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Transferring community music into the classroom: Some issues concerning the pedagogy of Japanese traditional music

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Based on my personal experiences of learning nagauta as a case study, this article examines the process of learning traditional Japanese music. It raises attention to potential pedagogical issues when traditional music is introduced into school music classrooms, as was suggested in the 2008 Japanese Course of Study for Music. From my observation four points became clear: (1) traditional one-to-one and face-to-face teaching and learning situations are unfamiliar to school music teaching; (2) the historical and cultural background of this particular music may cause some obstacles to the students' learning; (3) music teachers are not familiar with this genre and it is difficult to learn it in a short time because there are no written scores to rely on but for using them to remember what has been learned; and (4) its performance is based on individual presentation supported by a community of musicians of the same school joining in. With these issues in mind, the article concludes by presenting possible strategies on how and in what ways can the traditional Japanese music of nagauta be taught in the music classroom, by calling upon professional musicians from within the community.

Keywords: Japan; education; music pedagogy; secondary music; traditional music

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Kunitachi College of Music.

Publication date: 2011-05-01

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