Call for papers: “Set to music: Music and Performance as a Pedagogical Tool in the Foreign Language and Culture Classroom”

Author: Staff

Waterhouse Decameron

University of Notre Dame, April 24-25, 2020

Contact email:
Abstract Proposal Deadline: 10 December 2019

“Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” - Plato

Recognition of the power of music and its pedagogical benefits dates back thousands of years. Yet there are still significant theoretical and practical issues to explore concerning the use of music, and performance more broadly, at all levels of the foreign language and culture curriculum.

The focus of this conference - organized by the Italian Studies section of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame, in collaboration with the Center for Italian Studies and the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts – seeks to investigate the theories that support the use of music and performance more broadly as pedagogical tools, and to explore practical ways to implement activities related to music and performance in the classroom.

Submissions are welcomed across a range of topics (including, but not limited to):

  • The benefits of song/music in the foreign language and culture classroom at all levels.
  • Music or other mediums of performance as a way for students to explore central concepts such as identity, historiography, globalization, multiculturalism and ethnicity in lower-level and upper-level courses.
  • The relationship between music and culture and how songs represent authentic texts to be studied in class and offer a unique look at social behavior.
  • Music or other mediums of performance as a way to address the different learning styles of students of a foreign language and as a way to create a more inclusive classroom.
  • The ways in which music addresses the different skills of language learning (listening, speaking, reading, writing, cultural competency) and also presents a mix of “big C” and “little C” culture in our courses.
  • The practical aspects to keep in mind when introducing music or performance into the foreign language classroom, including specific activities that have proved effective, musical and theatrical genres that lend themselves most effectively to classroom use, and best practices.
  • Music or performance studies as a program building and outreach component to a foreign language department.

Since 2016, with the introduction of the Italian spring music concert, the Italian Studies program at Notre Dame has explored the power of music and performance as pedagogical tools in the foreign language classroom. This year’s concert, “Mediterranean Sì. Italianità in Italy and the World,” will take place in the Leighton Concert Hall on Friday, April 24th in conjunction with the conference. All conference presenters and attendees will be invited as special guests to this evening of Italian music and performance.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Alessandro Carrera, University of Houston
Francesco Ciabattoni, Georgetown University

We welcome proposals for 20-minute individual or group presentations, round table discussions or panel proposals. The deadline for submissions is 10 December 2019. Please send a 200-word abstract and a short bio to the following email address: Notifications regarding accepted proposals will be communicated by 31 December 2019. Questions may also be directed to Katie Boyle (

Organized by: Katie Boyle, Lesley Marcantonio, Alessia Blad, Tiziana Serafini and Patrick Vivirito in collaboration with the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, The Center for Italian Studies, and the Institute for the Scholarship in the Liberal Arts at the University of Notre Dame.