Unmasking the Hidden Curriculum in Canadian Music Education, by Ed Wasiak
Wasiak, E. (2017) Unmasking the Hidden Curriculum in Canadian Music Education Canadian Music Educator.
This article reviews the various problems behind the curriculum being taught in classrooms. It refers to the lessons about many issues, such as class, gender, sexuality, and many more, as "the hidden curriculum" (19). The article also talks about how break free from the mentality of exclusion and focus on tackling the concerns of social justice within the classroom environment.
Wasiak describes the hidden curriculum in his article as the things that are considered right and wrong in our society. He considers the various issues that are of main concern in how students are included and/or excluded from certain things in the classroom. Despite Canada being a “tolerant, progressive nation” (20), Wasiak mentions that social justice can be a difficult task to deal with, especially in the classroom. He also raises the concern for music educators about said topic, and that we need to create a better awareness for students. I feel that what Wasiak mentions here is something that I can agree upon. It makes me realize that there are students who seem to be excluded or omitted from certain classes, such as music, because of their own class, race, religion, etc. I can agree with Wasiak in saying that music educators should learn to create more awareness about these issues inside the classroom.
One thing that really stood out for me is that in the article, Wasiak discusses how music is mainly viewed as a Eurocentric element in Canada’s history, further describing it as “Classical music – music composed and performed by white males for white aristocratic audiences in Europe.” (21) As I read this, I reflected on how in today’s society, music is mainly subjected to how white Europeans taught and performed the genre of classical music. This is what makes me a bit frustrated to think about for two reasons. #1, it creates a sense of conformity in the classroom, where either you are right in knowing about the European style of music, or you are wrong, and your creative style of music is irrelevant. #2, it can belittle a student into thinking that they are not special and cannot perform or learn music simply because of their non-Eurocentric background. There are also many stereotypes centered around music which discourages those who would like to educate students.
Wasiak ends off the article with a list of things we as educators should consider in order to bring these issues forth in the classroom. I agree with Wasiak that we should work on reforming areas of Canadian music education to focus not just on European classical music, but on non-Western music and different genres of music as well. In this way, we can create a better environment of inclusion and we can reduce the amount of stereotyping around education.
What Would I Ask the Author?
- What are some that we as educators can help students who are less inclined to learning about non-Western music, as well as those who have no background or knowledge of Western music, without sounding too conformative?