The use of indigenous Kenyan children's songs for the development of a primary school music curriculum for Kenya
Music education in Kenya has been characterised by the teaching of Western musical literacy and a curriculum content with a Western classical bias. To date, few students graduate with sufficient music making skills, and even less pursue training at higher levels. The research aimed to formulate a learning programme that would make music education successful for Kenyans, through a curriculum content and pedagogy that would promote Kenya's cultural heritage while ensuring pupils' development of musical knowledge and skills. Firstly, an analytical survey of past and current music teaching practices in Kenya revealed the deficiencies in the music education programmes. Secondly, a critique of the Kodaly, Curwen, Eurythmics, Orff and Music in the National Curriculum (England) programmes identified the elements that contribute to their success. These were evaluated for their suitability to Kenya's educational environment. Field trials with Kenyan pupils used musical elements derived from indigenous Kenyan children's songs to teach musical concepts and skills. The collection of indigenous Kenyan children's songs involved recording live children's performances and iterviews with adults. Transcribing the songs using staff notation facilitated a rhythmic and melodic analysis, while a study of the texts gave insight into the songs' cultural functions. The musical elements characteristic of these songs were used to design the Rhythm-Interval Approach (RIA), a music teaching programme focusing on the use of rhythm and interval to teach musical concepts and skills. The study resulted in the postulation of the elemental theory of music; aesthetic functionalism as a culture-sensitive view of African music; the Rhythm-Interval curriculum model; and a primary school music curriculum based on indigenous Kenyan children's songs.