Skip to main content

Musical diversity in the classroom: Ingenuity and integrity in sound exploration

  • Melissa Cain (a1) and Jennifer Walden (a2)

This paper examines the practice of five music educators in Canada and Australia who, despite the pervasiveness of ingrained Western-based pedagogy in these countries, are forging ahead with culturally diverse music programmes. Their work is presented as five ‘snapshots of practice’ which provide inspiration and conceptual ideas for other teachers aiming to diversify their practice in music education. While willingness and enthusiasm are paramount, it is these exemplars of innovative and resourceful practice which are crucial in assisting teachers to recognize that alternative forms of musicianship are both legitimate and essential to a well-rounded education in sonic exploration.

Hide All
AUSTRALIAN CURRICULUM AND REPORTING AUTHORITY. (2017) Australian Curriculum and Reporting Framework v8.3 – The Arts, Learning in Music. Retrieved from
BARRETT, J. (2011) Judging quality and fostering excellence in music teaching. Journal of Music Teacher Education. 21 (1). doi: 10.1177/1057083711415010
CAIN, M. (2005) Dabbling or deepening – Where to begin?: Global music in international school elementary education. In Campbell, P., Drummond, J., Dunbar–Hall, P., Howard, P., K., Schippers, H. & Wiggins, T. (eds.) Cultural Diversity in Music Education: Directions and Challenges for the 21st Century. (p. 103111). Brisbane: Australian Academic Press.
CAIN, M. (2010) Singapore international schools: Best practice in culturally diverse music education. British Journal of Music Education, 27 (2), 111125. doi:10.1017/S0265051710000033
CAIN, M. (2011) Philosophy, Policy, Practice. Visions and Realities of Cultural Diversity in Selected Primary Music Classrooms in Brisbane and Singapore. (Doctoral dissertation) Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.
CAIN, M. (2015a) Celebrating diversity: Music education in multiracial Singapore. International Journal of Music Education. Published online. doi: 10.1177/0255761415584295
CAIN, M. (2015b) Music of ‘The Other’: Overcoming cultural boundaries in music education. British Journal of Music Education, 32 (1), 116. doi:10.1017/S0265051714000394
CAIN, M., LINDBLOM, S. & WALDEN, J. (2013) Initiate, Create, Activate: Practical solutions for making culturally diverse music education a reality. Australian Journal of Music Education, 2, 7997.
CAMPBELL, P. (2004) Teaching Music Globally: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture. New York: Oxford University Press.
COLLEY, B. (2009) Educating teachers to transform the trilogy. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 19, 5667.
DRAISEY–COLLISHAW, R. (2004) Principal themes: Essay contest – Issues facing multicultural policy in the field of music education. Canadian Music Educator, 45 (3), 1721.
DRUMMOND, J. (2010) Re-thinking Western Art Music: a perspective shift for music educators. International Journal of Music Education, 28, 117126. doi:10.1177/0255761410362854
FULLAN, M. (2013) Stratosphere: Integrating Technology, Pedagogy and Change Knowledge. Toronto, Ontario: Pearson Canada, Inc.
GAY, G. (1997) Multicultural infusion in teacher education: Foundations and applications. Peabody Journal of Education, 72, 150177. doi:10.1207/s15327930pje7201_8
GREEN, L. (2003) Why ‘ideology’ is still relevant for critical thinking in music education. Action, Criticism & Theory for Music Education, 2 (2). Retrieved July 8, 2017 from
HOWARD, K., SWANSON, M. & CAMPBELL, P. (2013) The diversification of music teacher education: Six vignettes from a movement in progress. Journal of Music Teacher Education, 24, 2637. doi: 10.1177/1057083713494011.
KOHN, A. (1999) Punished by reward: The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, A's, praise and other bribes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
LIND, V. R. & McKOY, C. (2016) Culturally Responsive Teaching in Music Education: From Understanding to Application (1st edn.) New York: Routledge.
OKTAY, J. (2012) Grounded Theory. New York: University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199753697.001.0001
ROSE, A. M. (1995) A place for Indigenous music in formal music education. International Journal of Music Education, 26 (1), 3954. doi: 10.1177/025576149502600104
SCHIPPERS, H. (2006) Tradition, authenticity and context: The case for a dynamic approach. British Journal of Music Education, 23 (3), 333349.
SCHIPPERS, H. (2010) Facing the Music: Shaping music education from a Global Perspective. New York: The Oxford University Press, Inc.
STRAUSS, A. L. & CORBIN, J. M. (1998) Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. SAGE: Newbury Park, CA.
THOMPSON, K. (2002) A critical discourse analysis of world music as the ‘other’ in education. Research Studies in Music Education, 19, 1421.
TROWLER, V. (2010) Student Engagement Literature Review York: Higher Education Academy. Retrieved from
WALDEN, J. (2016) Key Attitudes and Attributes of music teachers Aiming to Realize Engaged Practices in Culturally Diverse Music Education in 21st-Century North American Classrooms. (Doctoral dissertation). Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.
WEAVER, L. & WILDING, M. (2013) The Dimensions of Engaged Teaching: A Practical Guide for Educators. Bloomington, Indiana: Solution Tree Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Music Education
  • ISSN: 0265-0517
  • EISSN: 1469-2104
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-music-education
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed