The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of multicultural music instruction on classroom learning outcomes. Fifth-grade children (10-11 years of age; N = 170) from four schools were randomly assigned to one of two instructional treatments: music concept and sociocultural context. The former approach used formal elements of music as a framework for learning; the latter contextualized music as a sociocultural phenomenon. At the conclusion of the 7-week unit, students responded to two writing prompts designed to measure newly acquired knowledge, understanding, and skill. These responses were analyzed to: (1) determine the nature of described learning; (2) compare responses between groups; and (3) test for differences between groups. Instructional approach was found to have a significant effect on children's descriptions of acquired knowledge, yet did not affect their perceptions of music skill acquisition. Interactive dialogues surrounding sociocultural or musical concepts resulted in a greater number of students articulating their knowledge about these respective topics.
- Elementary music
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