Beyond Western Shores: A Dialogue


  • Daniel Stevens The University of Delaware
  • Sunmin Yoon The University of Delaware



music theory pedagogy, world music pedagogy, ethnomusicology, aural skills


Integrating musical and sonic forms and materials from world music into music theory classes steeped in Western musical concepts raises challenging questions and pedagogical conundrums: How might instructors engender interest in students with no training or background in non-Western musical materials? Could non-Western music (NWM) stimulate deeper thinking and understanding about the broader contexts of music production, such as its culture, religion, politics, and history, as well as indigenous musical terms and concepts? To what extent should critical contextual consideration be given prior to the study of non-Western sounds, musics, or performances? How might students and instructors alike engage NWM without extending the troubling histories of colonialism, western hegemony, and privileged, white perspectives? To address these and other questions from multiple viewpoints, this article takes the form of a dialogue between two students and two music professors, the latter representing the disciplines of music theory and ethnomusicology. As these four interlocutors explore the questions above, they also consider and revise a "Pin Drop" assignment, in which music theory students explore the musical culture found at various locations selected around the globe. Rather than offer any final conclusions, the dialogue itself demonstrates how the productive tensions that arise when studying and teaching NWM in Western music classrooms, when examined from multiple disciplinary angles, can be mutually beneficial and enriching, making possible new musical insights, methodological syntheses, and pedagogical priorities.




How to Cite

Stevens, D., & Yoon, S. (2022). Beyond Western Shores: A Dialogue. Engaging Students: Essays in Music Pedagogy, 8.



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