School populations will become increasingly diverse as the United States moves into the twenty-first century. As a result, multicultural education will become a high priority. Music education by virtue of its all-cultural qualities can play a large role in the teaching of cultural understanding.
Can ethnic music be taught in a sensitive manner along with the general music curriculum required by the school district and the state without displacing the European and Anglo-American music which has previously been at the heart of our curriculum? The capstone paper deals with why music can and must take a strong leadership role in multicultural education. General need for multicultural education is examined, as is the need for teaching cultural understanding and acceptance in the elementary music class.
Music educators need to have more resources available to them in the area of multicultural music. In order to more successfully include ethnic music in music classes, teachers need to be able to use these resources in the on-going curriculum. Since music is made up of general music elements, a collection of multicultural songs has been selected which can teach and reinforce specific concepts. Sample lesson plans are also included.