Dabbling or Deepening - Where to Begin? Global Music in International School Elementary Education
Many music teachers are excited by the prospect of incorporating music from around the world into their programs, but often balk at the effort involved, and the significant obstacles they encounter along the way. A lack of adequate teacher training and collegial and administrative support, combined with the absence of factual information, culturally accurate musical recordings, genuine instruments and proficient performance skills, often forces teachers to forgo their desires to include the music of a wider variety of cultures in their programs. Perhaps the greatest stumbling block to providing an experience for students in world musics, is the issue of authenticity. If teachers struggle with being able to produce culturally authentic music in their classrooms, then should the performance of world musics be attempted at all? While a superficial dabble does nothing to enhance a program, nor provide a comprehensive understanding of the musical culture presented, every attempt should be made to incorporate music that is as culturally accurate as possible. The elementary music teachers at Singapore American School (S.A.S.) work with students from over forty different nationalities; many of whom have lived in three or more countries during their lifetimes. Despite receiving no formal training in ethnomusicology, nor in the performance of non-western instruments in their undergraduate studies, several music teachers have become committed to furthering their education and practical experience, in order to tap into the rich cultural heritage of the student body, and to share a practical appreciation of the music of these representative cultures with all elementary students. This paper will explore the challenges that teachers with backgrounds in western music face when incorporating music from around the world into their programs. The experience of the elementary music department at Singapore American School will be used to illustrate these challenges, and resulting successes.
Cultural Diversity in Music Education. Directions and Challenges for the 21st Century.
Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy