Knowing Culture Through Music

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Joseph Poulshock, Tokyo Christian University; Marc Menish, Aoyama Gakuin University

We describe two approaches used in two separate English language courses for using music to promote language acquisition, cultural understanding, and music appreciation. In the first approach, students interact with popular songs and stories that relate to these songs, and they interact with these stories and songs in novel and communicative ways using, for example, “media gap” activities and “story pods.” In the second approach, students interact with songs and learn song structure so that they can create, compose, and perform their own songs. Neither the students who compose and perform nor the teachers who facilitate the composing and performing need to be trained musicians. Questionnaire data gathered separately at the end of both courses show that both approaches may increase appreciation for language, culture, and music, but the performance approach may increase appreciation for music significantly more.


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