Music Education and Ethnomusicology: A Ph.D. Program at U.C.L.A.

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Considering the thrust of the search for desirable changes in music education, characterized by numerous seminars, symposia, research, and exemplary curricular models, we may conclude that the past decade is justly viewed as a period of far-reaching thought and activity. Not peripheral to all this were the dynamics of socio-cultural ferment which charged music education, particularly at elementary and secondary levels, with philosophical refinement and curricular modification. The emergence of new interests in jazz as an art form, electronic music, "youth" and rock music, contemporary music, comprehensive musicianship—all coupled with socio-aesthetic issues—managed to generate from a rather conservative educational status quo a search for broader, more comprehensive attitudes toward the nature of musicality and more liberal curricular designs. Indeed, to judge from agenda at leading conventions and the arguments raised in the general literature, it would appear that critical discussions are continuing into the 70s.

Among the most consistent matters of import, one that has been highlighted at the Yale Music Seminar, at the Tanglewood Symposium, and in the pages of this publication, remains the remarkable advance of ethnomusicology. In effect, scholarly efforts in ethnomusicology have resulted not only in a recognition of the significance of global musics but also in fresh insights and incisive questioning about music and man. That curriculum builders are now including non-Western materials in music education from the elementary grades through high schools is not surprising. The value of such inclusion notwithstanding, the concomitant problems of teacher competency and preparation are fundamental.

Ideally, pre-service education should provide necessary introductions, at least, to music cultures of the world. Since undergraduate programs are already so tightly packed with "essentials," the responsibility for expanding ideas and skills falls into graduate spheres. In meeting the need for this particular mode of teacher expertise, Ph.D. studies in music education at UCLA have been expanded to include an exemplary track merging music education and ethnomusicology in the preparation of teaching specialists for the public schools. It is the purpose of this article to describe briefly the background and nature of this program.

During the Spring of 1972 the writer directed a ten-week seminar at UCLA on the topic: Non-Western Musics in Music Education. Consultants representing various interests in ethnomusicology and its relation to music education contributed: Mantle Hood, David Morton, and Rodney Vlasak (all UCLA faculty), Elizabeth May (music supervisor, Santa Monica Schools), and Gertrude Robinson (Marymount College, Los Angeles).

Problems—both philosophical and practical—were probed; questions bearing on the implementation of viable curricula, raised. Discussion topics included bi-musicality, perceptive capacities, performance abilities and interests of children; authenticity and availability of prime pedagogical materials, curricular scope (inclusive-exclusive global coverage), direction of the teaching-learning process and socio-musical impact; modes of research needed to substantiate ideas; and, unavoidably, the desirable teacher preparation for the realization of effective classroom settings. In brief, as a result, an academic "wedding" of music education and ethnomusicology was proposed and brought to the attention of departmental and university committees. In January, 1973, a plan for Ph.D. studies in music education with a minor concentration in ethnomusicology was fully approved. Some general descriptive comments follow.

1. Since doctoral studies in both areas have been available at UCLA for some time, the fusion presents no complex academic problem. On the contrary, the facilities, staff, and archives of the Department's Institute of Ethnomusicology (its role as a leader in developments in this field are well-known) extend excellently for cooperative study and research in music education.

2. The term "minor" should not be interpreted in a lesser sense. While it is hardly expected that the thorough ethnomusicologist will emerge from the program, the involvement is intense considering the kind of teacher desired. Necessarily, students are expected to develop a broad reference to global musics as well as some in-depth understanding (and performance ability) in two contrasting cultures. To this end, five courses in ethnomusicology are required, with provision for auditing and electing others; in music education, five courses are required with similar provisions. (The latter are largely seminars on special topics. One in particular treats non-Western music in elementary and secondary education.)

3. For all specializations the Music Department requires four basic doctoral qualifying examinations. In both music education and ethnomusicology one of these is in non-Western cultures. For the new program two areas have been added: (a) A general exam encompassing curricular, philosophical, psychological and administrative applications of both areas; and (b) an exam relating the candidate's particular fields of ethnomusicological interest to problems of implementation in music education, e.g. performance practices, world culture courses, transcriptions, pedagogical materials, etc.

4. As presently conceived, the terminal research would center on (a) theoretical and/or experimental problems relating the music of other cultures to music education (kindergarten through high school); or (b) descriptive-analytical field research in comparative music education.

Prerequisites for admission include an M.A. degree (or equivalent) in music education, minimum of one year of public school teaching experience, and satisfaction of general University and Departmental criteria, i.e. academic standing, music entrance examinations, etc. Language proficiencies are prerequisite to candidacy for the degree.

It can be assumed from the above that the program does not grant teacher certification per se; the M.A. and minimum experience requirements preclude certification. (The teaching credential in California involves fifth year studies, usually culminating with the master's degree.)

At this juncture, no statement can be made of actual student interest or enrollment. The latter will necessarily be limited by prevailing budgetary considerations. In all likelihood, the proposed model program will undergo gradual revision to introduce more flexible approaches and interdisciplinary courses. Clearly, much depends on overall student reaction, on periodic evaluation, and eventually, on professional impact. For the present, UCLA views this program as innovative, and as a significant step forward in meeting some of the new challenges in music education, notably as these relate to teacher preparation in doctoral studies.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 13/11/2018

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