Reply To: Global music education in the 21st century


I often find that one mistake I have made in my classes and seen in others is trying to take different cultures music and appropriating them into a traditional western model, which leaves the students with an incomplete idea of the reality of those cultures. We have seen it time and time again in jazz music, which is much more based on reading and reciting charts for large ensembles, with a few performers improvising, then its initial tradition, and we are now seeing the same thing happening with Mariachi curriculum, which is more and more looking the same as its classical brethren. In Bridging the Gap: Popular Music and Music Education [2004], Dr. Cutietta discusses this head-on in his afterword, noting how merely taking popular music and transcribing it for wind ensemble and marching band doesn’t really teach popular music.

However, most schools don’t have ways for differentiating global music in this way outside a separate class which even if it could be offered would necessitate steering students toward at perhaps the expense of other offerings. I would posit that this is a good way to include more of the student population of these schools, reach those that are uninterested in taking the more ‘traditional’ offerings.