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Lift every voice and sing: Constructing community through culturally relevant pedagogy in the University of Illinois Black Chorus

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Abstract:

For Gloria Ladson-Billings, culturally relevant pedagogy is characterized by three criteria: academic success, cultural competence and critical consciousness. Those engaged in culturally relevant pedagogy are connected by how they see themselves as teachers and how they see their students, how they view knowledge and how they structure social relations in their classroom. These threads are all evident in the University of Illinois' Black Chorus practice. This article shows how conductor Dr Ollie Watts Davis' culturally relevant practices with the choir generate and sustain a unique community with strong social bonds that in turn create and reinforce musical excellence, inspiring the singers to do better, live better and sing better while embracing their African American cultural heritage and identity.

Keywords: AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSIC; AURAL TRANSMISSION; BORDER PEDAGOGY; CHORAL SINGING; COMMUNITY; CULTURALLY RELEVANT PEDAGOGY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ijcm.4.2.147_1

Publication date: July 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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