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Disrupting the status quo: Educating pre-service music teachers through culturally relevant pedagogy

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Scholars theorizing in the area of social justice and music education argue that music has the potential to prepare students to engage in a society that cultivates personal freedom and democratic participation. The continued reliance on values and practices of Western art music within music teacher education has resulted in a disconnect between this discourse and professional practice. The status quo perpetuates conditions that limit accessibility, privilege western art music and maintain whiteness as ‘normal’. In this article, I suggest that this disconnection can be addressed by introducing culturally relevant pedagogy within music education training programmes. Culturally relevant pedagogy, focusing on reflexive practice and place-based education, requires pre-service music educators to think deeply about experiences of marginalized music education students and critically examine the values and beliefs they hold. Embedding the values of culturally relevant pedagogy within music education training creates space for music from different cultural contexts including popular music.
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Keywords: critical pedagogy; culturally relevant pedagogy; popular music; pre-service teachers; social justice

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Simon Fraser University

Publication date: December 1, 2019

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  • The main aims of Journal of Popular Music Education, especially initially, will be iteratively to define the parameters of the field and disciplines of its readership and contributors (especially with regard to other journals in popular music and music education), this being an emerging field of scholarship and practice. The other principal aim will be to disseminate excellent critique and other forms of scholarship (e.g. phenomenological) in and related to the field. The journal will have an inclusive, global reach. 'Education' and 'popular music' are terms that we expect to be stretched and problematized through rigorous examination from multiple international perspectives.
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