MUSIC EDUCATION AS A TOOL FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) in its National Policy on Education (NPE 1981) has included music as one of the core subjects in the school curriculum. This policy was devised to cultivate and develop an interest among primary school pupils in the cultural arts embedded in performance experiences such as music, dance and drama practices. Oehrle and Emeka (2003:38-51) note that “music is among the most common and most widely available in cultural expressions in Africa”. From time immemorial, various types of cultural heritage were passed on to the next generation through informal educational methods. One of this is music. In the Pre-Independence years, music education had remained largely informal in Nigeria, it was transmitted through the various traditional media such as traditional festivals, work songs, moonlight plays, lullabies and children nursery rhymes, court music, apprenticeship under a well-known traditional musicians and others (Andrew 2004). With the advent of western education, which came through the Christian missionaries in collaboration with the British colonial government, in the early part of twentieth century, the curriculum of the missionaries was geared towards literary education as they focused on the arts including, music, drama, and poetry among others, in their efforts to evangelize to the “natives”. In this way the awareness for formal music education was raised through the inclusion of music in the school curriculum.
The media houses also helped to raise the importance of music education through various talks on the theory and historical values of music education. With the awareness brought about by western education, Nigeria has been able to produce well-known music scholars like, Professor Fela Sowande, Ayo Bankole, Lazarus Ekwueme, Akin Euba, and Akpabot Sam, to mention but few.
The major questions that are asked in this paper are: (a) What are the roles of music education in the society? (b) Is the stigmatization of traditional musicians as beggars and people of lower status still prevalent today? (c) Why are pupils usually discouraged by their parents from choosing music as a career? (d) What are the major problems confronting music as a subject in the Nigerian educational system
The above questions and other issues are germane to this study. In collecting data for the study, ethnographic and quantitative and qualitative methods were employed using simple percentages as basis for analyzing qualitative collected data in a quantitative presentation.
In fact, Meki Nzewi puts it more succinctly when he wrote:
In the African sense, learning is an interactive performance experience, while performance is never-ending learning experience. Knowledge acquisition in the musical arts is then qualitatively regenerative and quantitatively limitless for life (Nzewi 2003:14).
In its support for the development of music education in Nigeria, The National Policy on Education document (1981:13) highlights the following:
In order to encourage aesthetic, creative and musical activities, Government will make staff and facilities available for the teaching of creative arts and crafts and music in primary schools.
Primary education as referred to in the document is education given in an institution for children normally between the ages of 6 to ± 11 years old. Since the primary school is the foundation on which the rest of the educational system is built upon, the primary level is the key to the success or failure of the whole system.
This being the case, the general objectives of primary education as noted by the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the new National Policy on Education (1998:13) emphasized the following:
- Inculcate permanent literacy and numeracy, and ability to communicate effectively;
- lay a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking;
- Give citizenship education as a basis for effective participation in and contribution to the life of the society;
- Mould the character and develop sound attitude and morals in the child;
- Develop in the child the ability to adapt to his changing environment;
- Give the child opportunities for developing manipulative skills that will enable him to function effectively in the society within the limits of his capacity; and
- provide the child with basic tools for further educational advancement, including preparation for trades and crafts of the locality.
Although these laudable objectives are highlighted as the basis for primary school education, they are nonetheless not often implemented in the primary school classroom. A practical example is that the Government had proposed to make primary education free and universal by introducing the Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme in September 1976. As it stands today however, free education is no longer an option in Nigerian primary schools.
It recognises the value of the arts by incorporating music, drama (including dance) and art as a single subject, as well as Cultural Art. The purpose of this curriculum is to aid children to develop their cultural arts embedded in performance experiences such as music, dance/drama and fine arts. The committee apparently had good intentions but actual practices in the schools appear largely neglected.
Greenberg (1979:3-10) opines that music contributes in no small way to the development of the child. This can only be achieved through effective music teaching and learning, adopting the use of audio-visual learning aids and practical.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
As already pointed out, despite the laudable proclamations of principles in the National Policy on Education (1981 & 1998), there is still a general apathy towards music education in Nigerian schools. the major problems facing the study of music in Nigerian secondary schools and tertiary institutions and the perceptions of the society about Music as school courses. In the quest to find out and solve problems bedeviling the educational sector, a total number of 104 students of the University of Lagos, Lagos State University, and Musical Society of Nigeria, Music School offering music as a course were given a questionnaire and participated in the study. This consisted of 45 females and 59 males with ages ranging from 16-24 years. The questionnaire was designed to cater for two categories of students of the aforementioned institutions:
- Those transiting from secondary to higher institutions and are in their first year, and
- Those in the middle and final years. Those in the first category (A) were asked questions such as:
- Why they choose music as a career?
- Whether they encountered any objections from their parents for choosing music?
- Did they choose music as the last resort after failure to make entry requirements for other courses?
- Whether they did music in their secondary schools;
- What was their musical background; whether they sang in the church choir, came from a family of musicians, participated in any form of communal musical activities, etc.
- What was their role model in music?
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to look into the music education in Nigeria as a tool for social development and also to find out problems students had in convincing their parents about their choice of music as a career in order properly enlightened the parents about the usefulness of music education and should allow gifted pupils to pursue a career in music.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The importance of music education to the Nigerian societies cannot be adequately discussed without looking at the philosophical and sociological premise of music as an art and its relevance and implications to the society. According to Plato in his book The Republic, speaking of the Old Athenian education about 450 B.C. He said:
Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other because rhythm and harmony find their way into the secret places of the soul, on which they might fasten imparting grace and making the soul graceful of him who is rightly educated.
While Reimer (1970) opined that:
Until music education understands what it really has to offer, until it is convinced of the facts that it is necessary rather than a peripheral part of human culture, until it “feels in its bones” that its value is a fundamental one it will not have attained the peace of mind which is the mark of maturity. The quotations above emphasized the importance of music as an integral and indispensable part of ancient civilizations and contemporary societies. What then is the place of music and musicians in traditional African society?
- To what extent does music education contributes to social development in Nigeria
- What are the problems of music education to social development in Nigeria
- Is there any significant difference between music education and social interaction of various ethnic group in Nigeria?
- Is there any significant importance in music education to social development in Nigeria?
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following hypotheses will form the basis for this study
There is no significant relationship between music education and social development of Nigeria:
- There is no significant relationship between problems facing music education and social development of Nigeria
- There is no significant relationship between music education and social interaction of various ethnic group in Nigeria?
- There is no significant relationship between important of music education and social development in Nigeria?
- There is no significant relationship between importance in music education to social development in Nigeria?
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Every survey must be carried out in a particular area from which generalization should be made. The researcher is residing in Lagos State, and because of financial constraints and other logistic problems, decided to use Lagos State as the area of study from which inference can be made to the entire nation.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study focus mainly on reasons music education contributes to social development of Nigeria. This study is therefore, delimited to the pupils in primary schools in Lagos State of Nigeria.
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