Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Cultural Perspectives of Associating Music with the Giftedness in Saudi Arabia

Academic journal article Canadian Social Science

Cultural Perspectives of Associating Music with the Giftedness in Saudi Arabia

Article excerpt

Abstract

In the literature, performing music is regarded as a manifestation of giftedness. However, the legitimacy of this activity has been the topic of much debate among Islamic scholars since performing music first began. This paper aims to explore whether Saudis' conceptions of music are shaped by interpretation of religious law and dogma or by Western understandings of giftedness. A total of 14 teachers and Mosque Imams participated in this study. The findings showed that, although most in the teachers group personally admitted that music is part of the giftedness domain, for religious reasons, everyone in the teachers and Mosque Imams' group did not appreciate performing music. However, the participants showed significant appreciation for songs (i.e., recitation/ lyrics) without musical instruments.

Key words: Giftedness; Religion (Islam); Traits; Gifted children; Saudis; Teacher; Music

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-USASCII text omitted.)

INTRODUCTION

It is widely agreed among Western researchers that exceptionality in performing music is regarded as a component of giftedness (e.g., Berglund, 2008; Chan, 2007; Clark, 1997; Hanna, 2007; Kitano «fe Kirby, 1986; Porter, 2005; Renzulli, 1978; Silverman & Baska, 1993; Van Tassel-Baska «fe Benbow, 1998). However, whether this agreement is ascribed to within some Muslim societies such as Saudi Arabia is not addressed in the field. It may not be widely known that performing music is prohibited in Islamic culture. The current study aims to explore how Saudi teachers and Mosque Imams (The male prayer leader in a mosque) regard exceptionality in performing music and whether they associate it with Saudi gifted children. Due the fact that religion and culture are inseparable, this goal cannot be achieved unless we understand in depth the perceptions of music in Islam. Therefore, an intensive review of old and contemporary Muslim religious scholars is included in this study. To achieve the goal of the current study, the author attempted to explore the following questions: a) How do teachers perceive performing music and singing? b) How do Mosque Imams perceive performing music and singing? c) What are the differences in the participants' personal views and their Islamic beliefs?

1. THE CONCEPT OF MUSIC IN THE LITERATURE

In the West, not only is musical performance regarded as a manifestation of giftedness, it is also regarded as an educational requirement (Dai & Schader, 2002). This interest has resulted in the establishment of a significant amount of research focusing on music. For example, a total of 346 research projects focusing on music were undertaken in Australia between 1977 and 2002 (Stevens «fe McPherson, 2004). In the United States, the interest in music as an area of educational research dates to the first part of the twentieth century. Additionally, approximately 15 musical education studies were found, as were two musical therapies focusing on music education in the United States (Price, 2004). In the United Kingdom, children are encouraged to listen to and perform music as part of national curricular requirements (Welch et al., 2004). The importance of this art form led many researchers to pay attention to music and whether music is an aspect of giftedness. An intensive review of the literature showed that it is rare to find a list of gifted children's characteristics that does not include exceptionality in music as an indication of giftedness (e.g., Clark, 1997; Porter, 2005; Renzuli, 1978; Silverman & Baska, 1993; Van Tassel-Baska «fe Benbow, 1998). In the federal definition of giftedness in the Unites States, Marland (1972) has included visual and performing arts domains as manifestations that should be considered when defining giftedness (cited in Brown et al., 2005). Renzulli (1978) argued against the view that limited giftedness to high IQ. He proposed other areas such as exceptionality in performing music and considered it a component of giftedness. …

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