Building a future through joint early childhood music classes in a conflict-affected city
The aim of this exploratory study is to understand the experience of several Palestinian and Jewish parents participating in a culturally mixed group early childhood music class held in a conflict affected city. Collective music-making is a powerful way of connecting and socializing people, regardless of their shared background, and getting to know each other through music, has the potential of reducing stereotypes, which is especially needed in a conflict affected area.
The data included records of the classes (videos and a field-diary), parents' sharing of audio and video recordings of musical episodes at home, through the music class Whatsapp group, and semi- structured interviews with three parents. The data was analyzed inductively, through open coding, emerging three themes: why music and music classes? the music class experience and music at home. These themes reflect the grounds to participate in the program and the contexts where the children and their parents experience music. A fourth theme presents one family musical life two years later. Findings show that the families who chose to participate in this program hold positive attitudes towards the other and reported no prejudice whatsoever of their children. The toddlers who participated in the classes have all the potential of not developing negative stereotypes towards the other (Arab or Jewish), since their families do not expose them to such stereotypes, nevertheless they are members of societies (East and West Jerusalem) holding systemic ethnic biases, and therefore the joint music classes may strengthen positive attitudes.