Ethnomusicologist performs, teaches about music, culture

By Caitlin Soard

Tom Turino, a former professor at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, attended Franklin to teach the campus more about music and culture.
Turino, an ethnomusicologist and anthropologist, performed at 7 p.m. Monday night in Richardson Chapel.

Professors Jason Jimerson, Kevin Burke and Cale Hoeflicker all use Turino’s books and articles in their classes. Bringing Turino to Franklin was a collaborative effort of the professors’ department budgets.

“I already had my students reading one of his articles in class, and Jason Jimerson was teaching a class this semester and wanted to bring him in,” Burke said.

During Turino’s time at Franklin, he was able to speak with several different groups of students, including Hoeflicker’s guitar class on Monday.

Students got to see first hand how Turino examines music. Some classes were able to play some of the instruments Turino brought.

“Everyone was really engaged and had great questions,” Hoeflicker said.

The ability to learn from Turino personally instead of from his books gave students a different perspective on what they learned in the classroom, Burke said.

“Since he’s an expert in the field, he’s been able to give them some experiential learning that I’m not able to do, because he’s been able to travel to those countries and learned the music from the musicians themselves,” Burke said. “Things I can only do in recordings, he can do it live.”

During his performance on Monday night, Turino played a wide variety of music, ranging from American folk songs to music from Zimbabwe. Many of the instruments that he brought along were foreign. The Peruvian charango, the African mbira and the quena flute from the Andes were among the instruments Turino played.

Turino plays tunes from the countries he has visited as well as music he has composed himself in styles of various countries he has studied. Sometimes these styles meld together into a hybrid of sounds.

“Music should be the product of people’s experiences,” Turino said.

There will be more musicians coming to Franklin throughout the year, Burke said, though none will also be speaking to classes and affecting multiple departments as Turino did.

Burke said speakers “should be the result of that collaboration because we have a small campus and if we have a guest speaker come in for one class of twenty students, then there’s only twenty students that get to benefit from that speaker, so any time that we can bring someone in who has something unique and something profound they can share with multiple courses, the more students are able to have a context for going to the concert.”

Bringing speakers and performers to Franklin that benefit multiple departments, such as Turino’s work in the music and sociology departments, makes for the most effective use of school funds, Burke said.

“You get a much higher buy in and much more of an impact across the campus when it can be this sort of collaborative effort,” Burke said.

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About Ashley Shuler 1253 Articles
Ashley Shuler is the executive editor of The Franklin. She has held various multimedia journalism and public relations internships, including positions at Indianapolis Monthly, The Children's Museum of Indianapolis and Dittoe Public Relations. When she isn't staying up late to edit stories, Ashley spends her time boutique shopping and drinking as much vanilla Coke as possible. This is Ashley's third year in a leadership role and her fourth year on The Franklin staff. She previously held positions as web editor and news editor.

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