Hispanic Music: Music Literacy & Multiculturalism-Integrating Hispanic Music into the Elementary Mus

October 1, 1991 / By: Geraldine R. Graf

Despite the fact that the United States of America is a notion of immigrants, cultural diversity in music education programs has not been recognized as important in achieving the goals of music literacy. The general view of music educators has been that these goals could be achieved by teaching music in the "traditional Western European" style without multicultural experiences. "By stressing the importance and perhaps the superiority of ... the 'traditional Western European' style, educators have taught by implication the relative unimportance, if not actual inferiority, of other musical systems."

In recent years, however, educators in the United States have become increasingly aware of the need to develop multicultural music curriculums. This awareness is a result of the ever increasing numbers of Americans who are of African, Asian and Hispanic decent. these three ethnic groups now represent more than twenty-one percent of the nation's population.

As student populations have continued to become more diverse, music educators have recognized the need for change so that children have an opportunity to experience music from cultures consistent with their own background. The "traditional" or Euro-American approach to music education is no longer viewed as the only approach to music education. Rather, "research by many distinguished ethnomusicologists and historical musicologists has shown that the world contains a number of highly sophisticated musical traditions that are based on different but equally logical principals." the study of these no traditional music systems has been found to result in students gaining a better understanding of their own cultural identities as well as gaining information and the knowledge about other cultures.