Fostering Acculturation by Embracing Music: A Case Study of Refugee Youth


  • Nicole Lise Rosen The Ingenuity Project Baltimore Polytechnic Institute
  • Nicole A Shoenberger Loyola University Maryland



music, refugees, acculturation, education, school culture, youth


Refugee children face a myriad of obstacles on their path towards acculturation. Often, they face role reversals, instability, loss of identity, communication and language barriers, discrimination, and socio-emotional issues. Studies have shown that music can be beneficial in aiding the acculturation process. Specifically, music may provide an opportunity for refugees to participate is a new culture while also creating a bridge to their country of origin. This study examined a Northeast University sponsored music series that provided a platform for performances at both the University and at a local grade school (K-8th) that was comprised of a high refugee population. Qualitative data were collected from students and teachers, as well as observation from performances. Key findings shed light on how the school’s participation in the music series exposed students to familiar and different cultures, offered socio-emotional benefits, and enhanced a school wide culture of music appreciation.


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