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Primarily for courses in American music, popular music, or rock music; and also appropriate for courses in ethnic studies. Through a blended historical, ethnic, and musical approach, with a strong contemporary focus and the inclusion of a wide variety of musical styles from American society's broad ethnic groups, this text meets the needs of the new generation of faculty and students by more accurately reflecting the diverse musical traditions of the United States. Elizabeth Barkley wrote this book to meet the needs of today's more diverse student population. Returning to the classroom after nine years as an academic Dean, she was aware of the student demographic changes, but unprepared for the pedagogical implications of those changes. As she struggled to engage her students in a traditional music survey course, they looked bored and apathetic and it was then that she knew she had to find a better way. As a result, she created a new course called The Musics of Multicultural America, based on her analysis that an important characteristic that seemed to unify her students was "Americanness." Working with UC Berkeley's Center for the Study of American Cultures, she developed a course that traced a variety of contemporary musics such as rock 'n' roll, salsa, gospel, blues, jazz, Cajun, zydeco, and Tejano from their roots in the music traditions of immigrant groups to their hybridization and development into uniquely new American musics. Soon her classes were filled with enthusiastic students who had enrolled on the recommendation of former students, friends and counselors. The traditional survey course had averaged anywhere from 40 to 60 students per year; in 2005-06, the capped annual enrollment was at 1,250. This textbook is the result of her work developing materials for that course.
Elizabeth Barkley holds a BA and MA from the University of California at Riverside and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. She has worked at Foothill College since 1977, including nine years as Dean of Fine Arts and Communications. As a faculty member at Foothill she has taught piano, music history and literature, and music theory and composition. Her books include Collaborative Learning Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty (co-authored with K. Patricia Cross and Claire Howell Major, Jossey-Bass, 2004), the earlier edition of Crossroads: Popular Music in America (Prentice Hall, 2003), and a three-volume series, Great Composers and Music Masterpieces of Western Civilization (co-authored with Robert Hartwell, Pearson Custom Publishing, 2001 and 2002).
She has been the recipient of several honors, including the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s California's Higher Education Professor of the Year, the Chair Academy’s Outstanding Leadership Award for work with Learning Outcomes Assessment, Innovator of the Year in conjunction with the National League for Innovation, the Gerald Hayward Award for Educational Excellence, the Center for Diversity in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education’s Faculty Award, the Foothill College President's Special Achievement Award, and the California Community College League’s Out-of-the-Box Thinker Award. She has also served as a Leadership Fellow through the American Council on Education and has been named a Carnegie Scholar in the discipline of music by the Pew Charitable Trusts in conjunction with the Carnegie Foundation. Additionally, the California Virtual Campus selected her course Music of Multicultural America as the Best Online Course.
This lively and accessible book explores the musical traditions of five broad groups - Native Americans, European Americans, African Americans, Latino Americans, and Asian Americans - with particular interest in how those multicultural roots have intermingled to create contemporary American music. Along the way, author Elizabeth Barkley achieves a near impossible feat: presenting concise and candid histories of each cultural group, in addition to equally concise and clear explanations of the stylistic elements of their music. These elements are reinforced by the companion CD, which provides 18 listening examples with commentary. My only criticism is the book suffers from inattentive editing. For example, the first citation in Chapter One is â¿¿Ibid.â¿ Several photo captions apparently include layout notations not intended for readers' eyes, sometimes to a mildly humorous effect. The content deserves better. Though designed for college students with no prior musical training, this book will be invaluable to high school and college music teachers wanting to infuse more diversity into their coursework, or for social studies teachers wanting to infuse more popular culture. I would also recommend it to those specifically interested in African American music since - not surprisingly - about half the chapters touch on it in one way or another. Highly recommended!
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