCoy but also ending up at Shenandoah, and I’ve visited the institute the university and it is a beautiful campus but you have a remarkable faculty there also with David Meyer you have entry entry or Adria can address that as well. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You have some made us one, yeah, that see? Yeah, you’ve had awesome Krakus

Matt Edwards  19:59

there are now in the faculty as well. And then our summer faculty are incredible at the Summer Institute. Marcel Yeah, Julie, Jess, I mean, the list goes on and on. We have amazing faculty colleagues, Marcy Wendy.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:12

Oh, wow. Yeah. So you were lucky to get there. But they’re also lucky to have you that they that you’re so hungry for information. And that thirst for knowledge would also then benefit the university. And you’re now the artistic director for the CCM vocal pedagogy Institute. So how did you come into that role? And tell us a little bit about the Institute as it is now.

Matt Edwards  20:41

Yeah, so the former person who was running the institute decided to move on and to be able to explore some other things. And so the dean told me that I was going to be taking that role. And that’s where I would be moving into. And I knew that there was no way to replicate what had already been done, but rather, to set up a new institute with a new mindset to really try to propel things forward. And my thought was, is there are a lot of ways to do this. And what we can all agree on is how the voice works, because we have research that tells us how it actually works. So I wanted to build an institute where we talked about the facts that we know from voice research, and then talked about all the different ways that we could get to that place. And so we have the widespread for me, who ends up being really technical to Marcel who’s on our faculty who’s really artistic, and she’s getting ready to go over I think, to Nepal, I think to study, she’s going over on the other side of the world to go study, you know, the singing styles that have existed for 1000s of years to bring that information back. Right. And so, you know, and we have just, I’ve songwriters on my team, I have SLPs, on my team, I have high school choir directors on the team, you know, and so we have people that all come together, and we have this shared agreement, that vocal function matters, and that evidence based practice matters. But we all do it a little differently. And we all respect each other for the differences that we have. Even Jackie, and I though we’ve been doing this together for you know, since we’ve been 20 years, you know, over 20 years of exploring our voices together, she still does things differently than I do. And I do things a little differently than she does. But it works and our students still get the results. And what we really believe is that every singer has their own unique needs. And you have to find the guide, that’s the right fit for them. So at the institute, I have such a broad cross section of faculty so that every person who comes to the institute can find somebody on the faculty that they can connect with you, they can go look mad, it’s too technical for me. But you know what, the way that Catherine explains how to cross over from classical to doing belt work that resonates with me so much, so I’m gonna go glue myself to Katherine. And then that person can go and pick her brain for the entire institute and figure out how to apply all the concepts, you know, and so and they can find that in any of our different faculty members. I think that’s what makes it really special in the format that it is right now, is it allows people to come in to have open discussions for people who are certified in STL, to say, hey, and so they say this, but you’re saying something different? Why? And I can honestly say, I respect what Joe did, I think she did amazing work. I think that her colleagues who now carry on that work are doing great things, they have plenty of people performing and Broadway shows. But I do it a little bit differently because of this. And this is why I take this approach. And so it’s not about a battle of pedagogical approaches, but of trying to gain a better understanding of the world that we all work in. Because Joe was working in New York City and working in a world where she had developed certain tools, Seth Riggs was working in LA where he developed certain tools for certain clients needs. And so each teacher developed their methods to meet the needs of the clients they served. Yes, our clients who come to the Institute are often from Middle America. And there, they have to be generalists. They’re the only voice teacher in their community who is willing to teach anything that’s not classical. They have to be generalists. And so for them to be able to understand all these different tools in which ones might work better in different situations is what we feel serves them best, and sets them up for success and long term growth.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  24:23

Yes. And I think what you’re teaching essentially, is student centred teacher teaching approaches. Whereas the, I think the problem with methodologies, it’s a one size fits all. And that’s not student centred learning. And I don’t bad methodologies, I think, has offered people a great starting place to begin their their teaching careers, but I think it’s also very important to develop a toolbox of approaches and work out the tool that’s going to work for the student that’s in front of you in that moment. bit of time, because what worked next week, last week, may not work next week, because they, they come in with different issues that have happened to them psychologically, emotionally, physically as well. So

Matt Edwards  25:17

you know, we teach a system, not a method, a method tells you what you have to do step by step system gives you an approach as a starting place from which you deviate as necessary for like you said, the student that standing in front of you and their particular needs.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  25:32

Yes, yes. Now, we’re going to go into your research. And what inspired me to reach out to you was this article that you’ve written? That is the one that was in the Journal of singing? In what month? Was it? Because I downloaded it before it actually came out.

Matt Edwards  25:54

In 2012? No, this is the newest, this is the one that’s coming out. It’ll be out in print in January, we wanted it to be a release. Yes. So it’s

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  26:02

already happened? Yes, yes. And it’s the emerging future of collegiate voice instruction. And it’s updated from the 2014 article that you journal article that you put out, along with David Meyer. And as soon as I saw that, I had to download it and read it immediately, because I cited the 2014 article right through my thesis. And also in my book. So because there really wasn’t any other information that I could cite, that was research based about the status quo of higher education institutions, and the opportunity to learn CCM. So I just want to start. And maybe let’s just put a little disclaimer out there because we don’t want to put people off what we’re going to be talking about. And that is that we are not here to put down other styles of singing. So it’s not about putting down classical music. I have an you have the highest respect for our classical colleagues. And it’s not about that, for me as a ccm teacher, X performer, advocate, I just want to be able to stand alongside my classical colleagues and be respected and valued in the same way. So I just want to put that out there. Okay, and so can we start with this question? Do you both acknowledge there is a bias against popular music in higher education?

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  27:57

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yes. Okay.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  28:00

So now we’ve started Yes, sorry. I just want to get the address the elephant in the room straight up.

Matt Edwards  28:07

Yes, it’s changing. And we can’t say that it is definitely it’s tilting it’s tipping. We’re getting closer towards the tipping point where it’s going to really tip I don’t think we’re quite there yet. Not from the stories I’m hearing from other colleagues. I don’t think we’re quite at the tipping point. But we’re not at where it was 13 years ago when we came to Shannon. Exactly. Yeah, it’s definitely not where when we started it. I mean, no, one of my graduate advisors said to me, I don’t quite he said, I need to talk to you about what you’re teaching. And I was like, okay, and he said, I’m concerned about your future. And I said, Okay, why he’s like, You just You really seem set on learning to do this musical theatre and pop rock stuff. And I just don’t think you’re going to be able to find a job doing that. And I was like, Okay. And came out that way. I worked out pretty well in my favour. But I think

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  29:00

so I think so. So what has inspired both of you to do this research work? Because you started researching quite a number of years ago.

Matt Edwards  29:14

Yeah. So in 2012, Oh, 2010. When I got here, my position was created because the theatre department wanted this pop rock specialist, the voice department wasn’t so keen on it. It’s different now. Now, we have great relationships. But they were very hesitant to bring in a pop rock specialist who only thought Pop Rock was a big move. And so I met some resistance with things that I wanted to change and things that I want to do different. And I was meeting resistance from other colleagues, you know, just conferences and things that I had been attending. And what I really wanted to know is why why is this such a problem? And so that was my first big research question that I started with is why is this bias exist? And if we understand that, then maybe we can start to move forward and move beyond it. And so in 2012, I gave my first talk on ethno historical barriers against contemporary commercial music voice pedagogy at the voice foundation annual symposium in Philadelphia. And when I talked about there was how the aristocrats in New York City were trying to create a cultural landscape that could rival what was seen in Europe, which was the homeland for most of the immigrants in that part of the country at the time, and that the aristocrats were building these opera houses fully donor funded, they were making a special elevated place of, you know, practice for this music, they believed that this music was superior, and that everybody should be taught to like it. And there was also I was starting to find hints of some pretty racist language, also referring to black Americans at the time and the way that they talked about the way the black Americans sing. And so I started saying in 2012, look, I think that some of our biases have been passed down generationally. And that’s how I ended this talk. I was like, you know, if we go back to our great, great grand teacher, and we look at what our great, great grand teacher was living in a world, they were living in a world where racism was rampant, and classism was rampant. And then they taught the next generation who taught the next generation who taught us. And so if this is a system where you have to, it’s a political system, academia is everything is voted on, you can’t make any changes without voting. You can’t get through the programme without being voted on in the form of juries. So you have a voting system that determines who gets through and who doesn’t. And that system had its roots back in this period. And I knew that that’s where this all started. Well, we have been talking about this a lot. And then we love to go antique shopping. And so we’re out antique shopping one day, and we see these magazines called magazines called Etude. Magazine, and I pick them up on like, Jackie, here’s a music teacher magazine, which look at this,

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  31:55

which I knew I knew what these were, I don’t think that you really my piano teacher when I was in middle school in high school. She had she had a lot of cats, and she had a lot of Etude magazines. She had all of her teachers. She had a lot of her, her her previous teachers, Etude magazines. Do you know what? The Etude magazine? Oh, no. Okay. So they’re, well, here’s one of them that we have. And this is from 1940, which we’ll talk about cover here in a minute. But it’s got it’s got ads in here. It’s got articles written by different composers conductor, full sheet music in here. There’s all kinds of stuff and I cannot remember the date that it was started by 1889. Yeah, so but it’s, it was meant for the the, the private music teacher, and a lot of these teachers would keep these magazines and they would refer back to them because they would have sheet music and and if you are a private teacher, if like 100 years ago, you really had no other outlet. You had no other like community, you would just get these magazines and you would read them. And we start looking through them to see if we can find voice teaching stuff, like what were they talking about? What are they you know, talking about? Belcanto? What were they saying? We would love to know we start looking through them and we we start uncovering some some thoughts.

Matt Edwards  33:24

So blatantly racist. Yeah, talk about the way that people think. Yeah. And so a warning of some language, but the term that used a lot of savage in singing like,

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  33:35

Ah ha, ha ha. Ragtime is considered trashy, yes. Talking

Matt Edwards  33:41

about shout, singing and shout singing was specifically associated with black Americans at that time, and they always talked about it in a negative light. All of a sudden, a light bulb went off. And I was like, this is got something to do with what we’re researching. We’ve been digging and knowing we’re, and this might be what we’re missing. And so Jackie comes home and goes down a rabbit. Yeah, so

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  34:02

nothing else did it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  34:05

It was It was like nothing. No, this is amazing.

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  34:09

We just got vaccinated, but we’re like, we’re still gonna stay home and like so. So I start looking at I’m like, Well, I wonder if we can find online. I mean, these were written 100 years ago, I’m sure that we can find all like all these articles. So start like Googling, like in the 80s because you can go to the etude website, and you can put in keywords and then articles will pop up. So I started like putting in trashy music, or I did I put trashy in there and all kinds of stuff came up. There’s even there’s a really great dissertation I’m reading right now called Evil at a glance. I cannot remember the guy What’s it, but it’s

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  34:47

when was it written?

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  34:49

It was maybe maybe 6000 A lot more in the 80s and 90s. Yeah, maybe maybe I can give you that information afterwards. But but it’s it’s really great. cuz it’s talking about like the different different political cartoons that were in there. And so then I start researching and start looking. And then we start, I start noticing names that are popping up that I’m recognising. And there’s one issue in particular from I think 1924, called the jazz problem. And I was like, oh, there’s a jazz problem. We have a problem. It’s called Jazz. But it was a problem. And I and so I start reading like, oh, there’s a whole art a whole magazine, a whole issue dedicated


to the jazz problem. This is important because

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  35:37

if you because I’m gonna go on a tangent for years, so but the

Matt Edwards  35:41

jazz problem issue is really important because it really shows what people were actually thinking. They say the quiet part out loud. And so whereas for a lot of times, like you could tell and you could read between the lines, how they felt about jazz, and this issue, people had had Gustav Mahler says different issues, but it’s Susa, and the person who’s important is Frank Damrosch, who is the head of Juilliard,

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  36:08

he create he he found he created Juliet, it’s now yeah, what is now Juilliard. It was not

Matt Edwards  36:14

musical arts. Yes. And Frank downwash was a huge figure in New York society at that time in their musical society. And he German immigrant is the person who says this is the music of a primitive people. It might be funny, but it’s not real. And basically, it’s garbage. And some of the terminology that he uses gotten blatantly racist along with some of the other language and we realised that we weren’t this hunch that we had for a long time that this was part of the issue was part of the issue. And that magazine kind of nails it was the thing when we saw that we’re like, okay, so we are on to some, but there is an issue here,

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  36:51

but then my wheels kept turning. I’m like, who’s Frank Damrosch because I had no idea who he was at the time. So I started Googling him find out Juilliard, and they’re like, Okay, so who’s the guy who created a tude? How did this all happen? How did like this is a guy saying this stuff about popular music at the time, which is jazz, and he’s definitely against it. And he also helped create Juilliard. So then we look at etude, we find out the Theodore presser created a tude magazine, who is Theodore presser. So then we find out who he is, he ended up creating the he was he was a pianist, but he wasn’t that great of a pianist. He went to Germany, because that’s where everybody was going in the late. Yes, everybody was going to Germany, because that’s where you learn to play piano better. So he goes there, he loves lip sync, he loves all the things that are going on there. He comes back to America. I don’t know all the ins and outs. But he was teaching at different university, I think little universities here and

Matt Edwards  37:52

there, but music teachers to be taken more seriously

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  37:55

did and he created the mtDNA, which is the musical music teachers National Association, and he created the MT Na, which was an organisation for for teachers to get music teachers to get together. But when he created the MTA, which I think was really great, I mean, we wouldn’t have we wouldn’t I don’t think we would have nats it we would not have nots, we would not have NASM, which is, you know, accreditation. So we wouldn’t have all these things. I think what he really wanted was a really great thing. But what he ended up doing with the mtDNA is then he created the etude magazine. And so if you had it, I came up with a whole flow chart. I don’t have it with me right now. But he clearly it created a trifecta. And this was right around the time. This is right after a really great big recession that happened in the 1890s. And he created the mtDNA. And if you have the if you have a membership to the mtDNA you get a discount for the etude mags or no for sheet music. Is that how to work so oh my gosh,

Matt Edwards  38:57

basically you get into MTN a you then subscribe to a tune magazine. If you sign enough students up, you can win prizes for signing your students up to me to a to magazine, then they get a monthly publication that does have sheet music in it. But it also has articles about how they should think about music. And if you look at the cover of this, this cover is very telling of this magazine because what they wanted you to think about music is that music possesses powers that exalt in a noble mankind. And on this image, you’ll see the church, the school and the home. Because the belief was that music was from God. Music was a sacred thing. It was a discipline thing, and it would help you become a better human. And throughout this magazine, they talk about it being our duty as music teachers to reach down to the common people and lift them up to appreciate good music, not to teach them the music that they like, which is popular. Now the also in some issues. It depends on who’s writing. Some people didn’t say look, we should take advantage of popular music, let them play that and then lift them up. actually learning what good music is. So not only do the teachers share this with their students, the teachers then can buy sheet music at a discount from Theodore pressors publishing house, and then sell that sheet music to their students. And then presser is making such a great revenue stream. He goes around and starts buying up all of the other music publishing houses, and takes over a whole city block, Philadelphia

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  40:23

two years, it took two years for him to do that. He had a publishing company in Lynchburg, Virginia, and it was small. And then within two years, he ended up in Philadelphia, it was huge. And he took so this is like all music teacher, all private music teachers were reading this, this was this was sacred. This was the newspaper for them.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:42

Well, this sounds sorry, this sounds like a cult.

Matt Edwards  40:46

Well, it’s right. So I mean, if it was your religion,

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  40:51

if it were if it was a religion, it would be a cult, because you’re indoctrinating people. And you’re telling them what they should like, what they shouldn’t like, what is good singing what is bad singing? What is good music, what is cultured music, it is so wrong and so unethical on so many

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  41:15

levels. And it wasn’t even just music that was talked about in there. There’s also political things that are it’s social evils, even like social things that people are doing that there would be evil. So that’s, that’s.

Matt Edwards  41:27

And then but I think the key thing is, is Etude hits a peak subscriber run of 240,000. Oh, there’s 240,000 people a month, getting this magazine. Now you another thing that’s important to understand is like Technology is always changing things in this world. And the magazine was technology. That was the was media. And so there is a magazine explosion that happens in the late 19th century in the early 20th century, where there’s a magazine for almost everything that you can think of, there are 10 Other around 10 other music magazines at this time etudes the most popular and the one that’s really directed at teachers. But you know, you’re right. This does have the the impact of indoctrinating everybody who reads it. Now again, Theodore presser was doing good things, we have to acknowledge the Theodore presser set up scholarships for kids who were poor and couldn’t afford lessons. Theodore presser set up a home for well, he called it a first for age to musicians, no one would enrol and go into this home. So then he taught me change it to retirement and community made a home for teachers, music teachers, who didn’t have enough means to support themselves, they could go to this retirement home for his employees at his publishing house, he built an entire community for them where they could get houses and apartments at half the cost of what they would have been in the public marketplace. So he cared deeply about people, but he’s also a product of his era. Yes, this is taking place. And what’s important is mtDNA comes out of this later comes the National Association for Schools of Music, which is the accrediting body that to this day, a credit to all schools of music in the United States. Out of this group comes the National Association of Teachers of singing nets, and also out of this group of well from NASM and the College Music Society. And all of this comes the idea of a doctorate degree. And the doctorate degree gets started in 1953. And that starts really now you have to have it you know, we start moving and accelerating towards you need a doctorate to teach in academia. And that data is important, because the structure for the doctorate degree is built in 1953. And in 1954, in the United States is the case Brown versus Board of Education. And that is the time when Supreme Court rules that segregation is illegal, and we start seeing the desegregation of the schools. So when you’re looking at the time that our professional organisations were developed, they were developed in a time of segregation. And in a time when popular music was vaudeville shows, which have the roots in minstrel shows, which also includes ragtime music, the blues and jazz, which all come from black Americans. Yes, popular music isn’t just popular. They had parlour songs, parlour songs were written by white composers. They still didn’t like them in a tune magazine. Some people advocated for them a lot were against it. They tolerated that. But then when you really get into jazz and the blues, you start seeing a lot of intolerance. That’s where people start drawing a line and saying no, that’s not okay. And actually, we were already doing that. You’re just saying that black people came up with this, but actually the Irish did and this is our thing, but it’s not a good

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  44:37

we’ve done we’ve been doing syncopation they still think a patient in front of us and things like Gustav Mahler says, who’s

Matt Edwards  44:45

also says in Gustaf Mahler, again says the part out loud that we had a feeling was there but hadn’t found yet where he says in his own writing, he writes an article for a tude and he’s talking about different people and he said, I cannot bring myself to believe that all men are created equal. That is beyond my comprehension. I know. So again, it’s not like this isn’t I think what’s so hard is when you have these conversations, this isn’t about cancelling anybody. This is just understanding if we go back to the core question, which is why, why is popular music not in academia? This is why,

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  45:21

absolutely. And I, because I know that we spent a lot of time on on

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  45:26

Etude. But then No, but

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  45:30

no, it is important. But one of the things too, like, where did this come from? Where did this thought that the popular music is is so bad or the or that European music is so much higher? And you have to also look at the Gilded Age, you have to look at what reconstruction after after the Civil War, and you had the second industrial revolution that was happening at that time. And you had all these really rich people like the Rockefellers, JP Morgan Carnegie, who were some of the other the other, I’m trying to think of other big Vanderbilt’s and they, you know, they were high money, the very elites. And so in the Gilded Age, they had a type of etiquette or a culture that they wanted to, to hold on to. But where did that culture come from one of the one of the people that wrote about the culture of the Gilded Age and where they wanted to keep that elitism was word McAllister. And he wrote, oh, what was the name of the book? He wrote a whole book about well, he went to Europe and he started that. And then he brought it back and he was hosting parties for Astra with the Astor family, and, and making sure that all these European ideals were still staying there. So if it wasn’t European, it was not good. It was not elite. What is nice is that I go to and I think of is where this kind of culture change happened. I’m not going to get too into it, but would be the Astra placed riot that happened, I think was in the late 1840s, where it was a riot that happened where people actually died in New York City, and it was literally American performing against European performing. And then, of Shakespeare, and the Americans were not happy with the European and it happened in Astor Place. It happened at the Astor Place Opera House, and they weren’t happy with it, they did not want this European coming in and doing Shakespeare acting the way that the European was, they wanted to keep their American way of doing it.

Matt Edwards  47:35

And they burned the place they did, they burned. So there were gunshots, the militia was brought in people were killed, oh, nice was burnt down. So when we talk about a culture of war, this is literally violence being instigated over high culture and low culture in the founding of this country’s artistic landscape.

Jacqlyn Zito-Edwards  47:52

And you fast forward 50 years and you have, you know, you have the Gilded Age, and you earn and you have, or you have all this, the rich people having all these big, fancy parties and everything. And then you have the Rockefellers and you have the Carnegie’s who are funding some of these universities in these Symphony halls. And they’re part of it. Okay, if you have Carnegie who is part of this, like, I must keep everything very high art, it must be high art, it must be European, and he’s hanging out with Frank Damrosch, which he was and he helped create and fund and build Juilliard or a lot of those rich people were doing that at that time. They’re not gonna want popular music there because it is, it’s not elite enough for them.

Matt Edwards  48:39

And what’s interesting, too, again, this is a United States problem here we charge people for college and astronomical sums of money. Yes, yes, please. So college did start at one point in time in being free or super low costs. Eventually, people realise, oh, if you go to college, you make more money, maybe they should pay for that. Then they started charging for his college than some of these colleges will give out loans from the college itself. But you basically couldn’t go to college unless you had family money until the 1950s. And the only reason we get funding for anybody to go to college. She was not from the upper levels of income was because of our technology war with Russia when we had the race to space. And the government realised we need more scientists. We need more mathematicians. We need more engineers if we’re going to keep up with the Russians. So they create a federal student loan programme so that anybody can get into college because they need people in order to make something happen. But that doesn’t really open the door for arts we see. I bill start to open the door where people can go to major and things we see a more music programme starting to come up donors are starting to give money to create the schools. It’s not until the 1960s where we really start getting student loans that helped enable the growth and expansion of all of these things. And that’s right around the same time that we see a growth and explosion of opera in the United States. The opera Amir rapids founded in 1970, with 20 member companies that get all the way up over 100 companies by the 1990s. That’s the peak. And in their peak 50% of their ticket sales, or their budget was coming from ticket sales. Now it’s around 29%. So opera had an explosion of popularity, but you look at it. And it’s because of pop variety is because of the Three Tenors, there was more and more of a growth of the middle class people who had money who wanted to be part of this cultural world that had been created during the Gilded Age. And there’s admiration for it. But corporations also had big control over what we listened to because they controlled the record labels. They weren’t control the record labels and what we listened to. But then when you get to the 1990s, and this gets a little bit into the SWAT article is when you get to the 1990s, then we get Napster and we get internet music streaming now anybody can put out music. And now you as a listener can listen to anything you want to whenever you want to. Exactly that starts exploding, we start to see more and more growth of things, we see the growth in musical theatre, right, musical theatre starts to explode as well. And now we no longer have only this high level of culture that the aristocracy is controlling. We now have a consumer based culture that’s been growing since the 50s with Elvis Presley and the beginnings of rock’n’roll that was coming out of the jazz era as well, even though they tried to suppress it. And it just snowballs and snowballs until the day the upper class. Now listen to rock and roll mean, you know, Kanye married into a very upper class family?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  51:31

Oh, yes. So upper class.

Matt Edwards  51:34

Yeah. And so you know, there’s, it’s a different world now. And that’s what we’re bringing up in the squat article is music enrollment is falling, it’s without a doubt, it’s falling, it’s projected to fall worse than it already has. And so that’s why we also feel like now if there’s ever been a time that it’s been more urgent, it’s now opera companies are struggling, they’re closing, university music programmes are struggling, some of them are closing, we know that the enrollment trends are going down. And we know it could be as bad as a 59% decrease in enrollment 10 years from now, compared to what we have now, which is already 33%, down from 10 years ago. And so, you know, it’s this is why the history is fascinating is it study is, it is how we got here, and then started to unravel. Why there’s never been a better time than now to start looking around and going okay, so the world has changed. We are no longer making music only for the aristocracy, we no longer believe that there’s only one holy music from God that we must lift everybody else up to believe in. We now believe in a multicultural world, where everybody brings music that is connected to their own humanity that deserves to be heard, and deserves to be respected and honoured in the same way as the music from our past. I have Slovak and Hungarian ancestry. Right. My grandmother was really attached to classical music. I grew up with it in my family. So I had some, you know, respect and honour for because it was around in my life. But we have so many people in our country now that do not come from a European ancestral heritage, who do not connect with that music. It’s not part of their cultural heritage. Yes, there’s a term called acculturation. And acculturation is when a dominant political body forces the sub dominant body to give up their culture and adopt the other culture in order to be accepted into the community. And I talked about this in another presentation, I gave it the voice Foundation. And I said that essentially, I named a county out in LA, this counties like 90% Latino X, that if you are a kid, high school kid in this community who wants to be a music teacher, you have to give up your cultural heritage. Let’s say your family immigrated here from Mexico, you have to give up that cultural heritage. You have to adopt the art song heritage, American European, you still are adopting artists on heritage, because that’s the only way you can get into 90 something percent of music schools in this country for music. Ah, yes, yes, then get into study music education. And you have to give up your cultural heritage for four years to pass your juries because the only way you can pass juries is if you sing your French German and Italian art song. The student then graduates four years later, a master of this European cultural heritage to go back to their community, their Latinos community, where they then are going to have to teach the people in their community who do not identify with that cultural heritage, and they’re stuck to have to figure out how to do it on their own. And oh my gosh, we can’t operate that

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  54:38

way. No, no,

Matt Edwards  54:41

a better more just society. We still start honouring and acknowledging everyone’s cultural heritage deserves a place. We have to honour where it comes from, and teach it and we’ve got a lot of work to do in that area.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  55:00

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of a voice and beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the hashtag a voice and beyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you would like to help me please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway? Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode of a voice and beyond.

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