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Music Education behind Bars: Giving Voice to the Inmates and the Students Who Teach Them

Frank Abrahams, Miranda M. Rowland and Kristian C. Kohler
Music Educators Journal
Vol. 98, No. 4 (June 2012), pp. 67-73
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41692641
Page Count: 7
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Abstract

This article describes a music program in a prison where two preservice music education majors conduct a choir of the inmates. The mission of the choir, framed in the context of social justice, is to move beyond barriers to create communities of hope that restore, enlighten, and transform lives through music. It is an outlet for the inmates to express themselves, to be in touch with their innate creativity, and through their singing to create something beautiful for which they can feel pride. Concurrently, the preservice music teachers come to view music not as a subject to be studied but as a powerful agent of change. At the prison, music opens a space where voices and visions can be encouraged, valued, expressed, and heard. They learn that honoring the musics of those in the group is consistent with community music practice and social justice themes. In addition, they grew spiritually as human beings and view music teaching as collaboration where they not only teach their students but learn from them all.

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