An Interdisciplinary Approach in the Teaching of African Musical Arts in Botswana

African musical arts are by its nature inherently integrated; therefore an integrated approach to involve a varietyof disciplines within educational settings may provide holistic experiences for learners.

Taking root from a body of literature reviewed for a recent study on the exploration of the structural, stylistic and textual elements of San indigenous songs for inclusion in Botswana music curricula, this paper examines the relevance of an interdisciplinary approach from the musical arts education perspective as a foundation for the teaching of Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) subjects in the Botswana curricula.

Qualitative methods enabled purposive sampling of lecturers responsible for the six CAPA subjects – music; physical education; design and technology; art and craft; and visual art – at four tertiary institutions offering diplomas in primary and secondary education.

During focus group and semi-structured interviews, a sample of indigenous songs of the San were played on DVD, and participants were actively involved in identifying expressive qualities and characteristic elements of the songs in order to relate those qualities to their specific disciplines.

When areas of commonalities were recognised, participants engaged in synthesising the connections to come up with a composite whole of newly established ideas. This study encapsulates Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) as a relevant theory which supports the teaching of indigenous African musical arts in an interdisciplinary fashion.

Through IKS, teachers and learners may come to a better understanding of the cultural values which are shared through participation in African musical arts. Furthermore, this study embraces IKS as a related theory in interdisciplinary musical arts education since IKS supports deep learning, inclusivity as well as holistic responses to the needs of the learner from a cultural perspective.

Fanah RABATOKO, Botswana.



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