Youth Leadership and Empowerment in the Music Classroom: Models of Student Leadership in Acosta, Costa Rica; Mountain View, California; and Queens, New York.

Johanna Smith Nilsson


This study examines the ways in which music education programs in the United States and Costa Rica can integrate youth leadership and teamwork training into their curriculum, through appointed section leaders, partner teaching, peer mentoring, mixed seating, and leadership classes. By showing the success that music programs in rural Costa Rica, suburban California, and urban New York have achieved in increasing students’ perceived leadership and collaborative skills, the author suggests that music education can serve this function in many diverse communities. The key to these programs is the emphasis that their leaders place on using music as a vehicle to empower students to join the movement in Music Education for Social Change.


Music education, Youth development, Youth leadership

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