Not your parents' marching bands: The history of HONK!, pedagogy and music education
The HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands (honkfest.org) is an independent, grassroots, non-commercial weekend festival held each autumn in Somerville, Massachusetts. It is a moving spectacle of colourful marching bands, gigantic puppets, creative bikers, jugglers, hoopers, flag twirlers and stilt walkers, interspersed with unions, activist organizations and community groups. The deep history of HONK! derives from the role of military brass and drums in colonial conquest and religious conversion. As empires crumbled, these military and religious ensembles gave rise to community-based civilian bands that incorporated local popular musics to create new transcultural hybrids. HONK! represents one visible tip of a substantial underground of alternative street bands that encompasses large parts of the globe. The processes by which these bands operate provide an alternative model (or complement) to traditional music education. This research represents an embryonic attempt to articulate the values and techniques that comprise what I call HONK! pedagogy.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Massachusetts Boston
Publication date: December 9, 2011
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