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Music, Culture and Technology

Alexa Chastine December 11, 2012 CAT 531


Music, Culture and Technology Music is a characteristically human activity that is inherent to every culture. It is important for students to recognize and examine the role music plays - in their culture as well as others - and how integral it is to human existence. The use of technology has the ability to connect students from their classroom to the music and the peoples from cultures across the globe. Additionally, the people of diverse cultures can feel less isolated when representation is broadened in our traditional education through a multicultural worldview. Khristina Motley, a candidate for a Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Alabama, and a valued music teacher of the Tuscaloosa County School System, stated, Music is the reflection of ones culture. We as music teachers try to represent the music of our own culture as well as the culture of others. Before beginning her doctoral work at Alabama, Khristina Motley viewed music education as a necessity for everyone within the school system in which she taught. She was an advocate for the inclusion of the arts for all elementary and secondary schools. After completing thirty-two hours towards this degree, she posits that music propels students to understand relationships within societies outside of the one in which they live. She considers it a privilege to work outside of her system in order to gain insight into the music practices of others and professes the value of her students seeing music in every culture, not just their own. Through countless hours of studying how technology can be used in the classroom, she has expanded her ideas and methods on how to do music education in the schools. With budget cuts and financial instability in our economy, music teachers often fear for the loss of their jobs. By taking a more global approach, and teaching students that music is inherent to every culture and not an activity for the elite, both students and parents, and administrators alike can learn to value music and the role it plays in every humans life.

Chastine Technology allows teachers to bring the music of the world into every classroom. It allows students to visually see and audibly hear characteristics, customs, cues, facial expressions, staging and the overall representation of others. The use of technology helps teachers transcend the boundaries of distance and can help cultivate a new worldview for students in music education through a few clicks of a mouse. When school systems, administrators and teachers invest in technology, they are also investing in a broadened, more culturally aware education for their students. There are limitations to the use of technology in education. For instance, one must respect copyright laws and remain conscious of the legalities of usage. Richard Jones, professor and researcher at the University of Liverpool, cautions the public in breaching the rights of musicians generally and of composers specifically. He states that the development of new material may be halted unless enhancement of copyright laws occurs. Using the medium of the folk genre, Richard Jones explains that historical pieces such as folk music are the rights of society, therefore providing a conflict for the music educator when choosing music to include in their curriculum. To protect the integrity of the musicians who teachers are trying to promote, one must make wise choices concerning technology. The financial investment of software and hardware costs can exceed budget appropriations. However, with basic computers and a projection screen, teachers can bring music of other cultures into the classroom. The city schools of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, now provide Smartboards for every classroom and at least one classroom computer. Using Internet resources such as Youtube, Google and Bing, teachers can show students the compositions, dress, instruments, and performance practices indigenous to other countries. Additionally, stylistic nuances indicative of other musical genres can be fully experienced.

Chastine The representation of world music can unite students who may feel marginalized in their school setting due to a lack of diversity in the student population. Curriculum can be expanded by merging technology and multicultural education into the traditional infrastructure of school systems. These ideas stem from the writings of Patricia L. Marshall, Professor in Curriculum, Instruction and Counselor Education at North Carolina State University. She believes the traditional aspects of schools are antiquated and need to be redefined by using technology to empower the culture of the schools. To accommodate the needs of all learners, we must embrace technology by such methods as distance education. For instance, the growing population of Latinos near California State University in Monterey Bay, have been able to access higher education because of cooperative learning opportunities. The use of technology in the aforementioned ways not only embraces the needs of others in our schools, but also meets the needs of those who seek higher education. It unites the people of the world by their introduction into our local settings and brings the world to those who feel isolated among less diverse populations.

Chastine References Jones, R. (2009). Technology and the cultural appropriation of music. International Review Of Law, Computers & Technology, 23(1/2), 109-122 Marshall, Patricia L. Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Teaching and Teacher Education, (2001). Motley, Khristina. (2012, December 5). Personal interview. Phone: 205-292-9589 Email: