Yes, Rowan, I'm about 99.9% sure that "ethnocology" is not a real word. Let's hope that the school means "music ethnology" or "ethnography." As an ethnomusicologist myself, it's a bit mystifying to me that her school doesn't use the common designation for the field. Nevertheless, Musique's interest and enthusiasm seem sincere, and I heartily encourage anyone who's interested in sea music. Here are my answers.
1. How did you get started singing Sea Shanties and Sea Songs?
I grew up in Stonington, CT., and in the summers starting when I was 13, I volunteered at Mystic Seaport. I learned chanteys like "Hanging Johnny" and "John Kanaka" from the chantey singers who were working there in the early 80's, like Bob Walser and Dan Lanier. When I got older I joined the Seaport's Marine Outdoor Demonstration Squad, where I learned from Geoff Kaufmann, Craig Edwards, and Rick Spencer, and from all the great people who attended the Sea Music festival back then: Stan Hugill, Holdstock and McLeod, Goux and Soulanowski, Stuart Frank and Mary Malloy, Cindy Kallet, etc...
2. How do you learn your songs? Where do you find them?
Most I have learned over time, from repeated listening to other singers, both live and on recordings. I do go to the main books to double check lyrics and tunes, etc... but I prefer the oral transmission to the printed page. Since being in grad school I have also done a lot of taping of live performances, and I can get songs from those recordings, and have done a lot of research with sailors journals and copybooks, which contain lots of great songs. Finding the tunes in those cases is sometimes hard, but not too bad if you know where to look.
3. Do you teach others your songs? If so in what way?
I have a band and I teach the other players sea music by ear. I have performed sea music at schools, fairs, festivals, and museums for many years, and I think everyone who plays this music is teaching the songs to some degree.
4. Who or where have you learned most of your sea music from?
See question 1, and add that I have continued to collect songs everywhere I go, from every singer I meet. I was lucky enough to work in San Francisco with Celeste Bernardo, Louis Killen, and (mudcatter) Chanteyranger, as well as a bunch of great volunteer singers like radriano (and a few who weren't so great), so I learned a lot while I was working there.
5. Would you say the internet is helping or harming the traditional sea music? How?
I think the internet has been great in helping chantey singers connect from all over the world. For example, before the internet, many of us wouldn't have known about the running shanty controversy in Liverpool, but now we can all kvetch about it in real time! But seriously, Mudcat is a great example of the benefits of the internet for the sea music scene.
Good luck with your project.