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Do they know they're composing': Music making and understanding among newly arrived immigrant and refugee children

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This article discusses issues of creative music making and understanding as they arose in the context of a music programme for newly arrived refugee and immigrant children. How do young people make sense of a music environment when they do not understand the language of the facilitator or other participants Visual information and imitation offer reliable entry points into participation, but are not always sufficient for more complex creative processes such as group composition and invention. The author draws upon her experiences working in an English Language School for recent immigrants and refugees, and explores some key points of cross-cultural adaptation as they intersect with musical understanding and engagement in a composition process.

Keywords: ESL/EAL; child immigrants; composition; musical; refugees; student voice; understanding

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: The University of Melbourne, Australia.

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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  • The International Journal of Community Music publishes research articles, practical discussions, timely reviews, readers' notes and special issues concerning all aspects of Community Music. The editorial board is composed of leading international scholars and practitioners spanning diverse disciplines that reflect the scope of Community Music practice and theory.
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