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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is two-fold: first, to examine the impact of historical socio-political events on music education, particularly post 9/11 with the intent of establishing a context for social justice issues; and second, how we might examine the broad implications to further music education research focusing on social justice. Issues of social justice are inextricably woven into the fabric of post-9/11 U.S. education, as evidenced through reform efforts aimed at job-related skill sets, standardized testing, national standards, and economic gridlock resulting in the diminished access or elimination of the arts in the public schools, including music. Traditionally music educators have attempted to remain politically neutral in an attempt to prevent marginalization, yet music education has played a significant role in enforcing cultural identities, validating specific Western musics, and maintaining exclusionary and unequal power relationships. An examination of the historical and sociopolitical context of current music education in light of 9/11 and educational reforms considers how research can move to support issues of social justice. Current research is synthesized to present future research areas of concern for American music education, including broad emergent themes of preparing democratic spaces, teacher education and social justice goals, and the musical voices of students.

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