Sound Bites

Kinh T. Vu, a CFA assistant professor of music, researches the connections between music education and involuntary or forced human displacement. Photo by Cydney Scott.

“A lot of what I do is for the people I left behind. Teaching and learning is not so much about playing a scale on the clarinet or being able to sing in perfect pitch. It’s a way of survival, a way of thriving for me.”

An Lac Orphanage in Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Today, he’s an assistant professor of music whose past inspires his approach to teaching. Vu’s research looks into the connections between music education and involuntary or forced human displacement as well as music’s effect on people in need. In 2011, he returned to Vietnam for the first time since arriving in the United States in 1975, and he has returned some 30 times since then. While there, he volunteers at an orphanage near the Ho Chi Minh City airport, making music for and with the children—some bedridden—and their caregivers.

Watch Vu discuss the power of music education. Video by Jason Kimball.

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