Music education and social sustainable development
التربيّة الموسيقيّة والتنمية الاجتماعيّة المستدامة
د. ماري أبو جودة Dr. Marie Abou Jaoudé()
|“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the minds, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything” – Plato|
During these past two years, the whole world was forced to change the global pedagogical approach to adapt with this new way of teaching and learning. Actually, we became prepared to the virtual system. In Lebanon, the financial situation added a much more complexity to the online educational problems, which called for an immediate pedagogical action to improve learning, propose new opportunities and to challenge new practices to promote a better teaching quality.
Many research shows the importance for a better sustainable development education (SDE), locally and internationally. And based on Gibran Khalil Gibran’s quote “music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife”, we can understand the significance of music in our life, as well as its implication in the educational system. This emphasizes the need and the positive social effect of music education on students. However, some Lebanese schools don’t have musical courses in their program, and others removed it from their schedule to lighten the program and reduce the expenses, while the rest saved it even online. This highlights the necessity for the music education within an SDE approach. Therefore, the main question is: How can music education help in building a better life based on an active citizen to reach sustainable development goals? Can music education preserve culture and conserve identity?
This paper highlights the significance/influence of music education for a sustainable development from a social approach, by building bridges throw songs between SDE, culture and identity, while respecting the Lebanese diversity.
Key words: sustainable development – music – music education – Lebanese identity – culture – social influence – virtual education.
خلال هذين العامين الماضيين، اضطر العالم بأسره إلى تغيير النهج التربوي العالمي للتكيف مع الطريقة الجديدة في التدريس والتعلم. أصبحنا حاليًا أكثر استعدادًا للنظام الافتراضي التعليمي. في لبنان، وقد أضاف الوضع الاقتصادي تعقيدًا أكبر إلى مشاكل التعليم من بعد، ما يدعو الى اتخاذ إجراءات تربوية فورية لتحسين التعليم واقتراح أفكار مناسبة، وقبول تحديات جديدة لتعزيز جودة التعليم.
أظهرت العديد من الابحاث أهمية وفاعليّة تعليم التنمية المستدامة محليًّا ودوليًّا. واستنادًا الى مقولة جبران خليل جبران ” الموسيقى لغة الروح. إنها تفسح عن سر الحياة، تجلب السلام وتزيل الفتنة” (https://www.azquotes.com/author/5491-Khalil_Gibran/tag/music)، يمكننا أن نفهم أهمية الموسيقى في حياتنا، وكذلك دلالاتها في النظام التعليمي. وهذا يؤكد الحاجة والتأثير الاجتماعي الإيجابي لتعليم الموسيقى على التلاميذ. لكن بعض المدارس اللبنانية لا تحتوي على مقرر موسيقى في برامجها، والبعض الآخر أزالها من جدولها لتخفيف ساعات التعليم وتقليل النفقات، والمدارس الباقية حافظت على التربية الموسيقيّة في برامجها من بعد. ما يسلط الضوء على ضرورة تعليم الموسيقى ضمن نهج التنمية المستدامة. وعليه فإن السؤال الرئيس هو: كيف يمكن للتربية الموسيقية أن تساعد في بناء حياة أفضل تقوم على مواطن فاعل للوصول الى أهداف التنمية المستدامة؟ هل يمكن للتربية الموسيقية أن تحافظ على الثقافة وعلى الهوية؟
يسلط هذا البحث الضوء على أهمية / تأثير الموسيقى والتربية الموسيقيّة من أجل تنمية مستدامة مرتكزًا على منظار اجتماعي، من خلال بناء جسور مبنيّة على الأغاني بين التنمية المستدامة، الثقافة والهُوية، واجترام التنوع اللبناني.
الكلمات المفتاحية: التنمية المستدامة – الموسيقى – التربية الموسيقية – الهوية اللبنانية – الثقافة – التأثير الاجتماعي – التعليم الافتراضي.
|“Without music, life would be a mistake” – Nietzsche|
“There is nothing permanent except change” (Heraclitus). Life is in constant motion, and changes are the key to existence. To live, we must fight for our future, must adapt changes that will benefit our life, our community and our upcoming days. Hewson, known as Bono, the main vocalist of the Irish rock band U2, quoted: “music can change the world because it can change people”. Therefore, life will not evolve without change and music is part of that change. “Bateson argues that if normal language were all that was needed to communicate, then the arts would have withered and disappeared long ago. He suggests that artists communicate through the presentation of forms and patterns that serve as integrated maps of sensations, imagination, and experience and that it is through these patterns that we are most deeply connected to and part of the natural world” (Turino, 2008, p.3), and also connected to other people, related to them through sensations and emotions. This connection is socially and environmentally fundamental for surviving.
Based on UNESCO, UNDP, CRDP, Harris (2000), and many others, sustainable development is “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. This concept, in general, was focusing on economic, environmental and social sustainable development, which must provide equally the needs for all, in a proper, normal and livable environment, including health, education, culture, identity …. These days, “the development discourse” mentioned by Pablo Escobar (Harris, June 2000, p.17) is also a very important need to achieve the sustainable development goals. We are all trying to attend this global equality, but is it possible, especially with the huge gap between countries and social classes?
In Lebanon, all sorts of social varieties co-exists: religion, economic, environmental, political, educational …. This diversity of belonging reflects the particularity of Lebanon and the importance of its presence in this geographical sphere, as well as the complexity to achieve the sustainable development goals during these times.
Many changes occurred during the last two years forcing people to adapt a new way of life. Teaching was also affected by this and had to adopt an online learning process. Most of the countries managed to solve this defy, but in my country, many other problems were added to it: electricity, bad connection, explosion, decline of the Lebanese currency, etc. All these problems forced schools to change their programs. Some of them removed all different activities (music, painting …) to reduce the fees and focused on science, language ….; others don’t even have a musical class in their normal school days. Nietzsche quoted that “without music, life would be a mistake”. This explains the importance of music in our life, as well as its necessity in the educational field, and removing it from the school program will be a big mistake, especially during these hard days. Education is the place to spread the knowledge, and has a powerful effect on our children. Using it, can help us extent the importance of the sustainable development and its necessity to provide a good healthy life. Music education can be the helping hand to reach and achieve the sustainable development goals, because everyone, everywhere, can create music, can benefit from this wonderful combination between sounds, rhythm, harmony, lyrics, etc.
Nowadays, technology development had increased the availability of music and it is actually more accessible and within easy reach to everyone. This can help sustainable development to spread its goals through music and songs in a prestissimo speed, with a large range, and motivate young generation to participate actively in achieving its goals. Is removing music education from the school curriculum related only to the financial problems? The fourth sustainable development goals is “quality education”, which means everyone has the right to receive a quality education and must be able to access knowledge without any pedagogical or cultural lack. To privilege a social class category with the benefit of music education, allowing them to interact with songs and music, is a clear indication about social discrimination. “The most essential problems facing humanity—including the maintaining of a habitable planet for future generations—requires an interdisciplinary way of thinking” (Coss, 2013, p.23). Therefore, music and songs – an interdisciplinary exchange – will help maintaining a healthy human being, who, in turn, will save the planet. How can this happen? What is the connection between music, songs and social life? How can music and songs be the helping hand in education? How can music education help in building a better life based on an active citizen to reach sustainable development goals? Can music education preserve culture, conserve identity, and respect the Lebanese diversity?
To answer these questions, we will start by defining the key concepts: sustainable development and music; and then highlights the importance of music and education in our social life. Later on, we will focus on the importance of music education in promoting a social sustainable development, as well as the relation between music education and active citizenship towards a good sustainable development. A simple survey will be sent (via Google form) to young Lebanese school students trying to exchange with them the link between music education and sustainable development.
What is Sustainable Development?
|“Sustainable development requires human ingenuity. People are the most important resource” – Dan Shechtman|
“Sustainable development is development that takes into account the world’s present and future needs from a mostly social and environmental, but also economic, point of view. The formulation of 17 goals and 169 objectives is the first comprehensive international attempt to tackle poverty, health and educational issues, peace, and environmental problems” (UNDP). We can understand that sustainable development has to do with almost every facet of human life. “The major goal is to satisfy the needs of the present generation, balancing public welfare, economic development interests, ensuring the observation of the environmental requirements and the preservation of natural diversity in order to avoid the reduction of possibilities to satisfy the needs of future generations” (DOA, 2015, p.1). Lester Russel Brown (1981) was the first to mention sustainable development in his work, and six years later Brundtland Commission defined it as mentioned before. It is an enormous task to execute sustainable development goals. It requires efficient communication, cooperation between all the participants, commitment, common concerns, efforts, equity between generations, tacit knowledge and willingness to act based on the social, economic, political and educational availability. Sustainable development must be transmitted through education from the young age, so it will become a normal reaction (habitus).
“Education for sustainable development (ESD) aims at helping people to develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge to make informed decisions that help them to deal with problems, and to act upon these decisions (UNESCO 2010)” (Herbert & Hauge, 2015, p.2). It encourages changes in behavior towards more sustainable future, and encourage people to improve their quality of life without damaging the environment. Music and songs can also be a link between people and life. “Education enables us to understand ourselves and others and our links with the wider natural and social environment; this understanding serves as a durable basis for building respect” (Nevin, 2008, p.2) and respecting the cultural diversity, conserving the identity. Music and song can be the free space, especially for children, to know themselves, express their ideas, assume some active social roles to learn solving problems, understand their presence in this life. Therefore, education, society and music are connected. What does music really mean?
What is Music?
|“Music is … a higher revelation than all wisdom & philosophy” – Beethoven|
Music is the art of arranging sounds through the melody, the harmony, the rhythm and the timbre. It is a mirror reflecting who we are, where we live, when … It makes sense through history, values, institutions, social situations, culture, technology, etc. Music has an important relationship with human biology, mind, behavior, emotions. It may be a primary element of coping with social change or may be central to the conservation of aspects of the social order; different styles of music are the best example. “Music and sounds not only allow ‘the foci of listeners’ attention to be modulated according to the music’s underlying pulse in presentational contexts, but also enables performers engaged in musical interactions (both formally trained specialists and enculturated individuals) to coordinate their musical behaviors in time – to entrain with each other” (Clayton, Herbert, Middleton, 2012, p.21). Being a mirror, music will reflect the cultural diversity, the age varieties, the gender particularity, the religion and political needs, and many other social aspects. By analyzing music, we can understand a whole society, its strengths and its weaknesses, its problems, its identity, its culture …. “As Alan Merriam noted, across cultures – and even from a perspective rooted in one particular society – music is more than just sound; it is also manifested as concept and as behavior” (Clayton, Herbert, Middleton, p.21). Music is a communicative medium entailing active contributions from all of us. It motivates listeners to interact musically and socially, to change some of their behaviors, to communicate with each other, and sustain the integrity of social relationship; all these are extremely important to people. Vocal intonation was the main aspect of communication; it was later replaced by words and songs. Singing was the way to communicate, to pray, to celebrate any social event, etc.; and singing isn’t only about our voice, it is the other’s experience. While singing any song, we are transmitting other’s culture, other’s identity, other’s needs …; we are sharing the pleasure of music, and committed to transmit the correct message in a perfect way. The union of our voices through songs, empowers our bonding, our acceptance to each other, and our support also to each other. Singing liberates voices, and creates social healthy space helping us (human) to exist, to accept, and to conserve our particularity. Through singing, children developed their personality, their identity, their language, and their values in a very joyful and enthusiastic way. For Adorno, we might see “the children’s singing in the concert as a sweet haranguing” (Adorno, 2000, p.120).
Bernstein, Bourdieu and Passeron suggested that “knowledge is never neutral. Instead, it is a reflection of who controls prevailing cultural values and what type of information is considered valued by decision-makers in society” (cited by Wright, 2010, p.35). Students have the capacity to be part of the decision-making process in the educational field as well as in the society. They can, through music and songs, express their needs, propose solution to their problems and be real active citizens. Our role, as adults, will be guiding them.
According to sociologist Peter Martin, “music offers people ‘a sense of secure identity – whatever they wish that to be – and a sense of belonging at a time when the accelerating pace of economic and technological change is making it increasingly difficult to achieve continuity and stability in social life’. Identity is, therefore, an indispensable facet of music’s significance, one typically conceived in terms of social constructs such as nationality, gender and ethnicity” (Wright, p.93). Music via education will increase our knowledge and our vision in a new and different way.
Music, Education, and Social life
|“Music is the social art of communication among people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is” – Malcolm Arnold|
From the beginning of life, music was present, affecting, helping, inspiring, communicating, praying, fighting … with people. Music is a central element of life; you can associate a specific song to a period in your life. It has been and is still used as a vital force expressing social, political, educational, historical, and religious issues. Through music and songs, available to all, people will experience life, give particular meaning to it, and develop human and social bonding. Music is a powerful language that all cultures relate with; it is a direct and potent tool helping individuals build their communities. It brings cooperativeness and understanding among people from different cultures, different languages. Through music and songs, people articulate collective identities, fundamental to forming and sustaining social groups, and sharing cultural knowledge. We can all interact with any musical style (Blue Danube waltz – Radetzky March – Ya Shadi Alhan) because we can all appreciate when our mind and feelings are touched. This understanding can promote for an “international education” (Herbert & Hauge, p.4) by working on intercultural understanding, critical thinking, collaboration between people in different countries. All these will help to shape attitudes towards a conducive mutual respect and global sustainable development for the future of humanity.
Identity via music education
“Music education can be defined as a process by which musical knowledge and skills are developed through learning at school, colleges and University and the informal traditional setting” (DOA, p.84). Music education transmits music from one generation to another. Transmitting the melody, the rhythm, etc. is not the only information, because transmitting music means also transmitting the identity, culture, language, belonging, values … of this generation. Singing “3ala Dal3ouna على دلعونا” is not limited to maqam “bayati” and a 6/4 beat but goes much further towards the particularity of Lebanon, the social need to create such a song, the identity of this country as well as its culture. Music education educates children via emotions which is very critical because emotion is a double-edge sword: respect or throwaway your identity, your nationality …. Therefore, traditional music must be properly placed in the curriculum permitting the child to grow up and trained with a rich background.
Music serves to “address cultural diversity and build intercultural relations and understandings” (Joseph, 2012, p.9). For example teaching Lebanese students to sing and play classical music or any different style, allows them to develop and increase their knowledge, skills, and understanding towards each other, to place themselves into a new culture different from their own. “Music education attempts to enhance the effectiveness by which people are able to extend their musical involvements” (Coss, p. 22). Thus, the inclusion and emphasis of music education in the school curriculum is a must, it can build cross-cultural understanding. Music, songs and arts in general, are a powerful tool for increasing the learning process. For a child, learning is a hard task, but playing is fun: playing a musical instrument, coordinating rhythm with body language is fun, learning new vocabularies through songs and rhymes is much better than repeating them after the teacher. “Music is a culture-creating and individual-creating act, and those who witness are key players in its full functioning” (Reimer, p. 97).
Music education and social diversity
Music education is one of the main tools used to build the connection between children and society. Even though, it was facing, from the beginning, the challenge of acceptance and rejection: in the same society, some groups allow its members to study music and interact with it, while others forbid it. This conflict affects music education as well as music teachers. Actually, new challenges occur because of the lockdown, of the nonstop technology evolution, the financial situation … which suggest on music education the eLearning system. “By recognizing the significance of learning in musical communities online, and by acknowledging the role of digital technology in shaping the musical practices and experiences across the cultural lines, the music education community prepares itself for plurality, multiculturalism and lifelong learning” (Herbert & Hauge, p.5). Is it possible to reach all the Lebanese children, especially with all the problems (internet, poverty, etc.)? This is another challenge for sustainable development and its educational equality: every child has the right to receive a complete education. By removing music, art, or any different activity, just to reduce the fees, is critical towards our children’s future. Music and songs can prepare children for active citizenship, which allows them to emphasis the cultural politics towards sustainable development, because music education is highly interdisciplinary, and can exchange with numerous other disciplines. Education is not limited to Math, or Arabic; it is a package filled with physiological, psychological, emotional needs that must be educated via different activities: sport, music, dance, drawing, acting, etc. Therefore, music should be always included in the school curriculum.
Sustainable development throw music
Teaching young pupils about sustainable development and how to be a good active citizen, is a very important task; and with the help of music and songs they will grow up behaving properly, consciously towards sustainable development, and they will be able to prevent antisocial things. Songs have the power to influence the listeners and therefore assume social changes. 95 % of school Lebanese students questioned via “google form”, confirm that songs can affect positively their behavior and motivate them to be active citizen, focusing on achieving sustainable development goals. This behavior will be natural in normal life, if we benefit from the powerful potential of music and songs. 82.5 % of these young students can’t live without music, and those who don’t have music education in their school would love to include it in the curriculum. For those who have this privilege, 83.8 % wish to be more involved.
Singing about human rights “All are equal” (music Jihad Zaidan) will provide the learners with sufficient knowledge about it, and how to deal with it in a rational and objective basis. Using the song “Tree Anthem” (نشيد الشجرة) (lyrics: Juliette Aad – music: Pierre Samia) will highlights on the children’s social role and duty to preserve nature and protect “green Lebanon”. “Together we can change the world” composed in 2017 by Mark Shepard motivates 81.6% of students to be active citizens working to achieve sustainable development goals. Teaching kindergarten kids to clean their hands, teeth … through songs, encourage them to stay clean and healthy. This healthy practice can become a rule that leads to healthy growth: physically, morally, environmentally … Sustainable development requires a very remarkable effort from citizens. And for a child, sorting garbage, taking care of nature, reducing unnecessary expenses, etc. is a chore. On the other hand, with a good focused education and especially musical education, this child will sing what he has to do, participate by singing in all the adequate gestures to achieve the goals for sustainable development. This musical participation – with family, friends, and strangers – will make it possible to model the habits necessary for good sustainable development, which will subsequently become automatic behaviors. And the idea of “chore” will turn into “pleasure”, and everyone will find himself socially involved; pleasure encourages people to return to the activity that provides it. This means that their skills for the same repeated activity increase. “When music and songs are the center of the social occasions, opportunities to improve one’s skills are common” (Turino, p.31).
Music & songs: Iconic signs
Educating children, from their very young age, to appreciate traditional music, traditional dance (for example the Lebanese dabkeh), and to joyfully dialogue through songs like “Mijana” or “Nakili ahla zahra” (نقيلي أحلى زهرة) Zaki Nassif, Rahbani compositions …, we are preparing them to accept their heritage, preserving their language and their identity, and respecting their country by acting as a good citizen based on a healthy sustainable development. Music is not only source of pleasure. It helps the memory to stay active, provides self-confidence (confronting the audience for example), a social interaction based on equality between all participants, a sense of freedom, and helps a person to externalize emotions, which prepare him to work on sustainable development goals. We will all repeat a song but rarely a speech; singing about sustainable development or any other social topic, will help us memorized it in a joyful way, and unconsciously execute it. We can, through music and songs transmit the importance of sustainable development from generation to another in a delightful way. And with the help of technology, spreading sustainable development goals, can be easily done. “We are the world” (Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie) composed in 1985, still has its positive impact on listeners. Many famous interprets participate in this wonderful work to focus on its importance and the benefit of cooperating, listening to each other, interacting together to build a better world. Music and songs are “iconic signs” (Turino, p.6) used to endorse our belonging, identify, culture and confirm our social integration.
Lecturing learners about sustainable development, its importance, and its social, economic and financial benefit will lead them to listen and be focused for few minutes and then a complete disconnection; but with the presence of music and songs, they will be more attracted to the topic and will consciously and unconsciously memorize the value of it. Music and songs will add richness and involve a different attitude.
Music education can provide students with new skills and boost their talent which increase their productivity, involves them in sustainable development activities and train them to build a good community. Music also serves as an entertainment tool, creates cordial relationship among people, and tells them about socially accepted habits and behaviors. It can help reduce the level of poverty in any society by providing new working fields (as musician, singer, composer, writer, sound engineer, studio manager, costume creator …). 66.7% of students are interested in participating to a musical performance just to help achieve sustainable development goals. This can explain the importance of music education and its positive influence on children to participate and be active in protecting each other, conserving identity, culture, and nature.
Participating with others (musical band) is a particular feeling of being deeply bound to the people playing with. Performing in harmony all together give the feeling of oneness which affect, in an agreeable way, others. During this musical performance, musicians forget their gender difference, age, social status, personal distinctions, even their conflicts, they will be fully focused on the activity that emphasizes their sameness. For the musicians, being able to perform appropriately in the same style, respecting the rhythm and the harmony, is a sign of belonging and social identity because they are sharing the same habits. Adding to this, they include a variety of roles (musical, social …). Teaching students all these ideas through music (bounding, sameness, respect, coordination, communication, etc.) is preparing them to reach Humanity. “The human response to music is deep, primeval, and at least partly genetic: it is neither reducible to nor an epiphenomenon of anything, except the very nature of humanity itself” (Blacking, 1995, p.1).
Music affects the psychological/emotional behavior of every person. Songs related to sustainable development must be included in the music education cursus and should be spread frequently on TV, social media … Counting numbers, naming colors, etc. are very interested themes in education, but these days thinking about sustainable development is also primary and kids should be involved since their very young age, and consider it as a natural concern – as a habit to take care of nature, environment …
Importance of music education in promoting a social sustainable development
|“Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music” – Sergei Rachmaninoff|
Humanity is the center of education which, in turn, is focused on sustainable development by recognizing the socio-cultural dimension, its diversity, and particularity. As mentioned before, music education is one of the founding stone to construct the connection between humanity, sustainable development and society. Through music education, which is accessible to all, we can preserve values, ideologies, culture and identities, because “schooling helps to perpetuate existing ideologies, assimilate ideological challenges, and produce new ideologies in line with changing economic and social conditions” (Clayton, Herbert, Middleton, p.207). Marwan Khoury, the Lebanese writer and composer, with the collaboration of Carole Samaha, produced in 2015, a song about the Great East “الشرق العظيم” emphasizing that the Arab East is the cradle of civilization and an inexhaustible source of humanity. Hicham Al Sakari (writer), Seif Al Harithy (composer) and Naser Al Hajari (singer) produced in 2019, “We are the humanity of the human being” “نحن إنسانيّة الإنسان”; this song aims to accentuate on the importance of human being in building a better world. Ben Harper, with the song “With My Own Two Hands”, reminds us of the power that each of us has to change the world ourselves. The future is in our hands. And the list of songs continues. In every song, a powerful message concerning sustainable development, humanity, culture, identity … is transmitted to reach every person and touch us directly to our emotions. Video-clips add a significant visual impact on us that will affect immediately our behavior.
When a person, especially a child, is emotionally good, his productivity will increase. This will motivate him to be a good active citizen working to survive in a healthier world and willing to build a better future.
Music education connects people, environment, and society all together. It educates children to distinguish between their rights, their social roles and their duties. Music and songs are one of the best local, national and international link between all these. “Atouna al Toufoule” “اعطونا الطفولة” composed in 1984 by Rene Bandaly, translated to French and English “Give us a chance”, is one musical example expressing till this moment the children’s needs, their pain and problems. Responding to it, will be contributing in the achievement of sustainable development goals. We don’t need the highest degree to interact with music, no conditions are imposed to do so, no differences are obstacles blocking this; all we need is just feel the music and respond to it with all our senses.
David Rocco’s Dolce, Southeast Asia presents an important report on National Geographic People (July 3rd, 2021 at 3pm) about Asian people: he highlights the role of music as the key to heal Asian people from war pain. Music was the only key to re-birth the lost culture because of war; it helps survivors to believe in life and to continue living just by repeating songs and performing music. Music is a powerful agent for social change. Music education addresses multicultural issues for sustainability and development of society. Every experience with music is special and unique, because it is engaged with the world of sounds, harmony, and rhythm, including practice. A child, who manage to practice a musical instrument or to sing, will be able to master himself, concentrate, listen to himself and to others, appreciate himself and the surrounding, understand himself and later on understand others, enjoy music which encourages him to enjoy life. This is also another reason to include music education in school programs and let everyone benefit from its positive potential, no matter what the social situation is, or the difficulties facing the community. Music reaches its fullest potential through immersion into the emotional world which has the power to heighten, sustain, develop and improve human life.
These days, “a connected world is full of possibilities and filled with uncertainty” (British Council, 2018, p. 2) and social networking platforms are more participatory; this is why, it is highly recommended fundamental transformation in education to adjust its view of society, learning, citizenship, and environment. Education and especially music education, can help evolve toward a more viable long-term future, as long as educators, directors, parents, and everyone concerned in this field accept the change, think afresh about their own roles and responsibilities in preparing students for a better life. Also the easy online access and connectivity allow us to listen and enjoy a large number of songs related to this topic. “Keep Changing the World” composed by Mikeschair, is a song about empowerment, encouraging people to work to make the world a better place and to fight for the broken and the lonely. “Work”, “change”, “we”, “together”, “love”, “peace” … are words forming the fulcrum of these songs. Repeating them, from generation to another, means that they will be traced in our memory, unconsciously externalizing them, hence reproduce them in our daily life. This is a very delicate task for music education to select the best music and songs used in teaching and transmitting a positive constructive message (not to destroy or motivate for war).
Lonnie Park (2018), the co-creator of “My Earth Songs” (a set of 27 songs for Children based on the Sustainable Development Goals), mentioned that “music has the power to communicate and retain a positive message of sustainability”. This set of sustainable development songs aims to instruct the young through music. The 27 songs have simple lyrics, catchy tunes; they are fun, positive and easily memorized. This will affect positively every child and it will influence his behavior. Enjoying singing helps to spread the knowledge and the message all around the world. Songs we learn as children remain with us forever. The morals in these songs direct our choices and our lives, and therefore could positively touch our future. And the importance of music and songs in our life, is not only about emotions; “music is increasingly a relevant source of jobs and economic opportunities” (Berklee, 2017)
Based on all the advantages of music and songs, the study of music should be made compulsory at all levels in any educational system. “General music education systems must be reflective, and constantly alert for changes in society and culture, in order to serve the needs of active citizenship and ethical deliberation” (Herbert & Hauge, p.4). Music education is one field that support democratic ideas, education for sustainable development, ideologies, identities …, insist on the importance of critical thinking, finding solution to face the impact of globalization while respecting the individuality and the particularity of each person and each society. Music education has the potential to guide students while exploring and learning about life.
|“Without music, life would Bb” (be flat)|
“Imagine all the people living life in peace. Imagine all the people sharing all the world” (John Lennon). Imagination can be reality if we get the exact educational support system. Everything is possible with music, because “you can’t touch music, but it can sure touch you” (Mordecai). Music can influence people, modify their behavior and affect their life, because it can model their thoughts. Music is a part of the infrastructure of human life. Music, is not only a mirror reflecting who we are, it also helps reproduce cultural system and human capability. And the important task of music education is “to find out how people make sense of music in a variety of social situations and in different cultural contexts, and to distinguish between the innate human capabilities that individuals use in the process of making sense of music and the cultural conventions that guide their actions” (Blacking, p, 223). Therefore, music has important consequences on any social action. Let us benefit from this by educating children via music to the power of listening, the importance of cooperating, the need of social interacting, and the necessity of building a healthy environment. Music education teach young people to be good active citizens, concerned with the sustainable development improvement and achieving its goals. Transmitting culture, preserving identity, respecting differences can easily be learned through music education. In order to make music education accessible to all, it should be included in all formal educational system at all levels, as well as the informal one, creating training groups to pursue the musical knowledge and skills, allowing people to develop creativity and talent. Music education creates job opportunities and allows people to contribute to the economic advancement of the society.
At the end, let us sing all together “Heal the world. Make it a better place, for you and for me, and the entire human race” (Michael Jackson, 1992). Activating these words, working on achieving the real meaning of it, will guide us to build a better world and achieve all the sustainable development goals.
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-Assistant-professor at the Lebanese University – Faculty of Pedagogy, doctor in Social Sciences and musician.
 Development discourse refers to the process of articulating knowledge and power through which particular concepts, theories, and practices for social change are created and reproduced.