Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Music Research Seminar: Albini Saragu

Albini Saragu seminar image

Developing a Multicultural Model of Children’s Music and Movement Activities

Lecture Theatre 1, School of Music


The speaker is Albini Saragu (University of Leeds)


In 1967, American music educators made eight declarations at the Tanglewood Symposium regarding the then status of music education in the United States of America. The second of the eight declarations states that “music of all periods, styles, forms and cultures belong(s) in the school curriculum”. Although this declaration was made to reflect the past and current challenges of music education in a multicultural context of America and the West, it is still relevant to address the current challenges in implementing multicultural musical traditions in Tanzania and elsewhere in Africa.

Traditional music and dance are recommended in school syllabi in many African countries but there are challenges on how the diverse musical traditions with varied bodily movements and dancing styles from more than 120 ethnic groups in Tanzania, for example, can be used in children’s music and movement activities. In addition, the fact that singing and bodily movements cannot be detached from each other in African traditional music and other musical traditions suggests that children need to develop ability in both singing and the associated bodily movements. Literature on musical development and ability has paid little attention to bodily movement as an area in which children should also develop ability, as identified in the theory of multiple intelligences where ‘music’ and ‘bodily kinaesthetic’ are treated as two distinct intelligence areas.

This paper presents a multicultural model of children’s music and movement activities based on observed musical traditions and children’s music. The research brings together various bodily movements and dancing styles from different ethnic groups in Tanzania and similar examples elsewhere in Africa and beyond to develop a multicultural model of children’s music and movement activities. Videos of recorded musical traditions from different ethnic groups in Tanzania were obtained from the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) and other sources. Bodily movements and dancing styles involved during the performance of sample musical traditions were grouped into specific body parts which are engaged and scrutinized to develop a whole child multicultural model of children’s music and movement activities.

Through this model, children will be engaged cognitively, physically, emotionally and socially as they sing and move to diverse dancing and bodily movement styles which focus on specific body parts. Implications for music education and children’s musical development and learning will be discussed.

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