Rethinking Participatory Limits

From Music Standards to Hip-Hop


This final chapter focuses on more recent (post-1960) curriculum guidelines and standards. It is about the mood and tenor of those reforms and how they reflect contemporary Nation at Risk and No Child Left Behind movements for national educational reforms. In the last two decades, the music curriculum responds to national emergencies such as the child “left behind” with a profile of the child who prepares for the global economy. In this chapter, I analyze proposals made by the state of Wisconsin issued during the last decades of the twentieth century and curriculum guides from the period from 1997 through 2005.I also describe some of the controversy surrounding hip-hop that can be considered reenactments of preferences for particular dispositions. Toward the end of the chapter, I take up the process of transforming (alchemizing) hip-hop practices as music study and the double gestures involved in making hip-hoppers into school music exemplars. This is followed by some concluding remarks on proposals by other educators who are also working to break down the demographic boundaries so detrimental across subject areas as well as in music programs. I conclude with some thoughts on the difficult contradiction, even oxymoron, of planning democracy for others and the limits of progressive thought and “democratic” reform.


Popular Music Music Education Curriculum Guide Middle School Level Purposeful Movement 
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© Ruth Gustafson 2009

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