The Song-Hunting Project: Fostering Diversity in Music Education

  • Antía González BenEmail author
Part of the Education, Equity, Economy book series (EEEC, volume 7)


Well into the 21st century, a lack of diversity still permeates many aspects of music education in the United States. Most music education courses present the White, Anglo culture as the default frame of reference. This is still the case more than half a century after the Tanglewood Declaration of 1967, in which the music education profession declared its intent to make its content less Western high art-centric. Diversity is also conspicuously absent among the music education student body. Female, White, and high-income students are overrepresented in K-12 music education courses, particularly in high school, whereas students from low socio-economic backgrounds and non-native English speakers are significantly underrepresented. Finally, admission processes and training programs for music teachers commonly exclude all music traditions but Western high art, leading to an overwhelmingly White and middle-class music teaching force. In The Song-Hunting Project students, parents, and music teachers from a dual-language elementary school created a collaborative class songbook. The students recorded their parents singing songs in Spanish and English and then transcribed and analyzed these songs working in teams. This process provided an opportunity for participants to learn about each other’s background cultures, fostering a sense of belonging to the school community. The Song-Hunting Project stands as a viable example of acknowledgement and validation of diversity in music education’s curriculum content, student body, and teacher force.


Cultural diversity Music education Multicultural education Bilingual education Project-based learning 


Disclosure Notes

An earlier version of the second section of this chapter was presented at the 21st European Association for Music in Schools (EAS) Conference celebrated in Leuven, Belgium on February 13–16, 2013.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Curriculum & InstructionThe University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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