Action, Criticism & Theory for Music Education
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Popularization, Traditionalization, and Contemporization The first of the four dimensions for the development of a multifacet music curriculum considers the variables of popularization, traditionalization, and contemporization. It highlights the importance of popular, traditional, and contemporary music in the music curriculum. Popular music is the major influence in the cultural milieu and musical interests of the students and, as such, should be included in the curriculum. Traditional (including folk and classical) music is crucial for the preservation of cultural heritage and for cultivating cultural identity and, accordingly, merits inclusion in the curriculum. Contemporary music is evidence of the ongoing development of music and its culture as a living art and this is a worthy reason for representing it in the curriculum. In view of providing our students with a comprehensive understanding of music, it is suggested that the proportion of popular, traditional and contemporary music should be relatively equal.
Results of the original study show that the music teachers surveyed consider that both traditional and contemporary Chinese music are equally important and, thus, that both traditional and contemporary Chinese music are of educational value to students. A number of the interviewees stated that developing new tradition(s) is equally important as preserving the old tradition. In other words, they stress that the preservation of the old tradition is important but it is equally vital to develop and compose new music. In addition, some emphasize the importance of teaching according to the students’ life context. In other words, they assert that using popular music to teach students is a good means of enhancing students’ interest. Some of the interviewees further point out that some popular music, like Cantopop and Putonghua pop, has many musical characteristics extracted directly from or unconsciously influenced by Chinese music and thus is a good means for attracting students’ interest in learning Chinese music. In view of the above, achieving a balance among popular, traditional, and contemporary Chinese music is proposed.
The incorporation of popular music in the formal school curriculum has been one of the major topics of discussion in recent years. Simms (1999) states, “in the last
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