A historical review of the evolution of music education in Nigeria until the end of the twentieth century

Published in: Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa
Volume 15, issue 1-2, 2018 , pages: 1–18
DOI: 10.2989/18121004.2018.1558954
Author(s): Adebowale Oluranti AdeogunDepartment of Music, Nigeria


The pluralistic nature of contemporary Nigerian music culture mirrors its deep historical roots, revealing how Nigerians have lived, acted and interacted with people encountered from other parts of the world. By considering music education as a dynamic process whereby musical beliefs and practices change through time, this article draws on oral traditions, ‘verbal accounts of music-making [as] found in anthropological and historical documents’ (Agawu 1992:247). It explores the ways in which indigenous African music education systems in Nigeria have accommodated two exogenous systems, namely Islamic and Euro-American. It also briefly investigates Nigeria’s national policy on education, cultural policy and the national music curricula. Findings indicate a continued promotion of Western classical music ideals in music instruction, generating a series of very uncomfortable anomalies in relation to Nigerian contexts. This article finally calls for the development of a Nigerian music education system that is collaborative in nature and grounded in Nigerian needs and an understanding of Nigerian educational problems.

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