The intercultural angle

Music is a social phenomenon, which is used to express, evoke and sustain emotions, moods, group membership and both individual and collective identities. It is learned both consciously and unconsciously throughout adolescence. From (and perhaps even before) birth we get use to hear special musical sounds – to what is considered to be nice and what is considered to be ugly. Music becomes a cultural code. In that sense music can be used both to send and read certain messages, attitudes and experiences. In this context it is important to realize that music is not clear in its messages, but allows for ambiguity, complicity and misunderstandings.

 

Bilinguals in Denmark

To that extent, it doesn´t matter where you come from, but in Denmark, most of the bilinguals comes from Turkey, Palestine, Somalia, Pakistan and Morocco, why it´s important to bring music from these areas to the music educations and also give space in youth-schools etc. to practice these disciplines. If these “new Danes” was from countries like Korea, Russia or whatever, we should definitely concentrate on music from these areas also. The method for teaching foreign cultures music, would so far not change much.

 

Why actually teach different cultures music?

For students with different ethnic backgrounds, it is an opportunity to meet something familiar, something they know from home. This will help their identity, as it will create less division between home culture and society. At the same time teaching the students “home” music culture, gives the students a feeling of being accepted in their entirety. For the Danes, it might help to break down notions, prejudices and reluctance due fear for the stranger. It can for a Dane seem provocative to get into a kiosk where they play strange music from the backroom. To have knowledge of foreign cultures music, could help in such a situation.

As previously written music can create a canyon as it can build a bridge. What happens in the immigrant kiosk reflects the huge gap music can create. To teach the musical cultures represented in Denmark, both the multicultural and the Danes could help to build bridges between cultures and promote a common understanding.

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