10 Pesewas: The Costs and Effects of a Music Education
As the argument for the inclusion of music education intensifies, we can learn from the best practices of teachers and students and the success of various programs worldwide. This paper will discuss what we can learn about the role of music within a community, the process of cultural exchange, and challenges posed by philanthropic ventures through the examination of a specific grassroots music initiative in Dzodze, Ghana. Nunya Music Academy demonstrates its multi-functionality through the way it strengthens community bonds and maintains pedagogical methods and musical content associated with traditional knowledge transmission, while providing access to a quality of music education not readily accessible in the area. More notably, it does so in a culturally flexible way that allows for hybridization of local and global musical styles in a way that can inform our praxis as researchers and musicians. At Nunya, atsimevu is played alongside alto horn and students use solfege syllables to learn bobobo, creating an ensemble that is part of a globalized landscape, yet hyper-local in its approach. While the common misconception of “African music” as static remains prevalent, this work attempts to challenge such a notion through the use of three examples from fieldwork completed in December 2013, which highlight the significance of rehearsal-based camaraderie, my dual experience as a student and as a teacher, the formation of an informal social safety net in a way that is similar to the practices of other ensembles, and the necessity of framing one’s research in an impactful way.
This paper was presented at the SEM Northwest Region's Annual Meeting in 2012.