Musical or Extra-Musical Goals for Non-Western Ensembles

Frequently, I hear other teachers, pre-service teachers, or professors explain that the arts are important because we live in a globalized society. The arts are certainly important because we live in a globalized society and if the arts reflect culture (as I feel they do) then it seems pertinent to encourage support of and participation in the arts. This viewpoint, however, takes an extra-musical rationale for defending the arts.

I propose that the arts (and non-western musical genres) are important because they stress different musical aspects and hierarchies not present (or prominent) in Western classical music. That is my musical rationale for their inclusion in the music curriculum. Both rationales make important points, but let’s not forget to consider what different ensembles bring to our students musically.

Just a philosophical point to reflect on . . .

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