Theses Doctoral

The Educative Impact of Music Study Abroad

Antonelli, Daniel

This study explored the educative impact of a music study abroad program, specifically, what role music plays in encounters between students from diverse cultural backgrounds, and how such programs can help shape the identity of a global citizen and lead to a more socially just global community. If programmatic efforts can be impactful, preparing young people for life in a more interdependent, complex, and fragile world, then how can such values be informed, fostered, and even stimulated by engaging in international music travel? How is “difference” experienced and rendered meaningful? This qualitative case study followed U.S. music and music education students on a trip to Malaysia where they collaborated with Malaysian peers in bamboo instrument-making as well as music-making in traditional Malay styles. Perspectives, commentary, and reflections of and by all participants were recorded and investigated. Pre-trip interviews were conducted two months prior to embarking on the international trip. During the program abroad over the course of three weeks, I interviewed four U.S. music students, five Malaysian music education students, and both a U.S. and Malay music professor. Additionally, a focus group was conducted with the Malay student-participants.

This study posited two primary benefits to studying music abroad and then analyzed data that would illuminate to what degree these benefits were achieved. The first of these benefits is the well-known enhancement in broader experience and new knowledge that will inform students’ practice and musical life going forward. The second class of benefits has to do with building agency as global citizens, along with an appreciation of the entailed challenges. The interaction between visitors and residents, between students and a diverse cohort of educators, all begin to construct a sense of interconnectedness that goes far beyond the accumulation of musical knowledge. The findings substantiated the initial hypotheses and created new avenues of inquiry as well. One finding that went beyond the original scope of the study was that in reflecting on their experiences, participants began to build on a sense of global citizenship and a broadened civic consciousness. This in turn leads to investigations into the broader definition of education itself.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Allsup, Randall Everett
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
February 22, 2021