Curricular Inclusion of World Musics in the Instrumental Classroom

September 7, 2016 / By: Jenny L. Partin-Olson

The purpose of this study is to examine the need for the inclusion of authentic representations of world musics in the instrumental music curriculum. In addition, this paper aims to provide teachers with a concrete approach for creating learning experiences that enhance students’ understandings of world musics and the cultures to which they belong. World musics and cultures are often misrepresented in instrumental music classrooms due to a lack of teacher education and inadequate teaching materials. Through research and connecting with culture-bearers and ethnomusicologists, educators can equip themselves with the knowledge needed to teach world musics in ways that accurately represent the music and its culture. While absolute authenticity is impossible, educators must make decisions of strategic inauthenticity that will allow their students to engage in practical and culturally sensitive interactions with world musics. Included in this study is a constructivist-based guide for lesson planning that provides teachers with a series of questions designed to ensure that the teacher is sufficiently knowledgeable about the musics they intend to teach. Two sample unit plans that use the constructivist approach are provided to engage intermediate-level instrumental music students in the study and performance of two world musics—the koto tradition of Japan and the Juju style from Nigeria.