A voice for the voiceless: lessons from a Hmong community's approach to music and self-expression
Vu, Kinh T.
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Citation (published version)K Vu. 2016. "A Voice for the Voiceless: Lessons from a Hmong Community's Approach to Music and Self-Expression." Massachusetts Music Educators Journal, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp. 43 - 45.
Since the turn of the century, the world has witnessed a rise in violence promulgated on American soil. From terrorism to bullying, citizens across the United States are left wondering, "What’s next or what can I do about it?" I imagine that I am not alone in feeling powerlessness, out of control, and sometimes apathetic about the constant newsfeed heralding bad news both at home and abroad. With this kind ofuncertainty, it is no surprise that our students might feel just as overwhelmed and confused as we teachers. What, then, can music educators do to be a voice for and with students and how will their songs be a voice for those who will not or cannot sing songs of their own? This essay is an account of how I connect what I learned in a Hmong community of rappers and poets to music education, what critical pedagogy might mean for music educators, and how teachers can employ "voice for the voiceless" strategies with their ensemble or general music students.