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Music, Education, and Diversity: Building Cultures and Communities

reviewed by Diana Erchick - June 19, 2018

coverTitle: Music, Education, and Diversity: Building Cultures and Communities
Author(s): Patricia Shehan Campbell
Publisher: Teachers College Press, New York
ISBN: 0807758825, Pages: 240, Year: 2018
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In Music, Education, and Diversity: Building Cultures and Communities, part of James Banks’ Multicultural Education series, author Patricia Campbell makes the case for engaging with music as a way of understanding each other through and across cultures. The text is appropriate for students in both undergraduate and graduate courses in music and music education. It serves music teachers and teacher educators, students of the arts, and those interested in integrating music into the curriculum, where it has the potential to enrich equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts.


The book includes a short forward by the series editor, and a short opening by the author entitled “Prelude: Powering Cultural Understanding Through Music” where Campbell explains how her text differs from previous publications on multicultural music education. She accurately describes the focus and content of her text as being more about philosophy and practice than providing curricular materials. This text is a story woven of threads of music education, ethnomusicology, and multicultural education; of definitions of music, descriptions of historical context, and the role of music for peoples and cultures around the globe. All of these elements together inform Campbell’s purpose as she documents key ideas and practices, raises key issues, and argues for changing practice and policy in music education.


The titles of the book’s eight chapters offer a well-articulated overview of its content: “Musical Engagement as Human Need,” “The Changing Nature of School Music,” “Educational Intersections of Ethnomusicological Ideals,” “Multicultural Education and Social Justice in School Music Practice,” “Transmission, Teaching, and Learning,” “World Music: Pedagogy as Learning Pathway,” “Connections with Communities and Culture Bearers,” and “Principles of Diversity in School Music Practice.” The prelude, as described above, sets the frame for the text and is akin to an introductory piece of music. Campbell closes her text with a piece entitled, “Cadenza: Diversifying Music Education,” thus arranging her volume as a musical performance with a prelude, eight movements, and a closing cadenza.


Campbell writes that “music is a uniquely human trait, a fundamental prosocial feature of all people in every society, and an opportunity for the involvement of individuals and communities in expressive artistic practice” (Campbell, 2018, p. 5). It is an emotionally engaging and physically inviting experience. Engagement with music is, as is suggested by the title of the first chapter, a human need. We satisfy that need by engaging with music in many ways, such as dance, performance, composition, and emotional sensing. This engagement invites us to explore, study, and appreciate a variety of styles and connect us to global communities and cultures as well as cultural meanings in deeply thoughtful ways. Throughout the text, Campbell teaches us about all of this with literature, experience, history, and vignettes of current music program movements.


For example, in Chapter One Campbell defines music and walks the reader through the constancy of music in everyday life. We read about Lonnie in his bassinette, a two-year-old James in his purple jammies, Mr. Waugh’s practices in his 5th grade classroom, a high school jazz band’s experience, drumming in the fellowship room of a church, and a local choir. These short stories bring humanity to the practice of music and show how music is embedded in the cultural experience of each story’s characters. Chapter Two’s discussion of music education begins with a section called “Profiling Diversity” about a current controversy at a national music organization, then proceeds into a history of music education in the United States with thorough discussions of specific periods and diverse perspectives included throughout.


Noting that the theme of multiculturalism is more common in music education than social justice, Campbell guides the reader through the rich literature of multicultural and social justice tenets in Chapter Four. She grounds much of this chapter in the work of James Banks as well as in literature across both multiculturalism in education and social justice in teaching and learning. She follows through with a substantial section entitled “Applications: Multicultural Social Action and Social Justice in Music Education” where she connects the two worlds of multiculturalism and social justice. Here Campbell discusses possibilities for practice from elementary schools to universities with suggestions, albeit brief, of ideas for bringing the music experience into the social justice realm. However, she also clearly acknowledges the challenges: intensive units on this topic are not always seen as worth the time and energy, the logistics of going off-campus are seen as “mind-boggling,” and some activities (such as student performances at community gatherings for gun control) are not always condoned by parents. This mixing of scholarship, application, and context is realistic and can serve instructors as Campbell invites readers into a discussion of bringing social justice into the music classroom.


Chapter Six is particularly rich in providing the music teacher or music teacher educator with solid background on what Campbell describes as a “development unfolding in music education,” namely, World Music Pedagogy (WMP). In this chapter, the reader will find more on the topic of multiculturalism as well as a definition and discussion of the phases and five dimensions of WMP (Attentive Listening, Engaged Listening, Enactive Listening, Creating World Music, and Integrating World Music). Although this is not a text intended to be a materials text for the practitioner, the inclusion of these dimensions seems perfectly appropriate given their ability to demonstrate the dimensions of WMP and how it connects to the rest of the text.


Campbell does note recent historical events that have created challenges (e.g., 9/11, the 2016 election, funding challenges for school music programs) but does not focus on them. Instead, she focuses on what can be done within these contexts and provides examples of successful programs and projects that have been effective in making music central to diversity and inclusion efforts.


Like a well-curated performance, the components of this text are linked with a common theme. Even though Campbell discusses a range of topics across the chapters and speaks to multiple audiences throughout the text, what is common across the volume is her endlessly positive perspective on the value of connecting global communities and learning cultural meanings through music. She reveals the depth of her own knowledge of cultures and global practices in music and music education as she shares examples of projects and methodologies that bring people together with music. For Campbell, connecting music to engagement, cultural understanding, humankind, teaching, and learning is emphasized again and again throughout the text as the way to bring us together in a peaceful world. Her consistency across the entire set of movements allows her to easily elaborate her argument that music is everywhere and meant for everyone. It clearly is her paradigm.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: June 19, 2018
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 22409, Date Accessed: 12/4/2021 9:45:17 PM

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About the Author
  • Diana Erchick
    The Ohio State University at Newark
    E-mail Author
    DIANA B. ERCHICK is a professor of mathematics education at Ohio State University at Newark and is active nationally and internationally in the mathematics education community. Her work focuses on the intersection of mathematics pedagogy and social constructs such as race, gender, and class, with particular experience around gender and mathematics education and attention to social justice. Her research informs work in a range of contexts, from leading the Gender and Mathematics Working Group of the Psychology of Mathematics Education, North America (1999–2006) to co-leading the Mathematics Coaching Program (2005–2013) to the development and delivery of Matherscize, a summer mathematics camp for middle grades girls (1999–2015). Recent relevant publications include the chapter "Relationships Among Girls, cContent, and Pedagogy in the Matherscize Summer Mathematics Camp" in Wiest, Sanchez, and Crawford-Ferre's Out-of-School-Time STEM Programs for Females: Implications for Research and Practice and the article "Equitable Mathematics Instruction: Lessons from the Matherscize Girls’ Summer Camp" in the International Journal of Education and Human Development.
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