Educative Power and the Respectful Curricular Inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music

Michael Webb, Clint Bracknell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


This chapter argues for the full, respectful curricular inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music in order to promote a more balanced and equitable social and cultural vision of the nation-state in Australian schools. It challenges views that claim Indigenous cultures have been irretrievably lost or are doomed to extinction, as well as the fixation on musical authenticity. We propose that the gradual broadening of Indigenous musical expressions over time and the musical renaissance of the new millennium have created an unprecedented opportunity for current music educators to experience the educative power of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music. This means that culturally nonexposed music teachers can employ familiar musical-technical approaches to the music even as they begin to more fully investigate the music’s cultural-contextual meanings. The chapter considers issues that impinge on the music’s educative power, especially those relating to its definition, its intended audiences, and pedagogies. It aims to help clear the way for the classroom to become an environment in which students can sense the depth and vitality of contemporary Australian Indigenous music.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics of Diversity in Music Education
EditorsAlexis Anja Kallio, Heidi Westerlund, Sidsel Karlsen, Kathryn Marsh, Eva Sæther
ISBN (Electronic)9783030656171
ISBN (Print)9783030656171
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


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