Musical Childhoods and the Cultures of Youth

Author / Artist: 
Publication Date: 
June, 2006

Musical Childhoods and the Cultures of Youth, edited by Susan Boynton and Roe-Min Kok, is an immensely rich contribution to childhood studies and shows how children are socialized into the musical life of their communities. Children have rarely been central to musicological or anthropological studies, and childhood was once dismissed as too early in the human developmental process to be of significant interest. In a variety of historical, social, and cultural frameworks, these 10 essays address subjects as diverse as choirboys in early modern Seville, the griot culture of West Africa, and Jewish youth at summer camp. The essays reveal childhood as a time all its own, a time when individual identities are forged through music, and when voices emerge in ways that are as personal as they are communally bound and musically varied. This is an important book for music scholars, educators, cultural and social historians, and for scholars across the social sciences, as well as anyone interested in childhood. It sheds new light on children and youth cultures as alternately dependent upon and independent from the “grown-up” musical worlds that surround them.