Sue Miller provides an intricately argued call for the study of both theoretical and practical improvisation to take centre-stage in higher music education (Chapter 6), a point pursued by Esmée Olthuis, who posits that improvisation can foster musical leadership and critical skills of self-reflection.
Sue Miller’s monograph on Cuban flute style will be of interest to ethnomusicologists and flautists alike. It is a clearly written, highly musical book that serves as both a guide to performance practice and an academic text. Miller brings together performance as a research technique, interviews with musicians, lessons with renowned flautists, and detailed and extensive transcription and analysis of recordings to create a ‘musical archaeology’ (246) of creative processes, interpretation and improvisation in Cuban charanga flute performance.
Charanga del Norte (the southern team) performed at Reading University on 25 November 2015. Los Musicos joined the band to form a male coro section. Great gig – we had lots of fun!
Sue’s panel at the Society for Ethnomusicology’s annual conference in Texas Austin takes place on 3 December at 4pm. Also on the panel are renowned scholars of Latin American music Professor David Garcia (University of North Carolina) and Dr Ben Lapidus (CUNY).
Panel Abstract: ‘Clave feel’ is often cited as one of the main elements of Afro-Cuban/salsa improvisation yet very little to date has been done to demonstrate this concept analytically. Building on research in this area by Christopher Washburne, Peter Manuel, David Garcia, Robin Moore, Lise Waxer, and Robert Farris Thompson, scholars of Latin improvisation consider how clave remains a point of tradition, pride, and practice for many performers of Afrocuban music in New York City. Brass, woodwind and piano clave-based improvisation styles are examined to demonstrate how clave feel can define both the artistry and identity of performers. Ethnographic research informs the musical analyses of solo improvisations from both recordings and live performances to demonstrate how clave sensibility permeates the artistic work of New York-based Latin soloists.
Sue will be presenting a paper ‘Getting into Bed with the Cultural Theorists’ at the NIMiMS conference to demonstrate how the detailed analysis of sound connects directly to cultural aspects of the music and to advocate closer working partnerships with scholars in musicology and cultural studies.The aim of the symposium is to bridge gaps and create positive dialogue between different approaches within music studies. The symposium is focused on two questions.
 How can music analysis and cultural studies benefit from each other?
 How can music theory and musical practice benefit from each other?
Organizing parties: NIMiMS, Musicology at the Helsinki University Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory, and the Finnish Music Archive JAPA.
Sue is performing Cuban music at a lecture by Katia Chornik to launch her new book: Alejo Carpentier: Blurring Genres (Monday 23rd November at 6.30. Instituto Cervantes, 102 Eaton Square, London SW1W 9AN). The event will include live Cuban music by Son Yambu (www.sonyambu.com) with special guest Sue Miller, and will be followed by drinks.
Reserve your seat at firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving back up north I am now senior lecturer in music at Leeds Beckett University. Based in the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts I now lecture on the BA (Hons) in Production and Performance and on the music MA courses there. Supervision areas include Cuban music, improvisation, popular music analysis and ethnomusicology.
New Charanga del Norte recording with prize winning design by Rianne van Male, a graphic design student from Anglia Ruskin University.
“This book treats with freshness and vitality issues that are crucial for educators in higher education and beyond. The international and multi-disciplinary group of scholars – anthropologists, psychologists, musicians, artists and art educators – engage us in deeply educational issues and experiences…Enthusiastically recommended!” – Liora Bresler, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education, University of Illinois, USA
Cuban Flute Style is thus a contextualised, analytical study, arising from a combination of Miller’s lessons from Egües, her research in Havana and New York, her subsequent experiences as a charanga bandleader, and the completion of a Leeds University PhD undertaken to study the processes involved in learning the charanga style of improvisation.