Embracing identity: an examination of non-western music education practices in British Columbia




Tuinstra, Beth

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British Columbia (BC) is becoming increasingly diverse, so I began this research in an effort to understand the practices of other teachers across BC regarding the inclusion of musics that reflect the cultural diversity of their students. With the introduction of a new curriculum in BC beginning in 2015, music educators across the province can now meaningfully include musics that embrace the cultural diversity of their students. Additionally, Indigenous musics, worldviews, and teachings have their own elevated position as part of the new curriculum and are no longer grouped together with other musics as part of musics from a variety of cultural and social contexts. Thus, I surveyed BC music teachers to understand their current practices, experiences, and attitudes using a mixed-methods questionnaire using both open- and closed-ended questions. Decolonization and historical, philosophical, and theoretical supports for non-Western music education are the frameworks for this research. I distributed my questionnaire via the BC Music Educators’ Association listserve and conference, and I received eighty valid responses (N = 80). I discovered that 68% of participants currently utilize non-Western musics (nWM) in their own practices and of the 32% of participants who do not include nWM, 42% have used nWM in the past. Educators reported many benefits that they experienced through the inclusion of nWM, but they also reported some difficulties or barriers. Therefore, I will share the results of this exploration of the current practices, experiences, and attitudes of music educators in BC.



Music education, Non-Western music education, BC's new curriculum, Decolonization, Decolonizing music education, Praxialism, Philosophy of music education, Culturally responsive music education, Identity and music education, Cultural diversity, Historical support for music education, Multiculturalism, Theories of music education, British Columbia's new curriculum, Curriculum, Music education in Canada