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 were either Black or Hispanic. In
fifty-three major cities, the majority of students were nonwhite.
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:
improve intercultural and interracial understanding
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
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.