As suggested by the metaphor of the elephant in the (music) room, our field cannot challenge a problem that we do not acknowledge. The 10th anniversary of Teaching Music in the Urban Classroom provided a milestone for appraising the written conversation about music education in urban schools in the United States. To this end, three authors initiated a content analysis of publications from 2006-2015 that addressed urban contexts. Using Milner’s urban school typology and Farmer’s critical analysis of urban music education publications, we examined peer-reviewed trade and scholarly periodicals as well as master’s theses and doctoral dissertations. Our findings suggest that while numerous authors have addressed this complex and multifaceted issue, efforts to address or resolve it may be confounded by limited perception, as suggested by the Parable of the Blind Sages and the Elephant. This investigation reveals the need for a collective way for the field—as a whole and in its constituent parts—to direct our written discourse and our practice toward challenging existing ‘imaginaries’ of urban places and the people that inhabit them, acknowledging their material realities, and envisioning their cultural and structural challenges as part of the collective work of all music educators.
Frierson-Campbell, Carol; McKoy, Constance L.; and Robinson, Nicole R.
"Elephant in the Music Room:
A Content Analysis of Ten Years of
Publications Related to Urban Music Education,"
Visions of Research in Music Education: Vol. 36, Article 5.
Available at: https://opencommons.uconn.edu/vrme/vol36/iss1/5