Lowell Mason
The Father of Music Education in America
C    O    L    L    E    G    E

Music 314
Foundations & Principles of Music Education

Dr. Peter LaRue, Instructor

Handout - Talking Points #12

Great Quote
"... the soft bigotry of lowered expectations ..."

Multiculuralism and Diversity in Music

American educators and music educators are increasingly aware of the importance of teaching with a multicultural approach. The United States, with its ethnic diversity, now has a population derived from more than 100 world cultures. Although the earliest immigrants to the country were from northern and southern Europe and Africa, today 40 percent of legal immigrants come from Asia, and another 40 percent are from Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. ("Patterns in our Social Fabric Are Changing," Education Week, 5 no. 34 May 1986, p. 16) Some of America's school systems now must offer instruction in a dozen or more languages. By the year 2000, one out of every three children attending American schools will be either Black or Hispanic. In fifty-three major cities, the majority of students will be nonwhite.

In the past, American teachers have emphasized Western European and American classical and folk music, perhaps leading their students to believe that only one major musical system is of value to them. Today researchers assure us that the world has other highly sophisticated, but different, musical traditions worthy of study. Fortunately, the basal [song book] series texts are presently featuring global musics for grades K-8. Teachers should utilize these and other multicultural lessons in their classroom to:

1. improve intercultural and interracial understanding
2. introduce students to an expanded variety of sounds
3. increase receptiveness to new musics
4. help students discover there are many ways to construct music
5. help students develop "polymusicality"
6. increase a student's capacity to tolerate, learn and perform non-traditional music

We have opportunities to study music in multicultural settings by examining the musics that are represented through various populations living in the United States today. Included are:

1. Euro-American                    
2. Native American                  
3. African-American
 4. Asian-American
5. Anglo-American Music of Southern Appalachia

Multicultural musics can be accessible to us if we listen for features of melody, rhythm, form, texture and harmony as we do when we study music of the Euro-American tradition.

Anglo-American Music of Southern Appalachia
1. Wraggle Taggle Gypsies [ballad]
2. Mister Frog Went A-Courtin' [ballad]
3. Sourwood Mountain [ballad]

African-American Music
1. I'm On My Way [ call-response]
2. Mary Had A Baby [call-response]
3. Ride the Chariot [spiritual]

Native American Music
1. Ye Ha E [monophonic chant-ceremonial]
2. Dance of the Deer [monophonic chant-ceremonial]

Asian-American Music
1. Em Yeu Ai [Vietnamese]
2. Sakura, Sakura [Japanese
3. other Cambodian, Laotian and Chinese folk songs