chapter  4
22 Pages

Honoring and Sharing Lived Experiences in Music Education

ByJuliet Hess

Activist-musicians emphasized the communicative and expressive potential of music in Chapter 2 and noted how music served as a vehicle to share stories and experiences. Pivoting in this chapter from music to music education necessitates a semantic shift from telling stories to valuing youth’s stories and lived experiences. When educators honor the lived realities of youth in their classes, it potentially becomes possible for youth to assert these experiences musically. The first part of this chapter focuses on activist-musicians’ perspectives on fostering place-based education. In place-based education, educators consider the community context and the needs of youth in the classroom in a manner that honors students’ experiences. Centering lived experiences in this way aligns with the tenets of critical pedagogy. Drawing on the activist-musicians’ emphasis on facilitating creative work in schools, the second section explores how educators can encourage youth to share these stories through musicking—a process that both honors lived experiences and further helps youth come to voice and name the world. This chapter also considers the possible implications for youth who may share their experiences musically in order to process and reflect upon oppression, but who, in doing so, may face consequences, particularly when the stories they choose to share emerge from trauma.