Multiculturele variaties in muziekeducatie = Multicultural variations in music education

Publication Type:



AHK, Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten, Amsterdam (2008)


The purpose of this research is to gather information about culture-based variations in music transfer and music learning. The study consists of a theoretical framework and a practical study. The theoretical part provides a view on multiculturalism and a musicological research on aspects of music transfer and music learning. In the empirical study two case studies were carried out in two different music schools in Amsterdam. It explores and analyzes cultural variations in the learning practices and multicultural contexts for transfer and music in the light of the theory.


How does art and culture education account for cultural diversity in urban society? And how does music education affect multicultural developments in society?

Research method
The research has a theoretical and an empirical component. The theoretical part is a literature study on the meaning of cultural diversity in social, artistic and educational fields. The second part relates the practical research on music education in metropolitan multicultural settings. How do music schools respond to multiculturalism in the western metropolitan environment?
Practical research is qualitative: data has been obtained from interviews with teachers, students and managers, from observations of lessons, meetings, presentations, and documents (brochures, websites).
From the (multi) cultural profile of these schools, Schreuder compares the instrumental and vocal course offering, musical learning process, social music environment, student motivations in choosing a musical instrument and their views on music. In addition, the researcher not only observes differences but also the possible similarities between the music schools.

Conclusions and recommendations
The courses that are offered in the traditional Dutch music schools in multicultural neighborhoods like Amsterdam South East don't naturally reflect the musical and educational practice of the neighborhood from which most students came. The intention is their but not in practice. In order to compensate projects are sometimes given in schools.
It is musically and socially important that music schools are a bridge between the musical settings in the multicultural neighborhoods and the (country) migrant community. Without this anchoring, world music is just a fashionable and trendy approach to cultural diversity.
Music schools in multicultural neighborhoods  seem to be competing with local informal educational circuits, where the living traditions of music transfer is based on peer education, street culture, learning in bands, families, churches, etc. This indicates that there is an active music culture in the neighborhood. Is there then a need for the traditional 'music school'? These local circuits and the forms of transmission are interesting for the study of world music. Music schools could facilitate these circuits or communicate through the schools. Further research is needed to assess how the music schools can collaboration and what problems  they could encounter.
The Turkish case study shows that educational circuits within large migrant populations can grow into full-fledged music schools.
Schreuder concludes that:

  • it is an aspect of today's migration history. It gives the migrants a musical and social input into their own community.
  • it indicates the emancipation of immigrants in Western society and is enhanced by becoming an institute for world music.

In a multicultural environment, diversity in music education consists of cultural variations and exchange. This refers to: educational visions, music programs, music practices, a mix of formal and informal educational settings, context of cultural groups, re-assessing cultural identity in new social circumstances. The research shows that cultural diversity is an interactive  and dynamic concept.
After a few years of discussion, and developments in cultural diversity, an intercultural opinion on diversity is emerging. Ideas and approaches from the perspective of migrants are more and more valued. However, a fully intercultural vision of cultural diversity means that new entrances need to be found to discuss diversity. To this end, Schreuder concludes that we need to learn more about diversity in cultural diversity.