Ugly music: Lessons in learning to listen respectfully

Margaret Emily Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Listening to music from a variety of national, ethnic, and historical traditions may help adolescents develop respect for individual differences, particularly when they are challenged to confront music that has little immediate musical appeal for them. This article outlines strategies for two sample listening lessons, using Serbo-Croatian gusle epics as an example of seemingly “ugly” music. Information about the gusle tradition is given, along with suggested resources for teaching these lessons. One lesson helps students evaluate music using descriptive rather than judgmental words, whereas the other promotes discussion of music’s cultural and personal meanings by comparing and contrasting very familiar and very unfamiliar music. In addition, suggestions are provided for legally downloading Internet videos for classroom use.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-13
Number of pages5
JournalGeneral Music Today
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011


  • Listening
  • describing
  • World Music
  • culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music
  • Education


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