Transcultural Music Education

When it comes to discussing migration, globalisation, multi-, inter- or transculturalism and diversity, music is the most common reference point. In the context of cultural representation, homeland identity, nomadic life forms, living in the diaspora, transgression, one world and world peace fantasies, music is the most important medium in all its appearances: as European high art music, black music, Brit-, K- and J-pop, traditional folk music or world music. No other area accumulates cultural symbolism to such an extent, apart from the universalistic approach to world cuisine at best.

The intendedly vaguely formulated focal point “Transcultural Music Education” offers a platform for scientists from various academic fields. They identify the specific potential of social inclusion and even exclusion in the context of music. At the University of Hildesheim, representatives of the Institutes of Music and Musicology, Cultural Politics and Social Sciences, the Centre for World Music as well as the Centre for Educational Integration reflect on issues of cultural representation in an open sphere. One of their research areas is the institutionalised music education at their own university. They discuss issues such as: In the interest of diversity, how inter-, multi- or transculturally orientated should the training of music educationalists and music educators be? How can it be guaranteed that the institutionalised music education addresses clients who are as diverse as possible in terms of language, social background and gender? Who feels a calling for being a music educationalist or music educator and what kind of skills and understanding of music and culture does she or he have? What standards should the curriculums be aligned with in order to reflect an orientation towards diversity, integration, inclusion and multiculturalism?

Contrary to popular and sometimes populist discourses proclaiming the idea that migration and globalisation have somehow changed the way contemporary cultures are constituted, our starting point is to look at how musical diversity and pluralism have been handled in Germany among other countries so far. Central to our approach is our finding that music education and cultural research in general have ignored musical diversity and pluralism in many ways. The education of teachers, musicians, musicologists, and cultural mediators has been characterised by structural exclusivity. As a result, cultural memory, historiography, or the imparting of different creative forms and aesthetic practices have been limited to only few forms of music.

The focal point “Transcultural Music Education” is not to suggest that "unfamiliar sounds" are necessarily linked to faraway countries. We advocate a form of mediation (of diversity) that considers intercultural dimensions as well. This is why we strive to advance a more basic critical discussion around terminological postulates and adoptions within this focal point, such as inter- and transculturality, integration, inclusion, participation, and education.

Latest Publication

Ismaiel-Wendt, Johannes (2021): BreakBeat Science in Erinnerung an Hanau, den 19. Februar 2020. Über Zeitregimes und Zeitregie lehren – ein Seminarkonzeptionsbericht (online)

Abstract :
On February 19, 2020, nine people were murdered in Hanau (Germany) by an attacker because of his racist world view. A group of rappers from Germany got together and produced a benefit track in memory of those murdered. In light of the attack in Hanau and the benefit track Johannes Salim Ismaiel-Wendt re-designed the concept of his university seminar for the coming semester, in which he wanted to teach the history of breakbeats and teach students how to use a browser-based digital audio workstation. Outlined in this article are conceptual considerations on the connection of artistic memory work against the background of the histories of racism (in music), as well as cultural knowledge in music scenes and music machines.

Johannes Salim Ismaiel-Wendt is Professor for Music Sociology and Popular Music Studies at the University of Hildesheim, Germany. He is author of tracks'n'treks. Populäre Musik und Postkoloniale Analyse (2011) and editor of Translating HipHop (2012), Musikformulare und Presets (2018) and Postcolonial Repercussions (upcoming 2021). Ismaiel-Wendt is a founding member of the collective "ARK [Arkestrated Rhythm Komplexities]", a collective for post-representative sound lectures and installations on globally entangled histories of music, sampling cultures and drum machines. ARK presented and presents its work in diverse exhibitions and live sessions.