African music in music education : an exploration into the teaching of African music in two primary colleges of education in Zambia


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Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus. Fakultet for lærerutdanning og internasjonale studier

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Master i flerkulturell og internasjonal utdanning


Western music and African music as a form of indigenous knowledge constitute music education taught in colleges of education in Zambia. Nevertheless, soon after the country’s independence from British rule in 1964, Zambia embarked on curriculum reforms to ensure inclusion of the African indigenous cultures. This was in an effort to transform the colonial school curriculum which was dominated Eurocentric values, beliefs and practices in order to make the education relevant to the Zambian child. However, these efforts could not be fully achieved because the few Western educated African elites regarded Western music as the best concerning formal education. This study therefore, explores the teaching of African music in two Primary Colleges of Education in Zambia to ascertain whether students were sufficiently utilising the African music component in their music-training programme. In order to have a wider understanding of how African music is taught in the two music syllabuses, in terms of; the nature of the content and the methods used, a qualitative research strategy was employed. The following research instruments, namely; semi-structured interviews, document analysis and classroom observation were used. Fifteen informants were involved in the study of which five were music educators and ten were students. The results of the study showed that the African music segment in the two Primary Colleges of Education studied is not given due attention in their music syllabuses. For example, the content on African music is far less than that of Western music making students not to sufficiently learn this part of music education. In addition, the few available topics on African music in the syllabuses are confined to singing, dancing and learning about musical instruments. However, from the student informants’ responses, it showed that the students were interested and willing to learn this music component as it is important for teaching children in primary schools and is beneficial to their lives.


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