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Global Song, Global Citizens? Multicultural Choral Music Education and the Community Youth Choir: Constituting the Multicultural Human Subject.

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This study provides a critical ethnographic examination of the Mississauga Festival Youth Choir that emerged from my concerns related to mainstream community choral music education practices. The predominantly white memberships and Eurocentric repertoire of many community children's choirs suggests that traditional structures and practices are exclusionary, even when this may not be the intent of the choir's organizers. Interviews conducted with members of the Mississauga Festival Youth Choir, and analysis of my reflective teaching journal, suggest that multicultural choral music education when taught within in an anti-racism discursive framework, may contribute to a newly emerging sense of identity (and its related subjectivity) which I describe as multicultural human subjectivity. The concept of multicultural human subject is located within a cosmopolitan sociology which acknowledges that globalization impacts the local level of life within national societies, transforming everyday consciousness and leading to new forms of self-identity that accept cultural hybridity as a new norm. In this regard, cosmopolitan sociology contradicts the official Canadian discourse of multiculturalism, which assumes cultures to be monolithic. Cosmopolitanism also conflicts with many of the assumptions guiding multicultural North American music education practices, yet paradoxically multicultural music education practices appear to hold a form of cosmopolitanism as a tacitly implied outcome. The purposes of this study are to: 1) examine the ways that engaging in world music (global song) within the MFYC context may be performative to an emerging identity-subjectivity of "multicultural human subject," 2) investigate the relationship between my pedagogy as an anti-racism music educator and performativity related to multicultural human subjectivity, and 3) identify the ways discourses of race, ethnicity, nationalism, and multiculturalism may both contribute to and confound the emergence of multicultural human subjectivity. In this last objective, my reflexive journal points to areas of personal bias that stand in the way of achieving my goals for the choir. Interviews conducted with members of the Mississauga Festival Youth Choir allow the study's participants an important voice in our academic understanding of performativity and the role of conflicting discourses in an individual's self-understanding. The interviews and critiques of my own teaching praxis illuminate both successes and stumbling blocks on the journey toward a self and other understanding indicative of multicultural human subjectivity. The following are appended: (1) Initial Informal Recruitment Letter; (2) Invitation to Participate in a Research Project; (3) Consent Form; (4) Assent Form for Minor Participants; (5) Interview Guideline; (6) An Open Door (Lyrics); and (7) Vision and Artistic Objectives. (Contains 56 footnotes, 3 tables, and 1 figure.)

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Author:Bradley, Deborah
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:493
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