Safeguarding Musical Traditions and Cultural Heritage: The Utilisation of Community Music Making as a Recourse for Cultural and Social Sustainability

By Rohan Nethsinghe.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

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Australia is a country of migrants and many cultures. From the Second World War to 2006–07, more than 6.6 million people from around 200 countries have settled in Australia. Amongst these migrants are Sri Lankan/Australians, the majority whom have settled in Victoria. A qualitative phenomenological case study was conducted in 2009 to explore “how Sri Lankan/Australian students use music for construction of their self identity in multicultural Australia.” Participants of this research study are Australian/Victorian school students coming from a Sri Lankan background. Semi-structured interviews were used to gather data that were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Benefits of community music making for school students was one of the major themes that emerged from this study. These students recognised the importance of community music making, recalling participation in Sri Lankan community arts performances and cultural events in Australia. This case study identified the importance of community involvement through music education in the process of sustaining their musical traditions and cultural heritage for Sri Lankan-Australian students, thus community music making and activities can be considered a vital resource for cultural, social and educational sustainability.

Keywords: Cultural Sustainability, Diversity, Multicultural Music, Community Music Making, Music Education, Musical Traditions

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.29-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 234.082KB).

Dr. Rohan Nethsinghe

Ph.D. Candidate, Faculty of Education, Clayton Campus, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Rohan Nethsinghe is an experienced specialist music teacher, a community musician (an artist-in-residence) and a doctoral student of the Faculty of Education at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Multicultural music education and authenticity in multicultural music education including authentic transmission and pedagogical practices are his research interests. Rohan commenced his tertiary studies in Ukraine, completing a Bachelor’s degree followed by a Master’s degree in Music at the Donetsk State Conservatory.