Developing Children's Multicultural Sensitivity Using Music of the African Diaspora: An Elementary School Music Culture Project
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The purpose of this ethnographic study was to examine the overlapping yet potentially synchronous aims and practices of music education and multicultural education ideals in a public elementary school music class of fifth-grade children at Pinecrest Elementary School. A fourteen-week curriculum, the Music Culture Project, was created to explore five selected musical cultures from Africa and the African diaspora including Ghanaian recreational music, Afro-Puerto Rican bomba and plena, Jamaican singing games and steel pan music, African-American songs from slavery and the Civil Rights Movement, and African-American hip-hop. An examination of responses by fifth-grade children to the Music Culture Project required ethnographic techniques in compiling an account of the impact of experiences aimed to meet musical and sociocultural goals, the interactions of children with culture-bearers, and the perspectives of children and classroom teacher with regard to the development of musical skills and Multicultural Sensitivity. The daily music educator-taught classes, the four culture-bearer workshops, and the frequent informal conversations and formal interviews were carefully documented and analyzed. A Multicultural Sensitivity emerged among the children as a result of the teaching-learning experiences of the Music Culture Project. The design of the Project, the collaborations and workshop sessions with culture-bearers, and the experiences of ten- and eleven year-old children are examined in an effort to contribute to an understanding of the benefits of a curricular project intended to manifest the principles and practices of multicultural music education.
- Music