Chapter 14 Learning Musical Instruments in Japanese Schools

In: Handbook of Japanese Music in the Modern Era
David G. Hebert
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Kōji Matsunobu
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In order to explain the current state of musical instrument learning in Japanese schools, this chapter begins with a succinct historical overview of policies and practices connected to the use of common classroom instruments. Next we proceed to a discussion of kurabu katsudō or after-school club activities, such as wind bands and jazz bands as well as hōgaku (or sōkyoku) clubs featuring koto and other Japanese traditional instruments, and finally, we address the role of music in school festivals. We describe how westernization became pervasive, but since the start of the twenty-first century, a policy change supporting the promotion of Japanese instruments has impacted both formal education and extra-curricular activities, leading schools to further develop their role in constructing new musical traditions in Japanese society.

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