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Action, Criticism & Theory for Music Education

Page 12 of 28


involved in these activities in a coherent way the boundaries between them disappear. Green (2003) also values an integration of these areas in formal education, which she finds is even a common practice of learning music among pop musicians. For Hallam (2001), learning music through these areas involves intellectual and technical processes that are complex and diverse. According to Swanwick (1994), these three activities reinforce one another and are an organizing principle for effective teaching. An approach that stresses the holism of these three activities has been emphasized by numerous other writers (Durrant & Welch, 1995; Hoffer, 1991; Plummeridge, 1991; Regelski, 1981; Winters, 1986) and in different music curriculum documents from Australia (Australian Education Council, 1994), the United Kingdom (Department for Education, 1995), and the USA (Blakeslee, 1994). However, in traditional practice, performance seems to dominate the music curriculum, especially in North America where performing groups like marching band play an important role in music education (Leung, 2003b). Thus, it is crucial to re-visit the need for balance in implementing these three music activities in school music programmes.

Integrating Elements of Culture in the Teaching of Music The fourth dimension proposed for the development of a new music curriculum is that it should be taught in the context of general culture. Music and culture are interrelated and inseparable. The teaching of music should entail integrating aspects of different cultural studies as a means of developing a greater depth of understanding and appreciation of music. Music is “intimately tied to social and cultural contexts and conditions (Swanwick, 1999, p. 32)” and “no aspect of music is capable of being understood independently of the wider gamut of social and cultural processes (Shepherd & Wicke, 1997, pp. 33-34).” These authors further emphasize that a viable

understanding of either culture or music needs articulation of both aspects. Carroll (1994) underscores that the cultural roots of music are pervasive and should not be underestimated in the music curriculum. The teachers interviewed in the original study point out that disciplines supporting music education are numerous; they include history, literature, theories of art, philosophy, language, poetry, lyrics, art,

painting, calligraphy, fashion, dance,

drama, and many others. Although the

Leung, C. (2004). Building a New Music Curriculum: A Multi-faceted approach. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education. Vol.3, #2 (July 2004). http://act.maydaygroup.org/articles/Leung3_2.pdf

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