Folk Music and Increasing Diversity in American Music

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  • 1.  Little research had been completed on multicultural music education Recorded instances of multicultural music education  Statis Coleman developed a “Creative Music” program that included world musical instruments in Washington D.C (1916) and New York (1918)  Folk dancing movement and folk music presentations were in music appreciation classes at turn of century
  • 2.  Early multicultural music education was not the same as it is today The researcher believes, “that the increasing diversity of musics used in American schools (even by predominantly Caucasian teachers of largely Anglo- Saxon decent) was an important antecedent for later multicultural developments.” Music education at the time was Eurocentric and focused on Western classical music, especially German music
  • 3.  America was segregated into white and “colored” populations The Supreme Court ruling Plessy V. Fergusson validated segregation  Restrictions placed on Asian Americans  African Americans segregated  Native Americans were ignored Southern and European Immigrants continued to move to America
  • 4.  Social Darwinism became one of the major philosophies  English philosopher Herbert Spencer made this popular  Used by people to justify keeping America pure and putting restrictions on immigrants America became known as the “Melting Pot”  This term coined after Israel Zanwill’s 1909 play The Melting Pot
  • 5.  Progressive reformers and Harvard philosopher William James valued uniqueness, individuality, and diversity African American W.E.B. DuBois founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1910 Horace Kallen promoted “unity from diversity” in his book Culture and Democracy in the United States in 1924
  • 6.  Social worker Jane Addams worked at the Hull House in Chicago and believed in the importance of sharing immigrants’ “arts, crafts, sons, dances, and festivals” Henry Street Settlement in New York City encouraged immigrant celebrations and folk dancing Addams and John Dewey advocated teaching foreign languages and about students’ cultures in school
  • 7.  Initially, immigrants were expected to assimilate into American culture. It was found immigrant students performed better at bilingual schools In a 1908 speech before the National Education Association, Addams recommended that “ethnic- cultural elements” should be included in the curriculum.
  • 8.  In 1905, a Folk Dance Committee was formed as part of the Playground and Recreation Association of America Folk dancing became part of the physical education curriculum in the New York City schools by 1908 Physical education teachers believed students benefitted from folk dancing  Students began to respect their own and other cultures  Could be performed inside and outside  Great form of exercise
  • 9.  Music education in the early 1900s did not include multicultural elements  Folk music was thought of as “primitive” The book Folk Songs of Many Nations by Louis Elson, the cofounder of the Music Teacher’s National Association, included songs from around world. However, few schools used it as part of the curriculum. English and French folk songs began to appear in school music series around 1916
  • 10.  Music teachers started to become aware of folk songs, folk dancing and multicultural teaching as they attended conferences Music teachers were slow to incorporate their music from other cultures into their curriculum
  • 11.  “We, the melting-pot nation, can amalgamate all these divers peoples more quickly through music than in any other ways.”  Educators started using folk music in their classrooms  Immigrants felt at home when singing their folk songs  This helped students assimilate into American culture  Folk festivals and pageants included folk music
  • 12.  Folk dances were recorded on the Victrola. This allowed authentic music to be played in the classroom setting. Music classes started teaching folk dancing  Teachers used the folk dances to for rhythm exercises, movement exercises, cultural studies 1911-1916 – The National Summer School gave classes on teaching folk songs, dances, and games Anne Faulkner’s What We Hear in Music Victrola recording was used in music appreciation classes  Included music from around the world  Included information the cultures represented by the music
  • 13.  Little Native American and African music was used in schools  Native American music was often misrepresented and called “primitive”  African music was labeled as “slave” or “old Southern”
  • 14.  Multicultural education entered the education system initially with the study of folk dancing in physical education classes Folk music was used initially to “Americanize” immigrants Music educators were slow to incorporate ethnic music into the curriculum, but it was eventually used in the form of folk dancing and singing folk songs
  • 15. “Multicultural music education is far more than folk music and dance. Yet the increasing diversity of school music resulting from profound social andcultural changes in the American population during 1900 to 1916 may be one of the beginnings of multicultural music education.” -
  • 16. Volk, Terese M. 1994.“Folk Musics and Increasing Diversity in American Music Education: 1900-1916.” Journal of Research in Music Education 42 (4): 285-305. Print