Music has long played a role as an ambassador for peace and understanding between cultures. Yet, there is little research that gauges how creating music aids in the development of cross-cultural awareness. Given today’s tense political climate post-9/11, further investigation of the role that music can play in fostering cross-cultural awareness is needed. Using a sociocultural constructionist framework, this study investigated how 22 youth (12 girls and 10 boys) from the United States, in communication with youth in Tel-Aviv, Israel, analyzed and composed music steeped in traditional Hebrew, Arabic, and Western traditions using the computer program, Impromptu. Participants took part in pre-tests and post-tests to measure their awareness and respect for Israelis at the start and end of the study using the Cross-Cultural Awareness Drawing Task (Bar-Tal & Teichman, 2005). Using qualitative techniques, the researchers analyzed the written reflections of participants on their music composition process over the course of the intervention. Findings suggest that the music composition and analysis exercises had a positive impact on the development of crosscultural awareness over time among American students, helping to counter the common misconceptions about the Middle East fostered in today’s media.
Downton, Michael P.; Peppler, Kylie A.; Portowitz, Adena; and Bamberger, Jeanne
"Composing Pieces for Peace: Using Impromptu to Build Cross-Cultural Awareness,"
Visions of Research in Music Education: Vol. 20, Article 6.
Available at: https://opencommons.uconn.edu/vrme/vol20/iss1/6