‘Voice’ is at the heart of communication. In primary school classrooms, children’s songs serve as conduits of spiritual and cultural values and beliefs, particularly evident in the context of waiata (M?ori song). Teachers are “cultural gatekeepers” and the selection of songs that foster values of a “just and tolerant society” provides opportunities for children to communicate powerful messages in non-confrontational contexts (Grigg, 2014, pp. 12-13). However, meaning voiced through song lyrics may be overlooked, as children naturally respond to dominant music elements embedded in song, particularly rhythm and pitch. Song goes far beyond the music itself. Songs are narratives, with the bonus of a dynamic music context to foster engagement and to embody both subliminal and overt messages, involving ‘little people singing about big things.’

Published in: World Congress on Education (WCE-2018)

  • Date of Conference: 15-18 July 2018
  • DOI: 10.2053/WCE.2018.0068
  • ISBN: 978-1-908320-91-9
  • Conference Location: Dublin, Ireland