Trent Bruner

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I Got My Masters Degree in Music! Print E-mail

Thursday, June 10, 2010 was a special day for me and my family as I received my Masters degree in ethnomusicology (the cultural study of music) from the University of Bergen in Norway.

I had written my Masters thesis on the musical life of Everett Larson, a private music teacher and veteran fiddler and accordionist from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The title of my thesis was Everett Larson - An Ethnomusicological Biography: Music as Community in the Life of a Saskatchewan Traditional Folk Musician. For those who have been to various accordion and fiddle events throughout Western Canada through the years, he is a familiar face to those who know him. He is 84 years old at the time of this article and has been teaching private music lessons to 94 students each week. He has been active as a contestant and judge at various Saskatchewan fiddle contests as well as an accordion contest judge at one of Canada's most prestigious accordion contests in Kimberley, B.C. and a past adjudicator for the Saskatchewan Music Festivals Association. He was also a past Saskatchewan representative at the Canadian Grand Masters in 1992, as well as a student and instructor at the Emma Lake Fiddle Camp. What I had learned during this research was not only about his musical life, but many stories about Saskatchewan traditional folk music history and how some aspects of Saskatchewan's fiddle music history developed from the 1930s to the present. 

I would like to thank Everett for agreeing to participate in this process and for being willing to share his life in music for not just formal academics, but to allow ethnomusicology to give Saskatchewan fiddle music equal academic treatment as other musical genres receive in formal academics. It is our collective hope that this will help progress the development and promotion of Canadian old time fiddle music today and in the future provincially, nationally and internationally.

I had been supervised by American scholar Tom Solomon, Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Bergen for the writing of my thesis. I publicly thank him for his encouragement, critical eye, patience and support through this process. I also acknowledge my two other ethnomusicology professors, Sigbjørn Apeland and Erik Steinskog, as well as my fellow masters students for their encouragement and support over my study period. I would also like to publicly thank everyone in Norway and Canada who helped in large and small ways to ensure that I could complete the required classes and conduct the research needed to complete this study from September 2006 to June 2010.

I will have some musical activities in Canada over the coming summer, so please check back often for updates in the coming weeks. In the meantime, see you down the musical trail!

Musically Yours, Trent