The Effects of a Chinese and Cuban Music Programme on the Cultural Understanding of Elementary Children
This study aims to examine whether the American elementary students increase their cultural understanding after a six-week multicultural music programme on China and Cuba, considering factors of age, gender and learning needs. The use of Edwards’ (1994) levels of cultural understanding as a research tool and the way in which this approach can motivate children learning were examined. Participants were 110 second and fifth graders of two schools in New Jersey. Interviews were administered before and after the programme and classroom observations were conducted. Data indicated that such multicultural music programme has increased children’s cultural understanding and reduce their stereotypes on other people. Different levels of cultural understanding have been demonstrated. It was easy for children to achieve the basic level (i.e. Level 1: Knowledge) but it became more and more difficult as the levels proceed (i.e. Levels 2-4: Awareness, Sensitivity and Valuing). Therefore, multicultural music education can serve important educational goal of increasing cultural understanding, motivate student learning and provide an interdisciplinary education to students.