Voices of Diversity: Multi-Culturalism in America
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Rapidly changing populations in the U. Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans, and Americans of mixed ethnicity will become the majority in the near future. Thinking in multiple dimensions will not only be an asset, but indispensable.
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Luckily, the ubiquitous nature of music and arts as an expressive form found in all cultures, allows for extensive exchanges of ideas from all corners of the globe. Inclusive: It provides an opportunity for expression on behalf of many different groups that might otherwise not be represented.
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Pedagogically Sound: Including multiple perspectives and views on material not only enriches the curriculum content, but also provides radically different frameworks and paradigms to students on content. Raises Awareness: Promotes awareness of self and others, fosters respect, tolerance and understanding.
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Is Integrative: Provides excellent opportunities for integration as a natural entry or pivot point to other subject areas such as social studies, history, literature, language, and all of the arts. Most teachers, however, feel that they are not familiar enough with any material out of their comfort zone, and this is understandable. Also, there are time constraints, scheduling issues, materials and resources, and perhaps curricular or administrative support. Most teachers are also concerned regarding which cultures to include, and if they include too many, that they will be covering the content very superficially.
The field of ethnomusicology is well positioned to contribute toward multicultural and diversity education, and, after a brief description of ethnomusicology, its tenets will be applied towards an examination of them. Recently, scholars such as Patricia Shehan Campbell, Therese Volk, and David Elliott have begun blending the disciplines of ethnomusicology and music education, bringing some of the field research and holistic view from ethnomusicology into the pedagogical practice of music education. Ethnomusicology, at its foundation, examines the relationship between music and culture.
We tend to think less, however, about the concepts or ideas that our culture has about sound and music. Ethnomusicologist Jeff Todd Titon states that we perform music in two ways. First, we perform the music itself i. What does this mean? If you look back at the brief quiz in the first chapter, you will find that you know things about music just having experienced and listened in your everyday life.
One way to objectively view your own culture is to step back and imagine that you are an immigrant or an alien, perhaps, and are viewing the culture for the very first time. What might you observe about music in this culture? What do people believe about certain genres of music? Are certain types of music good? What about musicians in general? Do we value them? Is it considered positive or negative to be a professional musician? When should certain types of music be played?
When should you listen to certain types of music? When do we perform music? How do we do it? What particular movements, gestures, and instruments do we use? Who performs? Who is allowed to perform certain music? Think about a type of music and its gender or racial makeup. Certainly, there are few genres of music that are performed equally across the board. What this type of analysis does is to help us understand the cultural values associated with music, and what is important about sound and the concepts and behaviors associated with it.
What is considered beautiful about a type of sound, instrument or voice? One example to consider might be opera.
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We might begin with a broad question as to whether opera is important and how it fits in with our culture. It takes years of practice to perfect this sound, uncountable hours of lessons, training, coaching. Singers, do not, for example, learn opera in their garages or simply by listening to recordings. Opera singers do not use microphones or any type of amplification technology. They are required to project their voice without assistance, which requires immense physical support.
They sing arias, recitatives, choruses supported by an orchestra. The most popular repertoire they sing is mostly European, written in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Voices of Diversity
Behavior: Singers on stage are expected to act in a certain way. Since opera is part of our Western Cultural heritage, there are institutions conservatories, performance venues, etc. Audiences who attend operas are usually able to afford the price of a ticket and are of an educational level and demographic cohort that supports, understands, and appreciates the form. Concepts: As a genre, we believe opera to be a classical form, complicated, and with a long tradition and heritage rooted in the European classical tradition. Although we might not listen to it regularly or even at all, we all hold it in very high esteem, and an important part of a highly cultured society.
Alternatively, we may not offer any national financial support. Think of a style or genre of music i. What are the musical aesthetics of that music? What is culturally valued? Not valued?
This might mean working with broad categories of Chinese, Indian or West African music, or narrow sub-cultures such as hip-hop music, Motown sound from the s, or even the sound of an individual singer. Regardless of what material you are trying to incorporate, thoroughly understanding the aesthetics and values will be highly beneficial to preserving the integrity and authenticity of both the music and culture. To do this requires preparation of research and practice.
Begin by selecting one culture area in which you are interested. Conduct research by reading about and exploring available teaching materials on that culture. Depending on your resources, you might want to actually acquire further knowledge and skills such as attending professional development activities or workshops, webinars, courses, or even contact people in your area that might be familiar with that culture.
Starting with your own classroom is an excellent first step. There are always parents willing to come in and share traditions! Teaching the music or arts of that culture is the next step. Fortunately, there are ways in which to use pedagogies that you already know in order to teach the material, without compromising its integrity or authenticity. The approach is to step back and ask questions to find commonalities in both cultures from which to work.
Most cultures around the world use aural-oral transmission process to teach many things, but especially music. Direct interaction with the sound is crucial, and notation cannot replace this experience.
Children learn from each other by listening and joining in, learn by listening to recordings, or learn aurally from adults. In some cultures like India, even the classical music is transmitted aurally, with almost no notated music at all. Aural transmission also enhances brain function since memorization is essential, along with mental mapping of melodies and rhythms. In the aural transmission process, modeling is a key factor. For example, traditional music learning in West Africa takes place aurally. Note that the rhyme itself is not from West Africa, but it is the process of aural transmission itself that is one of the main goals of the lesson.
While this list may be daunting, it is helpful in order to visualize the components necessary for a successful lesson—one that uses familiar pedagogies, materials, and processes between the two cultures. There is enough pedagogical overlap between the two to not only make a lesson work, but to contain a reasonable level of authenticity in its quest to successfully convey the intended musical and cultural material and values.
This particular case study on West African music relies solely on aural learning, which means that a rote method is applicable to the music learning. West African music also integrates literature, movement, body percussion, rhyme, and music, so the Orff approach is probably the most applicable teaching method.
amopgafi.gq Note: This is but one variation of this particular rhyme. Learn the rhyme first using rote learning call and response or echo. Then have the students clap on each beat. Repeat until the rhyme becomes embodied, and flows freely. The rhyme itself implies that there is an inherent dialogue between the two mothers. Form a circle.
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