A Critical Examination of Cultural Context in Relation to Music Education

Christopher Naughton
Vol 20, Number 1, p.57
With the introduction of the new Arts curriculum in New Zealand, students are expected to not only perform music to a high standard but to have a grounding about the origin and meaning of music within a culture. How can this be achieved? If students are simply given only a thumbnail outline of the country, and a basic geography lesson, they may simply revert to the stereotype that they have received from their own culture about another. In other words, Samba might be described as music for an \"African\" dance adapted and modified in Brazil as a ballroom dance. The purpose of this project entitled, \"Free Samba\" was twofold: to learn another music, assess the transferable musical skills and examine what if any understanding of cultural awareness resulted from this experience. The outcome of the research raises the question of how we develop an understanding of cultural context without teaching this as a discrete subject.