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Journal Article

Multicultural Music Instruction in the Elementary School: What Can Be Achieved?

Kay L. Edwards
Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education
No. 138 (Fall, 1998), pp. 62-82
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40318939
Page Count: 21
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Multicultural Music Instruction in the Elementary School: What Can Be Achieved?
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Abstract

Increased interest in multicultural music education raises questions regarding student outcomes and learning. No qualitative studies were found that addressed achievement resulting from instruction in multicultural music. This study* sought an answer to the following question: What is the nature of musical or nonmusical achievement acquired from each of four instructional approaches in American Indian music? Instructional approaches utilized a social studies/music approach that consisted of large-group lessons with authentic (native) instruments, an American Indian guest artist, and the use of nonauthentic or authentic instruments in small-group learning centers. An additional fourth-grade music class was taught traditional curriculum (music listening/analysis, singing, recorder, and an Israeli folk dance) with no American Indian music. I observed the classes and trained the school's music teacher in the American Indian music components. Qualitative data in the form of student-written paragraphs (achievement writing samples) were gathered following the 6-week (12-lesson) instructional period. Coded analyses revealed distinct differences in breadth and depth (amount written and content richness) between the groups receiving Indian music instruction and the traditional curriculum group. Each of the groups expressed unique learnings related to their particular instruction. Although student writings from the Indian music classes most often mentioned the acquisition of Indian culturebased content and skills, additional prominent categories included instructional attitudes, cultural awareness/sensitivity and valuing. Subcategories such as cultural similarities/dissimilarities and self-acknowledgment of growth also emerged. An instructional theory was formulated, stating that fourth-grade students are capable of four levels of responses from multicultural musicinstruction:knowledge/skills/attitudes, cultural awareness, sensitivity, and valuing. If such responses are desired outcomes, the results suggest implications for instruction with American Indian music regarding instructional approach, authenticity of materials, learning from a native guest artist, teacher preparation, and curricular time. Results from the study suggest that multicultural "achievement" can include many forms of musical and extramusical learning, but that in-depth experiences can facilitate unique learning and depth of understanding about another culture. The nature of achievement from experiences in multicultural music needs further research.

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