Symphony and Sa Re Ga
For 6 months between April and October 1999, I was deployed from my usual occupation as Music-in-Schools Adviser to the Australian Northern Territory Department of Education, to that of international music education consultant to the Ministry for Education and Higher Education in Sri Lanka. Here, I was one of a team working across all curricular learning areas (Asian Development Bank, 1997; World Bank, 1996).
Many Sri Lankan parents aspire to having their children pursue careers in law, engineering or medicine. Consequently, few other careers are valued and although Sri Lanka maintains one of the highest literacy levels of any country in the world, its infrastructure is in danger of falling apart. Apparently, few young people wish to train to mend taps or climb power poles, or to do any other of those dozens of manual jobs that are essential to a functioning community. Besides, Sri Lanka can employ only so many lawyers, engineers or doctors, so most these days have to emigrate, with a career overseas in their area of training less likely than ever.
In a nutshell, my brief involved collaborative work with a representative team of local musicians, music educators and other people representing groups with vested interests in the preparation of a new national initiative to train pre-service specialist music teachers for secondary school music programmes in that country. Within this brief there was a strongly stated expectation that music education might more effectively represent the culture of Sri Lanka as a nation with both diverse and uniquely united and valued musical cultures (National Education Commission, 1997).
KeywordsMusic Genre Western Music Folk Music Music Teacher School Music
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