Sunday, February 8, 2009

To What Extent Can the Study of World Music Promote Children's Intercultural Understanding?

Professor Lily Chen-Hafteck, Kean University, NJ, USA

Date: Tues 3rd March

Time: 12.00 – 1.00

Room: 938

Further details from Lucy Green,

All are welcome


If music is an expression of culture, then to what extent can learning the music of an unfamiliar culture enhance understanding of the culture and its people? I have conducted a research study in which I introduced 250 children in New York city to a ten-week interdisciplinary program on Chinese music and culture. As a result of this program, the elementary children showed evidence of an increase in cultural and musical knowledge; higher motivation; a more positive attitude towards people from other cultures; and greater self-confidence for students from the minority cultures. As follow-up, I expanded the study to New Jersey, introducing the music and culture of Cuba in addition to those of China. In this talk, I will report on these research projects and discuss their implications for music education practice.


Lily Chen-Hafteck, PhD, is currently Associate Professor of Music Education and Assistant Chair of the Music Department at Kean University, NJ, USA. Originally from Hong Kong, she holds a doctorate in music education from the University of Reading in the UK and has held teaching and research positions at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, University of Surrey Roehampton in the UK and the Hong Kong Baptist University. Her research publications focus on early childhood music education, particularly cultural issues and children's singing. She serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Music Education, Asia-Pacific Journal for Arts Education, and the Music Education Research International. She is the chair of ISME (International Society for Music Education) Young Professionals Focus Group, a former member of its Board of Directors and former chair of its Early Childhood Commission.