Music education in the years of the refugee crisis: the role and skills of the music educator

Λυδία Λινάρδου

Προφορική Ανακοίνωση

Session Η μουσική στην κοινότητα ( Saturday, 16-Apr-22 10:30:00 EEST )


In recent years, the Greek reality has been affected by the phenomenon of the refugee crisis. Undoubtedly, like any socio-political change, the impact on the daily lives and mental health of refugees has been overwhelming. In this context, engaging in musical activities has been shown to contribute to improving the well-being and socialization process of refugees in host countries (Millar & Warwick, 2018). Even though music educators play a crucial role in this educational process, there is very limited literature about their role.

Music teaching to refugees is not a conventional music lesson (Jin, 2016). Some of the characteristics that differentiate a conventional music lesson from a music lesson with refugees are group teaching, differentiation of students in terms of age and knowledge, the ability to communicate verbally, and the continuous changes in the composition (Biffio, 2018). Consequently, it emerges that a music educator is a form of the early communication channel of refugees with the new society. However, it remains to be determined the type and quality of knowledge and skills that music educators must be possessed (Broeske-Danielsen, 2013). During the years 2020-2021, the researcher, with the role of music educator in a refugee camp in the Netherlands, carried out qualitative research with the main aim of highlighting these issues.

Research question: "What special skills and knowledge a music educator needs to facilitate music lessons with socially vulnerable groups, such as refugees?"

Methodology: In this context, semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with ten music educators, who had at least six months of experience in refugee camps in Greece or abroad. The interviewees came from multiple music pedagogical backgrounds. The interviews were conducted online, transcribed, and then a thematic analysis according to the model of Braun & Clarke (2013), and an open, axial, and selective coding were followed.

Conclusions: First of all, engaging with people from different socio-cultural backgrounds is not in line with the conventional educational process (Jin, 2016). From a technical and cognitive point of view, in addition to thorough knowledge and technical training in at least one musical instrument, the music educator must have improvisational skills, both in terms of those musical instruments and in terms of the educational process itself. Special educational musical games and activities, songs, accompaniment of music pieces, and the possibility of arranging the musical pieces to meet the individual and group needs of the students are deemed necessary. Then, from a social and psychological point of view, the music teacher is called to possess empathy and awareness of his social role; he is required to bring the ability to reconcile students of different levels, without a common language of communication in group lessons (Biffio, 2018). A necessary condition throughout the process is the elimination of prejudices and the equal treatment of students concerning the various psychological fluctuations and behavioral issues that the latter may face in the learning environment. Finally, from a cultural point of view, the knowledge of different customs and traditions proves to be useful, as well as the understanding of the different national and cultural peculiarities (Broeske-Danielsen, B. A., 2013).

Researcher Proposal: As we go through a multicultural era, the new generation of music educators needs to acquire focused skills and knowledge to be able to meet these new teaching challenges.

  • Εκπαίδευση εκπαιδευτικών
Keywords vulnerable groups, refugees, music education, music educator
Language Ελληνική
Author(s) CV

Lydia Linardou is a greek pianist and music educator. She is specialized in teaching music to vulnerable and marginalized communities such as refugees. She has participated as a music teacher in specially designed projects for refugees in Greece and the Netherlands. At present, she is teaching music at the Palladium Primary School of Athens and she is a piano professor at Protipo Conservatorium of Eastern Attiki and Cultural Center of Elefsis. She has completed her bachelor's degree in the Music Department of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and she has owned a master's degree in Music Education from Maastricht Conservatorium in the Netherlands. In 2018, she accomplished with honors her piano studies by obtaining Piano Diploma from Athenaeum Conservatorium in Greece.