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WSU professor works with music educators in India

Closeup of Dean Luethi
Dean Luethi, associate professor and director of the School of Music, holds a toy rickshaw he brought back from India.

Dean Luethi, associate professor and director of the School of Music, traveled to India in early August to provide education to music teachers.

“They’re eager for western pedagogies,” Luethi said. “They hear western music, they want to perform western music, and they want help to be able to teach it.”

The National Association for Music Education started the Western Music Educators Association (WMEA) in India in 2017. Luethi, who is a member of NAFME’s Council for Choral Education, made his second trip to Delhi this summer to provide educational materials and training to WMEA choral conductors.

During both trips, Luethi was a judge for the All‑Country Festival of Choirs competition and the choir director for the festival’s One‑Voice Choir. He also presented at the WMEA Conference at the International Center in New Delhi.

“These educators are motivated to learn and pass what they’ve learned to their students,” Luethi said. “They’re looking to perform western repertoires and want their choirs to sound like western choirs. I’m lucky I’m in a position to help them do just that.”

Luethi is creating a video series which will serve as the bulk of an online curriculum for a new training program for Indian choral conductors.

“Whether it’s rickshaw drivers fighting for your 40 rupees to give you a ride or music teachers looking to secure the best positions, there is fierce competition in India. So many people, only so many jobs. The market is competitive. Any edge one receives can make a big difference in their career trajectory,” Luethi said.

Luethi’s hope is that the American taught training program will help choral conductors in India find confidence in their own abilities and grow to a level where they are able to educate their peers without outside assistance.

“I think if they are able to find worth in their continued education on the subject, it will activate their need to spread this knowledge to others,” Luethi said. “This is their country and their children. It’s important that whatever education we provide gives them the knowledge and skillset to suit their needs.”

In December, Luethi will be bringing his educator’s spirit to Guangzhou, China. He will also be conducting an alumni choir from his alma mater, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, while touring central Europe next summer.

“I’m fortunate that I work at a university that supports these endeavors,” Luethi said. “These trips are exciting for me and anytime I’m able to spread the news about what a wonderful place WSU is to learn and work, I’m happy.”

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