So many voices – but are we really listening? Cross-cultural perspectives on teaching and learning in the 21st century
Over the past five decades, the world of music education has seen a number of far-reaching changes. One of these has been inspired by the increased exchange of musical sounds and concepts between cultures, caused by increased travel, migration and media exposure. Cultural diversity is a broadly accepted given in music education at the beginning of the 21st century, as is witnessed by its recurrence in publications and conferences across the globe. But is it really? On close examination, many educational practices still display an essentially monocultural focus at the level of methodology, issues of context and approaches to cultural diversity. Basing its argument on examples of predominantly vocal traditions from across the world, this paper explores explicit and implicit aspects of musical transmission and learning. Using the Seven Continuum Transmission Model (SCTM) developed from his PhD research, Schippers discusses factors that determine approaches to tradition, authenticity and context, to aural and holistic learning, and to cultural diversity in music education. Next, he reflects on the consequences of these approaches for teaching music out of context, and outlines problems and prospects for world music in formal music education. The paper is based on a wealth of experience in primary and tertiary education throughout Europe, as well as community music projects across three continents.
A celebration of voices