A Cross-Cultural Music Education Partnership in an Undergraduate Music Methods Course


Project Director

Lisa Huisman Koops

Assistant Professor of Music Education


Domestic Collaborator

Ms. Zheng TANG

Graduate Student Assistant in Music Education at CWRU, alum of Shenyang Conservatory

International Collaborator

Professor Bing-yi Chen

Director of Music Education, Shenyang Conservatory, Shenyang, China



This project facilitated the development of relationships between students and faculty at Shenyang Conservatory (SC) and CWRU. Professor Bing-yi Chen, director of music education at Shenyang Conservatory, was in residence at CWRU for one week in Fall 2008, during which time he gave a public lecture, toured local schools, attended classes at the university and gave a pre-recital lecture on traditional Chinese folk music. Upon his return to Shenyang, Professor Chen organized students to serve as collaborators with CWRU students enrolled in “World Music in Education” (MUED 305). The goal was for all participants to learn from one another about music education and how people teach and learn music of other cultures. Outcomes of this project included experiential cross-cultural learning for CWRU and SC music education students and potential cross-cultural music education experiences for the music educators’ future students.

During the semester, students at each institution engaged in assignments and activities designed to foster the development of mutually beneficial professional relationships and cross-cultural sharing of music and educational information.



Pre-, mid- and post-collaboration surveys of the seven CWRU students involved in the initial partnership indicated an increase in their interest in cross-cultural music education, their ability to deliver cross-cultural music education and their valuing of cross-cultural music education over the course of the semester. Students team-taught a lesson to children in a Cleveland Heights elementary school based on their learning from the semester.

Perhaps the most powerful outcome for both students and scholars was the opportunity to interact with music educators from another culture. The partnership also allowed CWRU faculty to model cross-cultural music education and discuss how to teach world music in public schools in the United States.

Language was a barrier at times, and so were file sharing format incompatibilities. Scheduling meetings across a 12-hour time difference was also a challenge.

MUED 305 continues to be taught every Spring semester, continuing the partnership in much the same form while fine-tuning the joint assignments.



Total funding: $8,000

The grant allowed Professor Chen to travel to the U.S. and meet with the course participants. The grant also funded the purchase of video and telecommunication equipment (video camera, audio recorder, microphone, etc.) that Professor Chen carried back to China. Funds also purchased equipment for future Music Education department use.


Lisa Huisman Koops

Lisa Huisman Koops

Assistant Professor of Music Education
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