Reflections on Traditional African American Music: Its Function and Relevance in Contemporary Music Education

  • Marvelene C. Moore
Part of the Landscapes: the Arts, Aesthetics, and Education book series (LAAE, volume 24)


The place of traditional music in the field of music education has been a topic of discussion for some decades. Recently the discussion has been revived due to the dominance of popular contemporary music in the lives of students. However, most students have little knowledge about ethnic music of the past and how it has contributed to shaping their individual ethnicity, culture and unique sound. In the chapter that follows, important factors concerning traditional music and justification for its inclusion in the school music program and in music education will be explored. In particular, the chapter will focus on music from the African American culture in the United States. First, it reflects on the view of traditional African American music in music education programs and comments on the struggle to justify its worth as an art form. Second, it provides a historical perspective on the evolution of African American music in the United States. This includes a discussion on the connection to African music in relation to parallel traits present in the music and similar philosophical beliefs on teaching and learning. Third, it chronicles the evolution of African American music styles and their function within the culture. Last, it speaks to the relevance of an education in African American music for students, teachers, parents and the members of the community.


African American music African music Traditional music Historical perspective Pedagogy Culture Function Relevance 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marvelene C. Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.School of MusicUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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