Globalizing Music Education: A Framework.
Music education is focused on Anglocentric Western art music and educational practices, often ignoring indigenous and other types of music, knowledge, and experiences. Additionally, English has become the lingua franca of the music education community, in which English-language research ranks highest in hierarchies of scholarship. In order to encourage a global community of practice, however, music educators should be aware of global issues and be sensitive to the diversity of musical experiences and practices.
In this volume, Alexandra Kertz-Welzel (professor and chair of the Institute of Music Education at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat in Munich, Germany), presents a framework for a global approach to music education. She differentiates between internationalization and globalization by defining internationalization as a process of "adopting strategies that connect institutions in one country with those in other countries," while globalization "merges different national endeavors into one global model" (p. 4). Globalization recognizes and values diversity, brings together shared goals and ideals, does not elevate any culture or tradition above others, and recognizes the strengths of all traditions. Kertz-Welzel does not propose her framework as a model, however; instead, she introduces conceptual elements within the narrative, exploring ideas and developing arguments as the chapters unfold.
Divided into three main chapters plus an introduction, conclusion, bibliographies following each chapter, and index, this book tackles the problem of heterogeneous approaches to music education research by welcoming contributions outside the Western canon. The challenges to overcome revolve around language bias, terminology, educational transfer, and policy-making. Kertz-Welzel incorporates research from other disciplines, including education, economics, social anthropology, and linguistics, which strengthens her arguments and brings new perspectives into music education research.
In a brief introductory chapter, she outlines four goals for the framework: (1) "a new vision for music education in terms of globalizing music education," (2) "a call for consciously forming a culturally sensitive global music education community," (3) "embracing the many music education and research traditions worldwide," and (4) emphasizing "the need for developing a pluralistic mode of thinking in music education while at the same time underlining our shared foundations and goals" (p. 9). She does not attempt to provide best practices for music teaching and research or a comprehensive philosophy of music education. Instead, her intention is to lay the groundwork for creating a global community and vision.
Kertz-Welzel discusses "Globalization and Internationalization" in the first chapter, addressing these aspects regarding general education, music, and the English language. Education is now considered an international endeavor, aimed at creating citizens that can function in an international world, while previous generations considered education to be a national effort, rooted in values and traditions of the local culture. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as English has become the predominant international language, music has been transformed by the blurring of borders and the interconnectedness of individuals across the world. Although Western ideas and the English language can be seen as dominating globalization efforts, they also offer helpful tools that music educators should continue to use for evaluating and shaping music instruction while also acknowledging other types of practice and knowledge.
"Thinking Globally in Music Education Research" is the most significant of the three main chapters. Ideas explored here include educational transfer, comparative and international music education, the global community, and global knowledge production. Educational transfer in the context of international education happens when "one country copies a successful strategy or policy for another country" (p. 36). Although this may be a good method for incorporating successful practices, it is only authentic when the country adopting the practices has thoroughly evaluated and transformed them for the local environment. Issues of colonization may also need to be thoroughly examined so as not to perpetuate this problem. While the models of educational transfer used at the University of Oxford illustrate purposeful borrowing between countries, many instances of successful educational transfer happen unintentionally. Kertz-Welzel includes helpful examples that illustrate these points and make the narrative easy to read and digest.
She continues the second chapter by issuing a call to reexamine comparative music education. Many countries have already adopted international models such as the Orff or Kodaly methods. The idea of comparing similar approaches loses significance in a heterogeneous community in which researchers are influenced by their international experiences. Kertz-Welzel draws on her work as a postdoc researcher at the University of Washington in relation to her foundational experiences as a music student in Germany. She advises researchers to avoid bias as they compare practices, even if initially one country's practice may not seem as successful as another's. All music educators face similar daily tasks and criticisms, such as accusations of elitism, gatekeeping, and bias toward Anglo-American practices. In Kertz-Welzel's framework, however, all music educators are part of a global community that can unite them through the sharing of common practices and scholarship, if handled in a culturally sensitive way. Global knowledge production improves access to music education research, but to ensure that one tradition is not given more weight than others, scholars and researchers need awareness of the issues, such as inclusivity and respect for local and national traditions. Kertz-Welzel also argues that the cultural and linguistic background of scholars heavily influences their rhetorical styles. Additionally, gatekeeping of the literature occurs as reviewers of scholarly articles are comfortable in their native rhetorical style and dismissive of other approaches. A truly global community will embrace the diversity of knowledge production. While acknowledging these challenges, Kertz-Welzel presents frameworks in this second chapter that help researchers view music education in a global context and facilitate a transformation in thought.
"Developing a Global Mindset" is the focus of the third chapter, in which Kertz-Welzel "investigates what it means to be global, with regard to three conceptual elements: international music education policy, the music classroom, and the global mindset" (p. 80). International music education policies should empower teachers to participate in the decision-making process, yet many are reluctant and leave decisions impacting the community to administrators with no experience in the arts. Kertz-Welzel urges music educators to learn the language of politicians, become more involved in policy-making, and convince other music educators of the value of participation. Without input from music educators in creation of policy, utilitarian goals (e.g., music is important because it makes you smarter) are often valued over musical considerations, such as enjoyment and engagement. As members of a global community, music educators should advocate for outcomes pertinent to music education and participate in all levels of advocacy, decision-making, and implementation.
The global music classroom exists wherever music learning happens, in a variety of settings, places, or circumstances. This learning can be formal or informal and self or group initiated; it will respect different musical backgrounds and experiences and encourage lifelong musical engagement. A much-needed competency for music educators is the development of a mindset that encompasses the ability to be culturally sensitive and open to cultural diversity. According to KertzWelzel, "embracing different kinds of knowledge, including insights and values transmitted through the arts, can help overcome the hegemony of a Western European worldview and its possible relatedness to issues of colonialism" (p. 104).
In her brief concluding chapter, Kertz-Welzel restates the book's aim of providing a conceptual framework that will help develop culturally sensitive global music education practices that can transform societies. She incorporates models and theoretical discourse from outside music education, which strengthens her positions and arguments. Global transfer of knowledge and avoidance of culturally hegemonic research and practice is an ambitious goal, and this framework provides a significant starting point on which to develop future practices.
This book is a solid and important contribution to the community of music educators and music education scholars. Written specifically for this audience, it is unlikely to be of interest to a general audience or even a general audience of music scholars. The theoretical framework presented here, however, can be applied to other types of education in a global context and may be of interest to the general education community. I highly recommend it for all music education scholars and library collections supporting these programs.
University of New Mexico
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|Date:||Dec 1, 2019|
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