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Running Head: Bridging Multicultural Communities

EASTERN UNIVERSITY

BRIDGING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES


THROUGH MUSICKING

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements


for the degree of
Master of Arts in Urban Studies: Community Arts
By
Caitlin Leffingwell

Hartford, Connecticut
2016

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

BRIDGING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES THROUGH


MUSICKING
By
Caitlin Leffingwell

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the


degree of
Master of Arts in Urban Studies: Community Arts

Eastern University

2016

Approved by Dr. J. Nathan Corbitt, Graduate Thesis Advisor


Date: April 20, 2016
Concentration Advisor: Dr. J. Nathan Corbitt
Research Mentor: Dr. Vivian Nix-Early, Adjunct Professor at Eastern University
and Co-Founder of BuildaBridge International
Eastern University Institutional Review Board Approval: February 1, 2016

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ABSTRACT
Although Social Capital Theory compellingly advocates the correlation between trusting
relationships and quality of life, social disconnect continues to plague societyparticularly
between communities from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. This lack of
bridging capital especially leaves underserved communities at higher risk for negative life
outcomes. However, literature regarding Social Identity Theory and Intergroup Contact Theory
alludes not only to reasons behind such separation, but also a potential solution in the form of a
third culture that transcendsand therefore bridgeseven the most diverse groups. To better
understand what role music can play in forming this third culture bridge, this project studied how
musicking impacted trust (a key element of social capital) between students from two very
diverse communities as they learned and performed music together. The resulting data not only
determined some integral components for effective cross-cultural music programming, but also
found that participants from lower income communities may be the first to experience increased
trust in the process of performing music. Particularly when combined with future research, these
findings will help both researchers and practitioners improve and understand the process of
developing third culture bridges through musicking.

Keywords: Social capital, trust, social identity, intergroup contact, musicking,


relationships, performance, arts, third culture, bonding, bridging, cross-cultural, and
socioeconomic status

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section

Page

Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................... iv


List of Figures ..................................................................................................................................v
Acknowledgments.......................................................................................................................... vi
Glossary ........................................................................................................................................ vii
Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION..........................................................................................................1
Chapter 2: LITERATURE REVIEW...............................................................................................5
Chapter 3: METHODOLOGY .......................................................................................................21
Chapter 4: FINDINGS ...................................................................................................................35
Question 1 ..........................................................................................................................35
Question 2 ..........................................................................................................................42
Question 3 ..........................................................................................................................42
Chapter 5: CONCLUSIONS ..........................................................................................................49
References ......................................................................................................................................57
Appendix A: Research Study Parent Consent Form ......................................................................64
Appendix B: Trust Assessment ......................................................................................................68
Appendix C: Trust Game ...............................................................................................................69
Appendix D: Penpal Letters ...........................................................................................................70
Appendix E: Demographics Survey...............................................................................................71
Appendix F: Scavenger Hunt Activity...........................................................................................72
Appendix G: Data Analysis ...........................................................................................................73

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LIST OF FIGURES
Number

Title

Page

Figure 1. Third Culture Bridge between Disconnected Communities ...........................................12


Figure 1.1. Model for Developing Third Culture Bridges through Musicking ..............................20
Figure 2. Median Household Income in Connecticut ...................................................................25
Figure 3. Community Disparities ...................................................................................................26
Figure 4. School Socioeconomic Comparison ...............................................................................27
Figure 5. School Demographic Comparison .................................................................................27
Figure 6.1. Participant Demographics by School ..........................................................................29
Figure 6.2 Participant Demographics by Group ...........................................................................31
Figure 7. Project Timeline .............................................................................................................33
Figure 8. Project Budget ................................................................................................................34
Figure 9. Trust Game Exchanges ...................................................................................................36
Figure 10.1. Trust Game by Group ................................................................................................36
Figure 10.2. Trust Game by School ...............................................................................................37
Figure 10.3. Trust Game by School and Group ............................................................................37
Figure 11.1. Trust Pre-Assessment by School and Group ............................................................40
Figure 11.2. Trust Post-Assessment by School and Group ...........................................................40
Figure 11.3 Trust Assessment Percent Changes ............................................................................41

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The author wishes to thank the many friends and family members whose support, patience, and
love made this journey possible.

Special thanks to Cheryl Smith from the Artists Collective, Sahar Hakim and Takeia Pitts from
Catholic Charities at Milner Community School, and Principal Colleen DiSanto from St. Thomas
the Apostle School for their unwavering support of this initiative.

Special thanks to Dr. J. Nathan Corbitt and Dr. Vivian Nix-Early for their wisdom, guidance, and
encouragementthe impact of which is rippling into eternity.

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GLOSSARY
Intergroup Contact (IGC) Theory. A well-affirmed theory stating that contact between ingroup and out-group members can significantly reduce prejudice when experienced under
specific conditions (Allport, 1954; Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006; Rodenborg and Boison, 2012).
Musicking. The act of taking part in a musical performance together (Small, 1999).
Social Capital Theory. A theory arguing that social capital, or resources accessed through social
connections, is an integral type of capital that helps society function smoothly. With trust at its
core, social capital can take the form of bonding capital (connections within one community) or
bridging capital (connections between communities). (Lin, 2001; Putnam, 2000).
Social Identity Theory. A theory stating that we form part of our social identity by organizing
ourselves and others into categories, which then helps us to fortify our self-identity by attributing
more value to our in-group and less to out-groups (Tajfel & Turner, 1979).
Third Culture. The result of two cultures merging neither through domination nor assimilation,
but through a form of mutual transformation, in which new norms form around collective needs
and identities. This new connecting culture allows participants to form inclusive cultural
citizenship, and this process is also referred to as cultural diffusion, cultural integration, or
hybridity. (Evanoff, 2000; Leuthold, 2011; Lopez & Stack, 2001; Useem, 1966).
Trust. An active belief in the goodwill of others. Also referred to as generalized reciprocity,
this keystone of social capital can take the form of particularized trust (toward those we know),
generalized trust (toward those we have not interacted with), or identity-based trust (toward those
considered to be in our social groups) (Freitag & Bauer, 2013; Putnam, 2000; McAllister, 1995;
Whitmore & Dunsmore, 2014).

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
In order to expand the musical experience of my violin students from a struggling public
school in Hartford, Connecticut, I spent the latter part of 2015 recruiting as many students as
possible to attend a local cultural center as wellan effort designed to supplement their chaotic
after-school group classes with more intensive private lessons. However, even the highly
subsidized rates at this organization proved daunting at best and insurmountable at worst for
even the most interested students, and this obstacle prompted me to inquire whether anyone in
my own social media network would like to sponsor a violinist. Though proposed on
something of a whim, the response was stunning; within a week, contributions more than
covered family need and even necessary supplies as well. However, as I showed one of my
students the list of donations, a dose of complex reality overtook any feelings of blissful success
as he gaped, Are these rich people? Is that a $50 donation? This is so much! The response
stunned me, as I considered the fact that most of these donors were very far from what I would
consider rich. Yet my concept of wealth soon changed permanently just days later, when the
mother of this student came to his first lesson with their family contributiona $50 billand a
face etched with sacrifice and determination.
In addition to affecting me very personally, this experience spoke powerfully to the
disconnect that plagues humanitya relational gap that prevents entire communities from
understanding the reality of one another. This chasm is not merely grounded in the materials that
people have or have not, or in the differing value of $50, but in the alienation that prevents some
from realizing the pain of choosing between violin lessons and food, and others from knowing
that such pain is not the norm. In the same country, the same state, or even adjacent

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neighborhoods, we can be from different and disconnected worldsa problematic divide that
ultimately decreases quality of life for everyone.
However, looking beyond this display of disconnection reveals that such stories also give
us a glimpse into the benefits to be shared unanimously when different worlds do collide. Such
moments form a foundation for expanded opportunities, shared resources, and more meaningful
lives. With research increasingly pointing to relationships as the keystone of our human
existence, the fact that important benefits can accompany such increased connection is quite
unsurprising. Moreover, these stories also hint at the important role that music can play as a
connector between such worldsa catalytic source of commonality that kindles relationships
between even the most different people. In fact, musical performance may even be one of the
few tools that can form these initial bonds in contexts where very little interaction exists or even
seems possibleparticularly when forming connections between communities of diverse
cultures and different socioeconomic backgrounds. In doing so, making music may be an
important key to opening up resources particularly for communities who have the highest risk of
lower quality lives and, subsequently, the most to gain.
As expounded upon in the following literature review, the idea that relationships are a
resource that leads to other resources has been well established by proponents of Social Capital
Theory (Putnam, 2000; Lin, 2001; Corbett & Fikkert, 2009). Grounded in trust of various kinds,
this essential form of capital can benefit both individuals and society as a wholeperhaps even
acting as a game changer for communities that are most at risk of lower quality lives (Caterall,
2012, p.24). Yet research reveals not only an overall decline in social capital across the United
States (Putnam, 2000), but also a plethora of major barriers limiting the trust that could bridge
diverse communities (Lin, 2001). Social Identity Theory frames this social distance as the result

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of our human tendency to create in-group and out-group categories for ourselves and
othersa process that sheds light not only on the problem but also on potential solutions
(Evanoff, 2000; Leuthold, 2011; Tajfel & Turner, 1979; Useem, 1966). Instinctive categorization
allows for the creation of shared groups, or third cultures (Useem, 1966; Leuthold, 2011), that
can act as bridges between existing in-groups and out-groups. As the Intergroup Contact Theory
argues, interaction between even the most diverse groups has the power to reduce prejudice and
build trust under certain conditions (Allport, 1954), which makes these third culture bridges an
incredibly worthwhile pursuit.
Perhaps one of the most powerful and overlooked tools for creating bridges between
diverse cultures comes in the form of a concept called musicking, which Small (1999) used to
describe the powerfully relational process of taking part in a musical performance. Although
literature increasingly propounds the overall benefits of music on individuals (Shuler, 1991;
Jensen, 2001; Levitin, 2006; Gardner, 2011) and even between individuals (Chanda & Levitin,
2013; Levitin, 2011; Schulkin, 2013), there is a paucity of significant real-world investigation
regarding how this specific aspect of music can be used to build connective trust between even
the most diverse communities (Anderson, 2002; Bates, 2012; Corbitt & Nix-Early, 2003;
Guetzkow, 2002; Jones, 2010).
In order to use this unique tool more effectively in practice, this thesis primarily applied
Social Capital Theory, Social Identity Theory, and Intergroup Contact Theory to determine how
performing music may act as a catalyst for trusting relationships between communities of diverse
cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. The following literature review narrates the story of
such existing research and leads into the questions, definitions, and methodology that drive the
resulting research. In short, this pilot project measured changes in trust between students from

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES


two very different communities as they learned and performed music togethercomparing
results to a control group comprised of students from the same two communities who engaged
only in more general activities. The findings from this project, as well as a discussion on these
and the recommendations that emerged, form the final sections of this paper.

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

CHAPTER 2: LITERATURE REVIEW


Social Capital Theory
Although fairly new to the official world of academia, the concept of social capital has
nonetheless established significance rightfully on par with the other forms of capital so widely
discussed by scholars of both economics and social justice alike. As Lin (2001) wrote, capital of
any kind is simply an investment of resources with expected returns in the marketplace (p.1),
while social capital specifically refers to the expected returns from an investment in social
relations (p.19). Lin (2001) also wrote that social capital revolves around three central
components structure (embeddedness), opportunity (accessibility through social networks),
and action (use) (p.41)and is therefore comprised of resources embedded in a social
structure that are accessed and/or mobilized in purposive actions (p.29). At the core of social
capital is the concept of trust, which Putnam (2000) referred to as the principle of generalized
reciprocity (p.134) and deemed fundamental to civilized life (p.135) because of its ability to
ease the natural frictions involved in relationships (p.147). Discussed at great length in the
following section, this active belief in the reliability of others is truly what makes social capital
what it is: the relationships and connections that we can access in order to live a more
meaningful and satisfying life.
As research from a variety of fields has shown in the past few decades alone, such
improvement comes in many forms. Lin (2001) argued that returns on investment could include
benefits ranging from information and influence to social credentials and identity reinforcement
(p.20), while Putnam (2000) spoke extensively to the fact that social capital is incredibly
important for our well-being as both individuals and a global societyimproving quality of life,
facilitating problem solving, assisting with conflict resolution, advancing growth, increasing

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

justice, and much more. Social capital, or resources accessed through such connections and
relations, is critical (along with human capital, or what a person or an organization actually
possesses) to individuals, social groups, organizations, and communities in achieving objectives
(Lin, 2001, p.1). From even a spiritual level, Corbett and Fikkert (2009) argued that
relationshipsspecifically those with God, self, others, and the rest of creationform the
building blocks of all of life (p.57). Something so fundamental to our existence clearly plays a
large part in our quality of life and should be heeded as something that makes us smarter,
healthier, safer, richer, and better able to govern a just and stable democracy (Putnam, 2000,
p.290).
Despite abundant affirmations that social capital can be used for such significant
improvements, the current state of it in the United States is rather discouraging. Putnams (2000)
extensive research on current trends revealed that social capital steadily increased throughout the
early 20th century but has been drastically decreasing since the 1960s. Thin, single-stranded,
surf-by interactions are gradually replacing dense, multistranded, well-exercised bonds. More of
our social connectedness is one shot, special purpose, and self-oriented (Putnam, 2000, pp.183184). While this research does not include data from the 21st century, this sober trend should
catch our attention as one marked by disconnection and the social ills that come with it (Putnam,
2000). Moreover, this social capital saga becomes even more poignant when specifically
considering its role in urban areas. In many ways, the city first emerged because of its unique
ability to gather multitudes of diverse people so that labor could be divided and the benefits
thereof could be maximized; rather than individual families and communities holding
responsibility for every element of their survival, diversifying labor allowed for surplus that
could be shared (Palen, 2014). Despite the fact that this is still a defining hallmark of urban

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

areas, diversification has also become associated with inequality and disconnect. In fact,
prominent research even suggests that the short-term effects of diversity can include more
downsides than benefits, in the sense that trust (even of ones own race) is lower, altruism and
community cooperation rarer, [and] friends fewer within ethnically diverse communities
(Putnam, 2007, p. 137). Even studies that dispute such findings on methodological grounds find
that diversity still affects trust, but with great nuance. For instance, Abascal and Baldassarri
(2015) determined that socioeconomic, residential, and racial differences predict trust most
accurately, while lower levels of trust among diverse communities generally stemmed mostly
from whites to nonwhitesreflecting issues from bias rather than from diversity.
Despite this turbulent understanding of how diversification and social capital interact,
research all affirms that the issues and promises related to social capital affect connections
between not only individuals, but also between entire communities. Social Capital Theory
distinguishes between these forms of capital with the terms bonding and bridging, with the
first referring to exclusive connections within a particular community and the latter referring to
inclusive connections between different communities (Putnam, 2000; Lin, 2001). Putnam (2000)
noted that a balanced society requires both for their unique benefits (p.362), because Some
forms of social capital are, by choice or necessity, inward looking and tend to reinforce exclusive
identities and homogeneous groups[while] other networks are outward looking and encompass
people across diverse social cleavages (p.22). Taking this idea a step further, Abascal and
Baldassarri (2015) argued that these forms of social capital may actually conflict with one
another, in that the bonding capital used to foster solidarity within a certain group may cause
another group to suffer due to exclusion, or may even cause limitations for the tightknit group

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due to limited access to external resources. As such, part of the challenge includes balancing
bonding and bridging capital in a way that produces the healthiest society for all of its members.
Due largely to the principle of homophily, which states that social interactions tend to
take place among individuals with similar lifestyles and socioeconomic characteristics (Lin,
2001, p.39), bonding capital tends to be more prevalent and more widely used to preserve
existing resources (Putnam, 2000). Yet particularly in disadvantaged communities, where
existing resources can be barely sufficient for survival, members often lack the bridging capital
that would allow access to more assets. Similarly, Lin (2001) postulated that social interactions
usually occur among actors with similar or contiguous characteristics of resources and
lifestyles, such that heterophilous interactions (between actors with dissimilar resources) are
generally more contentious and less common due to the myriad of social issues that accompany
them. As such, greater gapsboth in terms of relationships and resourcesexist between
communities of different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, even when such communities
occupy the same densely populated area.
Within the overarching saga of declining social capital in America, this specific absence
of bridging capital in lower socioeconomic urban communities is particularly poignant because
of its contribution to the many other factors that prevent these members of society from living
the most meaningful and abundant lives possible. As Ratcliffe and McKernan (2010) found,
Children who are born into poverty and spend multiple years living in poor families have worse
adult outcomes than their counterparts in higher-income families (p.1). These negative
outcomes can include teen nonmarital births, dropping out of high school, long-lasting poverty in
adulthood, and lack of consistent employment (Ratcliffe & McKernan, 2010), in addition to a
host of psychological, physical, and social maladies (Childrens Bureau, 2013, pp.2-3). Yet, on

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the other hand, research also suggests that the existence of social capital is both linked to positive
outcomes and can be used to understand how and why certain poor children manage to beat the
odds (Furstenburg & Hughes, 1995, p.590).
Furthermore, Powell (2012) made it very clear that In a wealthy and mature democracy,
poverty is largely about social exclusion and the lack of belonging, not material inequalityOne
is poor if one does not have the things needed to be a respected member of society (p.3). From
this perspective, poverty in the United States is intrinsically related to the lack of social capital
that many poor communities face. Putnam (2000) explained this in the following way:
Precisely because poor people (by definition) have little economic capital and face
formidable obstacles in acquiring human capital (that is, education), social capital is
disproportionately important to their welfare[and the erosion thereof] has so far been
greater in the inner city, which lacks the cushioning of other forms of capital. (p.318)
The fact that these impoverished and excluded communities have fewer resources and less access
to external resources than their wealthier, more connected counterparts contributes to the risk of
negative life outcomes in a way that demands our attention.
Trust
As the foundation upon which social capital is built, the concept of trust has rightfully
gained much attention in the last few decades. Writers from many fields have spent considerable
effort trying to understand its multifaceted nature, as well as testing reliable ways to measure and
even simply define it. As McAllister (1995) concluded, one definition of interpersonal trust is
simply the extent to which a person is confident in, and willing to act on the basis of, the words,
actions, and decisions of another (p.25). Similarly, Whitmore and Dunsmore (2014) wrote that
trust is recognized as a complex interpersonal phenomenon reflecting the attitude that another is

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likely to treat one fairly, provide needed help, and avoid taking advantage (p.234). Yet perhaps
most plainly put, Putnam (2000) determined that The touchstone of social capital is the
principle of generalized reciprocityIll do this for you now, without expecting anything
immediately in return and perhaps without even knowing you, confident that down the road you
or someone else will return the favor (p.134). These definitions, as well as the wealth of
literature that they summarize, all allude to the idea that trust refers to an active anticipation of
goodwill from others.
Similar to the distinction between bonding and bridging capital, trust also is understood
to be either particularized or generalized. The former refers to interpersonal trust between people
or groups who know each other well through past or ongoing interactions, while the latter refers
to a social trust aimed at people in general without any specific relationship or knowledge
thereof (Freitag & Bauer, 2013). This second form is also so intrinsically associated with social
capital that Berggren and Jordahl (2006) even chose to define social capital as generalized trust.
Furthermore, Freitag and Bauer (2013) proposed a third category with even more implications
for understanding social capital: identity-based trust. Also referred to as group-based or
category-based trust, this concept stems from the idea that people often feel greater trust toward
anyone perceived to be within a shared social group (Freitag & Bauer, 2013). This newly
addressed dimension uncovers a wealth of insight into the challenges of forming bridging capital
in particular, because it explains some of the social distance and relational reluctance between
people who perceive themselves to be in different groups. Because of identity-based trust,
interactions within heterogeneous groups start with a lower level of trust than those within
homogenous groups, even if the members of both groups were all strangers to begin with.
However, innovative research like that done by Abascal and Baldassarri (2015) has also shown

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that diversity itself is a negligible predictor of trust compared with classic sociological
indicators of inequality [like] ethnoracial, residential, and economic differences between
communities and their residents (p.754). These factors impact perceived trust in ways that
anyone attempting to foster social capital needs to be aware of, because trusting communities,
other things being equal, have a measurable economic advantage, [and a] society that relies on
generalized reciprocity is more efficient than a distrustful society (Putnam, 2000, p.135).
Difficult as it is to define, measure, and even cultivate, trust is a crucial element of social capital
and one of the first steps toward building bridges between different communities.
Social Identity Theory
Intrinsically connected to this concept of identity-based trust, the Social Identity Theory
proposed by Tajfel and Turner (1979) offers further understanding of this persistent and harmful
disconnect in societyas well as leading us one step closer toward a potential solution. Arguing
that we form part of our social identity by instinctively organizing peopleincluding
ourselvesinto categories, this theory explains how this attempt to better understand ourselves
and the world around us can lead to social comparison, in which we fortify our own self-identity
by attributing more value to our in-group and less value to the out-group (Tajfel & Turner,
1979). In this way, we treat others not as individuals, but as members of a group that we value
based on their place inside or outside our own groupa perspective that can lead to antagonism,
competition, conformity, discrimination, stereotypes, and overall disconnect between diverse
communities (Tajfel & Turner, 1979; Hogg, Terry, & White, 1995). Needless to say, this theory
contributes to our understanding of both the shortage of bridging capital and the negative effects
that this shortage entails.

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However, this greater understanding of the problem also brings with it a greater
understanding of potential solutions. If social categorization and identification are a natural part
of being human, perhaps this inclination can be used for more mutually beneficial purposes.
Hogg, Terry, and White (1995) noted that one element of Social Identity Theory is the concept of
depersonalization, by which individuals undergo not a loss of identity, but a contextual change
in the level of identity (from unique individual to group member), which can actually lead to
positive social processes that include group cohesion and ethnocentrism, cooperation and
altruism, emotional contagion and empathy, collective behavior, shared norms, and the mutual
influence process (p.261). By creating a social category that transcends the distancing
categories already in place within particular communities, a separate in-group could be created
that helps to break down lines of unawareness at best and hostility at worst. In other words, not
seeking to outright abolish existing categories, but instead creating a new and mutually inclusive
category may create the bridge necessary to connect even the most diverse groupsthereby
increasing social capital and the benefits that accompany it (see Figure 1). As Putnam (2007)
wrote after elaborating on the negative short-term effects of diversity, In the long run, however,
successful immigrant societies have overcome such fragmentation by creating new, cross-cutting
forms of social solidarity and more encompassing identities (p.137).
FIGURE 1. THIRD CULTURE BRIDGE BETWEEN DISCONNECTED COMMUNITIES
Culture A

Culture B

Third Culture Bridge

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In many ways, this approach overlaps significantly with literature that deals with a third
culture, or the patterns which are created, shared, and learned by [participants of]two
different societies who are personally engaged in the process of linking their societies, or
sections thereof, to each other (Useem, 1966, p.147). In this new common ground, the norms of
each culture neither dominate nor remain completely distinct; instead, individuals within this
emerging group negotiate new norms and form a separate culture entirely (Evanoff, 2000;
Useem, 1966). Leuthold (2011) referred to this mutual transformation as a form of cultural
diffusion called cultural integration, or a fusion of cultures that transcends bi-culturalism by
significantly altering every culture involved (p.21). Similarly, Lopez and Stack (2001) noted that
a foundational part of increasing social capital in poor communities involves not settling for just
bicultural mutuality, or the ability for minority groups to assimilate into mainstream groups
(p.49), but for an inclusive cultural citizenship that builds collective needs and identities to
alter the terms on which communities participate in civic life (p.53).
Sometimes referred to as hybridity as well (Leuthold, 2011), this process can be
challenging and even controversial because of the miscommunications, conflicts, and heightened
tensions that frequently exist between members of different culturesparticularly if unequal
resources or unbalanced power are involved (Leed, 1997). Yet Lopez and Stack (2001) argued
that inclusive cultural citizenship canbreak down barriers to bridging social capital between
members of marginalized communities and mainstream-dominant institutions, as well as barriers
to bridging between poor and affluent communities (p.53). Furthermore, in its most ideal form,
this integration process forms a shared culture that even utilizes the best and omits the worst of
every culture involved, which all suggests a level of societal restoration that seems well worth
the challenge.

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Intergroup Contact Theory


Both supporting and refining this concept of cultural bridges, the Intergroup Contact
(IGC) Theory proposes that contact between in-group and out-group members can significantly
reduce prejudice when experienced under certain conditions (Allport, 1954). Countless studies
have shown this theory to be not only incredibly accurate, but also incredibly generalizable as
well; the right kind of contact between members of different groups seems to reduce prejudice
for both the in-group and out-group, for other out-groups, for other contexts, for an indefinite
amount of time after contact, and even for vicarious contact (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006;
Pettigrew, 2015; Rodenborg & Boison, 2012). Such thorough impact holds many implications
for practical action, and it certainly provides encouragement and motivation for bridging
disconnected communities.
Moreover, the IGC theory also provides guidelines for discovering and developing the
kinds of bridges that may be most effectivedetailing the conditions, mechanisms, components,
and cautions that correlate with the greatest positive change. First of all, Pettigrew (2015) noted
that there are four essential conditions necessary for contact to be effective: (a) equal status
between the groups within the situation, (b) common goals, (c) cooperation between groups, and
(d) authority support for the contact (p.13). With these conditions met, contact appears to
reduce prejudice by reducing anxiety about interactions, increasing knowledge of another group,
and improving the ability to see the perspective of another group (Rodenborg & Boisen, 2012,
p.571). These mechanismsparticularly when facilitated in a safe learning environment geared
toward both cognitive and affective learningproduce significant change in everyone involved.
However, Rodenborg and Boisen (2012) also caution that some groups (particularly those from
lower socioeconomic backgrounds) may perceive higher threat levels to start with, that less

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prejudice does not always lead to active social justice, that effects are often larger for majorities
than for minorities, and that decreasing prejudice may be significantly more difficult among
those who already exhibit aversive racism (p.573). Understanding nuances like these produces a
prototype for successful in-group and out-group interactions, which can then guide researchers
toward finding tools that utilize such conditions, mechanisms, and components while avoiding
the known pitfalls of such interactions. IGC theory describes an effective tool for building
bridges between disconnected communities, as well as offering hope that such a tool can have
far-reaching impact.
Musicking
In the quest to determine what tool may prove most effective for this challenging social
task, literature has begun pointing to the realm of music as an underutilized, yet powerful
possibility. Certainly the universal benefits of learning music have begun entering general
knowledge, with books like Eric Jensens Arts with the Brain in Mind (2001) or Daniel Levitins
This is Your Brain on Music (2006) discussing the stunning plethora of ways that music can lead
to emotional, mental, physical, and even spiritual improvements. When Howard Gardner (2011)
proposed the revolutionary Theory of Multiple Intelligences, he even included music as one of
the ways that students naturally learnan affirmation for music programs that have long avowed
the whole language nature of music and its ability to match many different learning styles
(Shuler, 1991). Similarly, when music education has been able to break through the barriers
faced by students who lack necessary financial resources, cultural practices, and social networks,
research has begun to show a promising fit between the benefits of music instruction and the
specific needs of at-risk youth (Bates, 2012). Simply listening to music allows us to experience a
moment of utopialife envisioned and possibility tastedin a way that begins to foster hope in

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

16

the listener (Anderson, 2002). Similarly, teaching it operates from a strengths-basedrather than
stigma-basedmentality that works from students strengths rather than trying to fix their
weaknesses (Braithwaite, 2004; Snyder, 2002). In particular, composition offers students a level
of self-expression that many at-risk youth crave, while the unique and appealing nature of music
in general helps to address academic risks by increasing students ability and desire to learn. In
ways like these, music can not only help students develop important skills, but can also help
them avoid the problems of frustration, alienation, and self-doubt that often place students at risk
of failure (Shuler, 1991, p.28).
Digging even deeper than the benefits that music can have on individuals, literature
reveals that music may have still greater potential through its ability to connect and benefit both
individuals and entire communitieseven those with vastly different backgrounds. Jones (2010)
wrote that Music serves as a perfect mediating space for people of different groups, and
musicking not only develops a sense of shared identity and intercultural understanding, but also
can teach skills for democratic action such as leading and following, teamwork, debate,
compromise and so forth (p.295). A wide range of studies from fields like physiology and
psychology have found that musicespecially through its rhythmic componentssignificantly
affects social bonds by increasing the social hormones that regulate stress, reduce social
anxiety, and promote trust; such studies have shown that even just listening to music with other
people releases chemicals like oxytocin and prolactin, which in turn increases feelings of
bonding, trust, and relaxation (Chanda & Levitin, 2013; Levitin, 2011; Schulkin, 2013).
In this sense, music is like one of the first cables sent across a chasm to begin building a
bridgea catalyst, so to speak, for relationships to form and ultimately become increasingly
stronger. As Corbitt and Nix-Early (2003) demonstrated in great detail, the arts foster

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

17

participation across class and ethnicity; thus, arts make a unique contribution to overcoming
exclusion and fostering community revitalization (p.174). Even entire models have been
developed based on this unique community-building role of the arts, such as Arts-Based
Community Development (Cleveland, 2011), Community Cultural Development (Goldbard &
Adams, 2006), and Arts in Redemptive Transformation (Corbitt & Nix-Early, 2003). As
Guetzkow (2002) wrote, community arts programs are said to build social capital by boosting
individuals ability and motivation to be civically engaged, as well as building organizational
capacity for effective action (p.6).
The significance of this connection between the world of music and social capital finds
its zenith in the concept of musicking, or what Small (1999) defined quite simply as the act of
taking part in a musical performance together (p.12). Rather than focusing on any of the distinct
elements of a performance (the score, the performers, the setting, the technicians, the audience,
etc.), musicking takes into account every element and the interactions between them. In fact,
Small (1999) argued that the very meaning of musicking lies in its ability to form such
relationships between everything and everyone involved; in other words, to take part in a
musical performance is to take part in a ritual whose relationships mirror, and allow us to
explore, affirm and celebrate, the relationships of our world as we imagine they are and ought to
be (p.18). With relationships arguably at the core of our human experience, the significance of
this power should not be underestimated. As we search for a catalyst to bridge even the most
diverse cultures through a new third culture centered around trust, this connection reveals just
how the process of building inclusive cultural citizenship can be nurtured through cultural
practices that organize the daily life of a community, through creative linguistic and artistic
expression, and through formal organizing (Lopez & Stack, 2001, p.53).

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

18

Unfortunately, despite the promise that this tool holds, very little practical research exists
on how musicking impacts trust specifically between culturally diverse urban communities. Such
a unique contextso prime for social disconnect, yet so ripe with possibilitiesdeserves not
only a tip of the hat from theories and speculations, but also active research regarding best
practices, ethical methods, and tangible outcomes. Individuals and communities around the
world have already affirmed the merit of this approach by using musicking to unite even the
most hostile communities; some of these renowned programs include the West-Eastern Divan
orchestra (comprised of both Palestinian and Israeli musicians), Music Bridge (a multiethnic
group that aims to reconcile groups in Northern Ireland), and even the Mitrovica Rock School
(comprised of ethnically diverse musicians from Kosovo). These latter two programs are even
just a sample of cross-cultural bridges created by Music Without Bordersa nonprofit
organization based specifically on the belief that War divides. Music connects. If musicking
can so clearly create a healthy third culture between communities marred by perpetual war and
severe ethnic conflicts, surely it deserves to be not only surmised and utilized, but also actively
studied through practical research.
Conclusion
Arguably the most pivotal part of the story that launched this literature review was not
the transfer of material capital that allowed a student to take violin lessons, but in the revealing
and reversingof a relational gap between two very different social worlds. If relationships are
truly the foundational element of our human existence, then such connections with others should
garner our full attention when understanding both social ills and social transformation. Along
these lines, the story illustrated both our need for and the possibilities inherent to increased social
capital, especially when it comes in the form of building trust between diverse communities.

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

19

Though the odds may seem against such bridging capital due to its overall decline and the social
tendencies that oppose healthy cross-cultural interactions, both research and experience speak to
the fact that the rewards are more than worth it (Lin, 2001; Putnam, 2000; Bates, 2012).
As Stolle, Soroka, and Johnston (2008) wrote, such bridging capital has the power to join
people of diverse backgrounds, crossing ethnic, racial or religious boundaries. The resulting
social interaction, cooperation and familiarity lead to the development of knowledge-based trust
among dissimilar individuals, which in turn fosters the development of a broader, more
generalizable trust (p.60). Such trust offers communities numerous advantages by reducing
relational friction, limiting social transaction costs, and increasing an individuals ability to both
bond to members of her own community and access resources through bridges between other
communities. Especially for communities who are already more disadvantaged and at-risk of
negative life outcomes due to poverty and other risk factors, the positive effects of increased
bridging capital are particularly noticeable (Putnam, 2000, p.299). Such capital links these
previously excluded communities to external resources, which can lead directly to higher quality
of life.
In the effort to increase social capital, particularly by building bridges between diverse
communities, research suggests that one of the most effective tools for this initial contact may be
musical performance. Though still understood to a much smaller degree than its power merits,
music not only richly equips individuals with numerous benefits (improved focus, cognitive
capacity, language and physical development, and future opportunities to say the least), but also
acts as an incredibly strong connector between both individuals and entire communities (Corbitt
& Nix-Early, 2003). As Lopez and Stack (2001) asserted, those who participate in musical
performance can be empowered, building common norms and identities that eventually lead to

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

20

integration, mutuality, and accountability. In a context of mutual engagement and negotiation,


founded in common cultural ground and respect, trust can be forged and society transformed
(p.54). In order to help facilitate such transformation more intentionally, this thesis uses the
model found below to explore specific ways that musicking increases trust for members of urban
communities with different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

FIGURE 1.1.

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

21

CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY
Research Questions
In light of existing research and persisting need, this thesis aimed to answer the following
questions:
1. While learning and performing music together, how does perceived trust change
for members from socioeconomically and culturally diverse communities?
2. In what ways does such musicking affect perceived trust differently than engaging
in non-music related activities?
3. What elements of this project can be replicated or improved to have a more positive
impact on those involved?
Positionality
As the primary investigator (P.I.) and violin instructor working with both groups of
students, I approached this study first and foremost as a self-aware participantone who was
deeply involved not only in designing the activities, but also in implementing and analyzing
them. In filling this role, I also frequently found myself vacillating between observer and
translator, as I navigated the cross-cultural arts experience and sought to help my students do the
same. My background differs starkly from half of the students and aligns almost perfectly with
the other half, in that I come from a white, suburban, upper-middle class family with two parents
both still in their first marriage and working as professionals. As elaborated on in the
Participants section, the students from St. Thomas the Apostle (STA) school have a
background very similar to this, while students from Milner Community School experience the
near opposite. However, I have taught at Milner for almost five years and just began teaching at
STA less than a year agoa difference that helped balance the effects of familiarity and

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

22

understanding. I also spent considerable time reflecting on how this position affected my
perspective and interactions with different students, which helped me to adjust my approaches as
needed. Ultimately, my unique position as adopted-insider to one group, relatable newcomer to
the other group, and instructor and researcher for both groups certainly influenced my objectivity
but also contributed insight to observations and minimized external variables within the study.
Philosophical Paradigm
This thesis took a philosophical stance that stemmed primarily from pragmatism, or the
philosophical tradition that asserts that truth may be interpreted in terms of the practical effects
of what is believed and, in particular, the usefulness of these effects (Savin-Baden & Major,
2013, p.60). It observed the effects of combining three key theories (Social Capital Theory,
Social Identity Theory, and Intergroup Contact Theory) with the concepts of trust and musicking
to build practical knowledge of students experiences. This pragmatic attempt to link theory and
practice was carried out in the most natural context possible to maximize validity, yet also
aimed to understand reality through the human experience of participantsa goal well-suited for
the study of a topic so relevant to the quest for understanding deeper meaning as it is expressed
externally (Savin-Baden & Major, 2013, pp.60-61).
Research Methods
As expounded upon in the following section, this arts-based project followed a mixedmethods research approach with an emphasis on qualitative analysis. These qualitative
characteristics included a generally subjective foundation, a personal focus on the views and
experiences of all people involved, and collection of data from multiple sources (Savin-Baden &
Major, 2013, pp.12-14). Furthermore, in following the pragmatic philosophical stance, all
research took place in the most natural context possible in order to maximize validity

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

23

maintaining existing locations, staff, and activities for as much of the project as possible. It also
utilized qualitative data collection that emphasizes thick description through interpretation
rather than mere transcription of detailsa particularly important element in determining how
musicking may have impacted participants relationally (Savin-Baden & Major, 2013, p.15).
However, all data was also coded and quantified in order to better understand the nuances of any
changes and gain the language necessary to convey such changes. These numerical, objective
aspects provided important supplemental data for the overall qualitative approach and allowed
this thesis to provide a more thorough report on the connection between social capital and shared
music experiences.
Operationalization
Although the literature review provided more in-depth definitions and explanations of the
key concepts used in this thesis, the following are simplified explanations of how each were
operationalized for this specific project.
Musicking. While music can impact individuals in countless ways, this project looked
specifically at the relational impact of learning and performing an instrument for an audience.
Due to accessibility, violin was the instrument of choice for this study, but future replications
may choose to use other instruments, a medley of instruments, or even other art forms to
determine how impact differs. Small (1999) even asserted that all art is performance art, in that
it can lead us to understand how we can and should relate to ourselves, each other, and the world
around us (p.15). In this sense, another important element of this research is that of performance,
which was defined as playing rehearsed pieces in front of an audience large enough to influence
the performers.

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

24

Trust. Chosen as a key indicator of social capital due to the fact that its unique
manageability and relevance perfectly fit the scope of this project, the concept of trust in this
research refers to the active anticipation of goodwill from others. In other words, it entails not
only proclaiming confidence that another person will treat one fairly and as expected, but also
acting on that confidence through generosity, willingness to take related risks, and reliance on
the other person. As explained more fully in the following section, each of these elements were
assessed through a child-friendly questionnaire (Appendix C) and Trust Game (Appendix D)
the first a compilation of many existing trust measurements (Abascal & Baldassarri, 2015;
Glaeser, Laibson, Scheinkman, & Soutter, 2000; McAllister, 1995; Rotenberg et al., 2005;
Grootaert, Narayan, Jones, & Woolcock, 2004) and the second constructed based on the classic
Trust Game designed by Berg, Dickhaut, and McCabe (1995). These measurement tools not only
took into account the diversity of participants, but also addressed all three elements of trust
(generalized, particularized, and identity-based)therefore painting a comprehensive picture of
how trust contributes to the creation of a third culture through a unique blend of bonding and
bridging capital.
Participants
Structured as a pilot project designed to be continued or replicated in the future, this
research study exclusively involved students from two schools in the Greater Hartford Area of
Connecticut: one in the North End of Hartford and one in the small neighboring town of West
Hartford. Both schools are at the center of a state that ranks second in the country for income
disparity (Sommeiller & Price, 2015) and has a long history of blatant economic and racial
segregation (Buchanan & Abraham, 2015). Analyzing data on such large and even literal gaps
between the wealthy and the poor led Buchanan and Abraham (2015) to warn that spatial
divisions can compound economic or ethnic differences, and undermine efforts to improve the

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

25

lives of populations that face historic and current disadvantages. This reality is especially true
for the capital city of Hartford, which is a bleak island of inequity in a sea of overall prosperity;
while only 10.5% of individuals in Connecticut live below the poverty level (with a median
household income of almost $70,000), 34.4% of Hartford residents are below the poverty level
(with a median household income of about $29,000) (United States Census Bureau, 2013).
Similarly, the segregated and unequal education system in Connecticut is a point of much
contention and even significant lawsuits; compared to almost 11% of adults in the state, almost a
third of Hartford adults do not even have a high school degree (United States Census Bureau,
2013). Moreover, such multifaceted disparity begins almost immediately beyond the capitals
border (see Figure 2), and West Hartford is no exception. Reputed for its affluence and quality
education system, the town can claim that only 7.9% of its individuals fall below the poverty
line, less than 7% of its population holds less than a high school degree, and its median
household income is about $84,000 (see Figure 3 for how these statistics compare to Connecticut
and Hartford). In short, these neighboring communities are effectively like different worlds.

FIGURE 2. MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME IN CONNECTICUT


(HIGHLIGHTING HARTFORD AND WEST HARTFORD)

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

26

FIGURE 3: COMMUNITY DISPARITIES


Hartford

29,313

69,899

30%
7%

11%

8%

11%

INDIVIDUALS BELOW POVERTY


LEVEL

84,092

West Hartford

34%

CT

LESS THAN HIGH SCHOOL DEGREE

MEDIAN HOUSEHOLD INCOME

www.census.gov/censusexplorer/censusexplorer.html

These numbers clearly paint a rather bleak big picture and reveal significant disconnect
between two otherwise very close communities, yet the situation also presents an opportunity for
testing and improving potential solutions. Because the P.I. for this project runs relatively similar
strings programs at schools that epitomize the very different demographics of each area (see
Figures 4 and 5 for a map and demographic comparison), the students in these programs were
perfect candidates for this study and could contribute significantly to our understanding of
musicking as a tool for developing trust between very different communities.
One of these schools is called Thirman L. Milner Community School (referred to as
Milner) and is located in the North End of Hartfordan area known for the highest rates of
poverty and crime in the city. Most of the students there are considered at-risk for a variety of
reasons, with about 95% eligible for free lunch (due to families at or below the 130% poverty
level), one in four unable to speak English fluently, and 11% identified as disabled (Frahm,
2013). Through a free afterschool program run by Catholic Charities, students have access to
group violin lessons twice a week and can borrow the school instruments for occasional
practiceall of which takes place with minimal to no parental involvement.

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

27

FIGURE 4. SCHOOL SOCIOECONOMIC COMPARISON

Milner

West
Hartford

Hartford

STA
FIGURE 5. SCHOOL DEMOGRAPHIC COMPARISON
Milner Community School
(Milner)
Location
Ethnicity

Household
income

Below
poverty
Median age
Households

Education

St. Thomas the Apostle School


(STA)

Hartford, CT
Asian: 1%
Black: 77.3%
Hispanic: 13.2%
White: 5.8%
$39,107 median
$52,650 mean

West Hartford, CT
Asian: 6.6%
Black: 6.8%
Hispanic: 9.9%
White: 74.4%
$72,205 median
$121,828 mean

32.6% above $50,000


Primarily service
occupations
29.4% individuals
42.9% children
28.6
22.4% husband and wife
40.6% female no husband
17.4% vacant houses
73.6% high school or higher
9.2% bachelors or higher

71% above $50,000


Primarily management, business,
science, and arts occupations
11% individuals
8.7% children
38.1
38% husband and wife
12% female no husband
4.5% vacant houses
94.7% high school or higher
33.6% bachelors or higher
www.factfinder.census.gov

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

28

Standing in stark contrast to this environment, the other school involved in this project is
called St. Thomas the Apostle School (referred to as STA)a private Catholic school that
serves a small but culturally diverse number of families primarily from West Hartford. Minority
ethnicities are better represented within the STA school body than in the town overall, but
virtually all of the families have high levels of education, social mobility, and wealth. The
average household income in West Hartford is more than twice that in Hartford, and students at
STA pay a substantial feein addition to annual tuitionfor both private violin lessons and
group lessons each week. Moreover, parents at STA are extensively involved in their childs
musical education and invest much time, money, and energy into quality equipment and
consistent practicing.
Beyond these significant differences, both schools have only one violin instructor (also
the P.I. in this study) and offer a group violin class for students in second grade or above, which
provided just enough commonality for this study to proceed. As such, approximately two weeks
prior to a start date that aligned well with both school calendars, all families of current 2nd-8th
grade violin students received invitations that detailed the purpose and methods of this six-week
project. All ten students from the 2nd and 3rd grade group class at STA opted to participate
through both consent and assent forms (see Appendix A), while 13 of the 17 students in the 2nd
through 8th grade group class at Milner returned either assent or consent formsresulting in a
total of 23 participants with an average age of 9 years old. Violin skill and cultural background
ranged significantly, but all students spoke English and were able to participate in the majority of
assigned interactions. These and more detailed demographics can be found in Figure 6.1.

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

29

FIGURE 6.1
DEMOGRAPHICS - BY SCHOOL

10
8

3
3

10
7

NUMBER OF STUDENTS

13

Milner
13

STA

Note: Because many students claimed several ethnicities and languages


as part of their identity, the numbers in each of these categories do not
necessarily add up to the total number of students.

Week 1
During the first week of this project, students began their usual group violin class with an
initial trust assessment. In order to convey their initial levels of trust in various people and
structures, they responded to the various statements found in Appendix B (read aloud by the P.I.)
by standing behind posterslabelled Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, or
Strongly Disagreethat best matched their responses. This exercise was done as a group
activity, which was videotaped and later analyzed to produce some of the data found in the
following section. After this assessment, students wrote their names on slips of paper and placed
them in a hat. The primary investigator then shuffled the names and pulled them out one at a
time to assign students randomly into either the Game Group (functioning as the control group
in this study) or the Music Group. Students then gathered with their assigned group and

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

30

participated in a second assessment, the Trust Game (see Appendix C for full explanation), to
launch interactions with students from the other school. Following this exercise, class ended with
the students writing letters to members of their corresponding group from the other school, with
specific instructions for this activity found in Appendix D. In order to ensure all Music Group
activities fit into the concept of musicking, or taking part in a musical performance, students in
this group were specifically informed from the first day that their interactions would culminate in
a performance with members of the other schools Music Group.
Weeks 2 and 3
During the first class of Week 2, students created Who We Are posters to provide basic
demographic information and share a little more about themselves with their partner groups (see
Figure 6.2); an example and the survey version of this information can be found in Appendix E.
After writing, reading, and responding to penpal letters received from their partner school,
students also spent the following 2 weeks increasing the intensity of their interactions through
video recordings. Classes during Week 2 involved each Game Group and Music Group recording
a video scavenger hunt (Appendix F) in their respective music rooms, while Week 3 classes
involved each group teaching either games or songs to their respective group by video. Each
class had the opportunity to watch these videos under the supervision of the P.I. before creating
their own, and some students even continued writing related penpal letters during this time as
well. To finish Week 3, both schools engaged in another Trust Game exchange, which was again
done through group discussions within a 5-minute time period.

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

31

FIGURE 6.2
PARTICIPANT DEMOGRAPHICS BY GROUP
Game Group

10

4
4

2
1

5
4

4
3
3

NUMBER OF STUDENTS

11

12

Music Group

Week 4
After three weeks of remote interaction, Week 4 marked the first week of in-person
interactions between schools. On a day when none of the students had school, students from both
Music Groups met in the music room at STA for a play-inan informal group violin class that
involved interacting through a variety of musical activities: bowing, tuning, warming up with a
shared scale, performing a handful of common pieces, and even teaching each other in small
groups (based largely on the songs taught via video during the previous week). Later in the week,
students from both Game Groups metagain in the music room at STAfor a game day that
involved two lively group games and a handful of game stations to choose from (based largely

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

32

on games taught via video during the previous week). Both field trips began with a name game
and ended in snack time, during which students were tasked with discovering 3 new things about
their penpals and reporting these back to the P.I.. Due to school schedules, no group classes
occurred during this field trip week.
Weeks 5 and 6
Again resuming the exchange of letters and videos during regular group classes, Week 5
also included a rehearsal for the Music Group. This activity took place in the music room at
Milner during the after-school program, and the few Game Group students who attended (due to
sibling involvement or being unable to shift into another after-school program for the day)
simply played board games in a separate area of the room. The rehearsal included unpacking,
bowing, tuning, and warming up together, followed by a run-through of the performance pieces
(all songs that students knew previously from shared Suzuki repertoire) and announcements
regarding the final performance. During group classes later in the week, groups from both
schools participated in another round of the Trust Game. Due to time restraints and interpersonal
issues during the previous Trust Game, the P.I. asked students individually for their offers and
averaged the responses as their official contribution.
During group classes in Week 6, students in both
groups made thank you cards (see image) for their penpals and
wrote or recorded final exchanges. The P.I. swapped these
materials between Game Groups, but Music Group students exchanged these cards during the
final performance. Students from the Music Group also created violin decorations for their
penpals, which were exchanged right before the performance. Since school uniforms were the
easiest concert attire, these decorations added a bit of flair and commonality between

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

33

performers. This performance took place at the Artists Collectivea cultural arts center within
walking distance from Milner and down a main road from West Hartford. Students from both
Music Groups met for a final rehearsal just beforehand and spent about 30 minutes performing a
variety of songs for friends and family. All attendees and performers stayed afterward for an
informal reception to eat food, talk, exchange cards, and take a final group picture.
During the group classes immediately following this six-week project, students again
completed the trust assessment that took place on the first day (in the same way for STA students
but in written form for Milner students). Similarly, they took part in the fourth and final round of
the Trust Gamewithout being told that these would be the last exchanges, in order to avoid any
end game effects. They also engaged in a group debrief session with the P.I. and spent time
exchanging their Trust Game tickets for small prizes and snacks. Because the final performance
landed on the Friday of Week 6, some of these follow-up activities technically occurred after the
official conclusion of this project, or what can be called the Post-Project period. Moreover, as
discussed in further detail below, some of the students hoped to see their penpals againleaving
an option for contact in the future. Figure 7 offers a big-picture view of this general timeline.

FIGURE 7. PROJECT TIMELINE


Game Group
Pre-Project
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Post-Project

Music Group

Informational invitations sent to families and consent/assent forms obtained


Introduction letters emphasizing favorite activities,
Introduction letters emphasizing favorite music,
games, sports, etc.
instrument, etc.
Trust Game and Trust Assessment
Scavenger Hunt videos
Scavenger Hunt videos
Who We Are Posters
Videos teaching games
Videos teaching songs
Trust Game
Game day at STA; more videos and letters
Play-In at STA; more videos and letters
Continued videos and letters

Rehearsal at Milner
Trust Game
Final videos, letters, and cards
Performance, reception, cards, and violin decorations
Trust Assessment
Debrief discussions, final Trust Game, and exchange Trust Game tokens for prizes
Potential follow-up letters, recordings, and field trip

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

34

Additional Details
In order to better isolate the effects of musicking on trust levels, the locations and
timeframes for this project were carefully chosen to intrude as little as possible on students
usual schedules. Except for a field trip, rehearsal, and performance, most of the activities in this
project took place at established class times and in regular classrooms. Even the travelling
locations were chosen to minimize distraction and transportation issues while providing
additional opportunities for students to see each others lives. STA families covered all of their
own transportation to and from events, while the P.I. covered transportation for all Milner
students by reserving the Catholic Charities van. As seen in Figure 8, the budget for this project
was covered entirely by existing support within the two separate violin programs. Both schools
welcomed our guests without charging, and the Artists Collective offered its performance space
free of charge, while Catholic Charities provided compensation for the instructor, transportation
for Milner students, and craft supplies for our various projects. In terms of assessments and
security, all data was kept on password-protected devices and shown only to students and only
when supervised by the P.I..

FIGURE 8. PROJECT BUDGET


Category
Staff
Events
Facility
Supplies

Details
1 Lead Instructor:
6 hrs/week, 6 weeks, $25/hr
Transportation
Refreshments
Performance space (2 hrs, $100/hr)
Paper, markers, stickers, etc.

Cost
$900
$50
$50
$200
$50

Source

Total

Existing Employment (Catholic Charities);


Volunteer hours
In-kind donations (Catholic Charities van)
In-kind donations (from STA parents)
In-kind donations (Artists Collective)
In-kind donations (Catholic Charities)
PROJECT TOTAL
Actual Total Needed

$900
$100
$200
$50
$1250
$0

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

35

CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS
Question 1: While learning and performing music together, how does perceived trust change
for members from socioeconomically and culturally diverse communities?
Changes in perceived trust were measured through qualitative observations and two
primarily quantitative assessments: the Trust Game (Appendix C) and a Trust Assessment
implemented in a variety of ways (Appendix B). As discussed at greater length below, these
measurements seemed to show that trust unexpectedly declined overall but also changed with
great nuance based especially on socioeconomic backgrounds.
Trust Game. The details of each exchange throughout Trust Game can be seen in Figure
9, while the average exchanges each week are portrayed by group in Figure 10.1. As these
graphics show, trust (operationalized by the percentage of tickets offered to the partner group)
dropped throughout the project by about the same amount in both the control group and the
Music Group (from an average of 80% to 44% in the Game Group and from an average of 55%
to 21% in the Music Group). The only overall increase occurred in the Game Group after Week
3, which was both preceded and followed by another decline. When analyzed by changes within
each school (see Figure 10.2), data revealed a similar decline in overall trust, but with two
interesting distinctions: trust started much higher and declined significantly more for STA
students than for Milner students, and students from both schools showed a slight increase in
trust just after their first in-person interactions in Week 5. Similarly, the data revealed even more
nuance when broken down by both school and group (see Figure 10.3)revealing an overall
decline in every subgroup except for the Music Group from Milner. Although trust briefly
increased for STAs Game Group in Week 5, it steadily increased for Milners Music Group
throughout the entire project.

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

36

FIGURE 9. TRUST GAME EXCHANGES


Week 1
(After Letters)

Milner

Music
Groups

Had
Gave
%
Left

Had
Gave
STA
%
Left
Average

10
1
10%
9

Game
Groups

20
5
25%
15
10
10
100%
0

10
3
30%
7

55%

% Change
Milner

Week 3
(After Recordings)

28%
50% decrease

Had
Gave
%
Left

Had
Gave
STA
%
Left
Average
% Change

10
7
70%
3

Week 5
(After Game Day
and Play-In)
21
7
33%
14
21
4
19%
17
26%

5% decrease

18
7
39%
11
10
9
90%
1

80%

22
8
35%
14
32
2
6%
30
21%

22% decrease

25
9
36%
16
15
7
47%
8

50
16
33%
34
26
17
65%
9

43%
47% decrease

Week 7
(After Performance)

42
23
55%
19

51%
19% increase

44%
13% decrease

FIGURE 10.1. TRUST GAME BY GROUP


Music Group

Game Group

100%
90%

80%

PERCENTAGE GIVEN

80%
70%
60%

55%

50%

51%
44%

43%

40%
28%

30%

26%
21%

20%
10%
0%
WEEK 1

WEEK 3

WEEK 5

WEEK 7

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

37

FIGURE 10.2. TRUST GAME BY SCHOOL


Milner

STA

95%

100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%

42%

38%

34%

40%
40%

30%

35%

32%

31%

20%
10%
0%
WEEK 1

WEEK 3

WEEK 5

WEEK 7

FIGURE 10.3. TRUST GAME BY SCHOOL AND


GROUP
Music - Milner
100%
90%
80%

Music - STA

Game - Milner

Game - STA

100%
90%
70%
65%

70%

55%

60%
47%

50%

35%

30%

30%
20%

36%

39%

40%

33%

10%

25%

33%

19%

10%

6%

0%
WEEK 1

WEEK 3

WEEK 5

WEEK 7

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

38

Trust Assessments. Data pulled from the trust assessments taken before and after this
project can be seen in Figures 11.1, 11.2, and 11.3. After reversing any negatively worded
questions (ie. I need to look out for myself first before helping others), responses from each
student were coded from 0 (Strongly Disagree) to 4 (Strongly Agree). This quantitative data
allowed the P.I. to then calculate average numeric responses (see Appendix G) in percentages
that represented average level of trust. In other words, a group whose average answer was 0
(Strongly Disagree) to all 23 trust statements would register as 0% trusting, while a group
whose average answer was 4 (Strongly Agree) would register as 100% trusting. As Figure 11.1
depicts, the pre-assessment revealed that both the Music Group and Game Group started with
similar levels of trust (43% and 48% respectively), while STA students started with much higher
levels of trust than Milner students (67% and 27% respectively). After the project ended, postassessments revealed much more similar levels of trust between the schools (57% at STA and
45% at Milner) and a slight increase in trust for both the Music Group (up to 48%) and Game
Group (up to 55%). Moreover, when analyzed for percent of change (see Figure 11.3), the data
revealed just how significant some of these overall changes are, with Milner trust levels
increasing by 67%, STA trust levels actually decreasing by 15%, and trust levels for both the
Music Group and Game Group increasing by almost the exact same amount (11% and 12%
respectively).
As also portrayed in these graphics, the statements in these trust assessments were
designed to gather information on generalized, particularized, and self-identity trust as well by
targeting four specific trust categories (General, My Community, Other Communities, and
Myself). The first category revolved around the concept of generalized trust through statements
about people overall, without reference to any specific or preexisting relationships. As with all of

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

39

these categories, this level of trust started lower for the Music Group and much lower at Milner;
yet it also showed the highest percent increase specifically for the Music Group. The next two
categories, My Community and Other Communities, attempted to analyze levels of
particularized trust for both heterophilous and homophilous interactionstrust between groups
with similar and dissimilar resources. Just as previous research has shown, perceived similarity
correlated to higher levels of trust in this data as well, with trust toward other communities
always significantly lower than trust toward ones own community. In fact, trust levels in the
My Community and Other Communities categories tended to be the highest and lowest,
respectively, compared to all other categories. Finally, the last category targeted identity-based
trust through statements about ones own perceived trustworthiness, and students responses
revealed similar levels of trust for both Music and Game Groups, yet striking differences
between students at Milner and STA. While Milner had lower trust levels in every category, the
largest gap between schools was in this category specifically, and the largest increase in trust
took place within this category for Milner students.

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

40

FIGURE 11.1. TRUST PRE-ASSESSMENT BY


SCHOOL AND GROUP

STA

MUSIC GROUP

43%

51%

56%

53%

49%

56%
45%

49%

37%

43%
MILNER

Myself

75%
61%

64%

Other Communities

30%

27%

30%

23%

27%

TRUST LEVEL

My Community

74%

General

67%

Overall

GAME GROUP

FIGURE 11.2. TRUST POST-ASSESSMENT BY


SCHOOL AND GROUP

MILNER

60%
51%

55%

58%

63%
44%

49%

46%

48%

49%
STA

Myself

58%

Other Communities

69%

My Community

61%

64%

57%

54%

General

45%

44%

39%

45%

TRUST LEVEL

Overall

MUSIC GROUP

GAME GROUP

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

41

FIGURE 11.3. TRUST ASSESSMENT PERCENT


CHANGES
General

My Community

Other Communities

Myself

MUSIC GROUP

18%

19%

GAME GROUP

-20%

-18%

-15%

-3%

STA

-7%

MILNER

-1%

0%

3%

10%

12%

12%

24%
11%

24%

18%

14%

16%

TRUST LEVEL

67%

Overall

Qualitative Observations. In stark contrast to the quantitative data gathered for this
project, observations noted during regular classes and group interactions seemed to imply a much
more positive change in students throughout the six weeks. During the first Trust Game and
Trust Assessment, students at STA were simply overjoyed to have the opportunity to interact
with new penpals, and their enthusiasm showed not only in their ticket donations but also in their
happy chatter about future interactions. Although there was some confusion and negativity
during the assessment activity, most of their comments were positive and aimed at connecting
the statements with real life experiences (For example, one girl stated, I trust people from other
cultures, because my classmate speaks Spanish and shes my friend!). If anything, the only
uncertainty among STA students came across in their inclination for choosing Neutral, which
they chose 38% of the time (as opposed to 8% at Milner).
In sharp contrast, Milner students expressed comment after comment reflecting guarded
skepticism and wary doubt toward the trustworthiness of othersboth during the initial Trust

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

42

Game and Trust Assessment. Many responded to statements about other cultures with muttered
comments like, You can trust them or Theyre more trustworthy than our community.
However, some made connections to other experiences when noting things like I get along with
you, Miss! when reflecting on their trust for people from other cultures.
Throughout the following six weeks, the attitude shift during group classes was
practically tangible. Students from both groups began asking more and more questions about
their penpals, and many voluntarily exchanged extra letters and videos. While still expressing
some nervousness (such as a Milner student expressing, Theyre not going to like our school,
Miss. Its going to scare them.), most of the students became more willing to interact over time
and even expressed sadness that the project was over. Two students from STA still write letters
to their penpals, an older student from Milner bought his penpal a gift for the performance, and
all of the STA students are eager to continue the project so that they have another chance to visit
Milner. However, when asked to explain their responses during the Trust Assessments or Trust
Games, none of the students referred to the trustworthiness of their partner group. Instead, they
cited more relevant life experience (such as a STA student noting, Well I trust everyone but my
brother, who is mean, or I dont trust doctors because they gave me the wrong medicine one
time), as well as vague feelings about trust in general. In this way, the related quantitative data
seemed rather at odds with the general impression given by students during their actual
interactionsa discrepancy that will be addressed in further sections.
Question 2: In what ways does such musicking affect perceived trust differently than
engaging in non-music related activities?
At first glance, data from the Trust Game (Figure 10.1) and Trust Assessment (Figure
11.3) in this project makes the effects of musicking on trust appear ambiguous at best and

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

43

negative at worst. Throughout the project, trust levels according to the Trust Game declined by
63% for the Music Group and only 45% for the control group; similarly, trust levels briefly
increased for the control group but steadily declined for the Music Group. When analyzed by
subcategories from the Trust Assessment, overall trust and identity-based trust saw similar
increases for both the control and Music Group, while particularized trust actually decreased for
the music group.
However, looking into these more nuanced layers of data revealed a few key areas where
musicking seemed to have greater effects. The Music Group displayed a significant 24% increase
in generalizable trustthe type of trust that some researchers have even used as an alternate
definition for social capital. This drastic increase appears even more significant when
considering that generalized trust only increased by 10% for the control group, as well as the fact
that it started at a lower level than any other kind of trust for the Music Group. Similarly,
analyzing the Trust Game data by both school and group (Figure 10.3) revealed that the only
overall increase in trust occurred within the Music Group at Milner, which seemed particularly
meaningful in light of the fact that the most drastic decrease occurred for the Music Group at
STA. This increase also stands in stark contrast to the overall decline in trust exhibited by every
other subgroup. As discussed in the following chapter, these surprisingly positive trends in
otherwise gloomy findings may hold promise for understanding the more nuanced ways in which
musicking affects trust differently than other activities.
Question 3: What elements of this project can be replicated or improved to have a more
positive impact on those involved?
Several elements of this project served their purpose well and created a surprising
smoothness overall, such that two in particular bear elaboration: logistical strategy and resources.

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

44

Following these replicable elements, this section will discuss two elements that could use
significant improvement when implementing a similar project: inconsistency and unbalanced
communication.
Logistical strategy. Because interacting with new peopleespecially those with very
different backgroundscan be an intimidating process, perhaps the most effective element of
this study turned out to be the gradual progression from remote to in-person interactions.
Beginning with letters allowed foundational relationships to form based on low-risk information
(age, grade, favorite things, etc.) before more sensitive differences (race, socioeconomic status,
language, etc.) could raise any barriers. Shifting to video recordings after these initial written
interactions then seemed less jarring for students, while also encouraging particularly the Milner
students who did not feel as comfortable with writing. Considering that studentsespecially at
Milnerexpressed anxiety about these social interactions throughout the entire project,
gradually stepping from lower-risk to higher-risk social interactions carried students through to
each new level of interaction.
Similarly, hosting the first in-person events (play-in, game day, and rehearsal) at each
school seemed not only to make students feel more at ease, but also to build bridges as they
compared music rooms, discovered similarities, and had the opportunity to welcome guests with
pride. A favorite topic of conversation even through the final performance was the fact that both
music rooms have a very similar music ruga fact that fascinated students from both groups!
After entering into each others spaces, students were able to feel more at ease when performing
in a completely new spacehaving not only their teacher, but also now each other as a source of
security. Choosing to host the final event at a new location also helped to avoid either group

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

45

feeling inherently more comfortable than the other (home field advantage, so to speak), and it
provided a level of bond-forming thrill to the climax of this project.
Resources. Along the lines of this final performance space, another key to the success of
this project was the level of external resources that made it possible. Even before the project
officially began, the P.I. sent inquiries to a wide variety of connections with hopes of building a
support network for the project, and this effort proved incredibly useful for its duration and even
beyond. For instance, the Artists Collectivea cultural arts center where the P.I. also teaches
once a weekoffered its beautiful facility for the performance without charge because of the
chance to use the event as a recruitment opportunity. Located in the same neighborhood as
Milner and just down the street from West Hartford, the venue was perfectly situated and
perfectly aligned with this multicultural event, as well as being a positive resource for families to
learn about. The program director there even invited the students back for a performance later
this year, which will be a good opportunity to continue these new relationships and see how they
grow over time. Similarly, the incredible support from both the principal at STA and the
administration at Catholic Charities led to full access of the STA music room, staff shifts at
Milner, free transportation for Milner students, limitless craft supplies, and a full audience at the
performance. Parents from STA were also particularly helpful, and many contributed snacks in
addition to covering all of their own transportation. Overall, the project could not have been as
positive an experience for participants without the support from all of these connections, and
replicating a project like this would certainly benefit from reaching out to similar resources.
Inconsistency. Along with these successful elements, several challenges arose
throughout the project that may unfortunately limit some of its effectiveness, reliability, and
validity. The first of these issues stems both from the nature of working with two very different

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

46

schools (one specifically known for its volatile environment), as well as elements of poor design.
With only 23 total students involved and only six weeks allotted for the project, absences and
schedule changes affected interactions (and therefore data) significantly. For instance, one STA
student and three Milner students were absent during the first week of the project, during which
the pre-assessment and baseline trust game took place. Similarly, chronic absenteeism at Milner
is an existing challenge that resulted in several Game Group students never meeting their
partners during the project, as well as several students missing out on key interactions between
groups. Designing the project to last for just six weeks helped with syncing school calendars and
quickly building momentum, but also led to relatively thin data with uncertain validity.
Along these lines, assessment inconsistency proved to be another challenge during the
project. Although the P.I. weighed the pros and cons of doing the trust assessments as a group
activity, she did not consider the effects of playing the trust game as a group versus individually.
As such, the first group trust games proved rather raucous and dysfunctionala source of
conflict and confusion more than constructive discussion. These issues only escalated
(particularly at Milner) as students gained a better grasp of the game, which led the P.I. to shift
toward asking individuals for their suggested giftthen averaging these out within each group.
Although this shift occurred both at Milner and at STA, the change in methods could have
created inconsistent data that needs to be accounted for. Similarly, the students at Milner
completely refused to do the final Trust Assessment using the poster method and therefore ended
up completing written surveys individuallyanother anomaly that could lead to inconsistent
data. Since qualitative observations showed signs of increasing trust throughout the project, the
fact that the quantitative data generally suggested otherwise affirms some level of data
inconsistency.

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

47

Finally, the last concern regarding inconsistency revolved around the fact that the Game
Group and Music Group were not completely distinct. Although students were very clearly
assigned to one or the other and interacted only with members of the same group, students from
both groups interacted with each other during all of their school group classes. In other words,
the Music Group and Game Group for each school were in the same classroom for all of the
remote interactionsoften watching each other write letters, rehearse, create crafts, etc. for their
penpals. Similarly, a handful of the Game Group students ended up needing to attend the Music
Groups rehearsal and performancetechnically meaning that they were involved in
musicking as part of the audience. Even the fact that all of the students, regardless of their
group, are self-identified violinists contributes to the fuzzy boundary between groupsan
overlap that unfortunately hinders the validity of data and should be removed as much as
possible in any project replications.
Unbalanced Communication. In addition to more consistent attendance, assessment,
and groups, improving communication throughout the project could also have improved its
effectiveness. For instance, most of the students from STA latched onto the idea of having
penpals without ever fully grasping that the purpose of the project went far beyond just writing to
one another. For the Game Group, this misconception was passable, but it seemed to hinder buyin even from the Music Group when we began rehearsing for the performance and meeting other
students in personcreating mixed reactions about the lack of letters and increase in
interactions. On the other hand, students at Milner were entirely unenthusiastic about both
writing and interacting with other students in general, such that many resisted the entire idea of
the project up until actually meeting the other students. Seeing the STA students transition from
enthusiasm to mere acceptance, while the Milner students transitioned from opposition to

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

48

enjoyment, signaled the need for better preparation in any future endeavors like this. Even
having students learn repertoire specifically for this performance could have more effectively
communicated a common goal and helped to increase buy-in for students from both Music
Groups.
Because of the longstanding relationship between Milner participants and P.I., another
communication issue took the form of unbalanced feedback. As the main source of transportation
for only the Milner students, the P.I. observed and facilitated valuable discussions surrounding
each event that were not counterbalanced by similar communication with STA students. In
contrast, communication with STA parents occurred on a weekly basis, while communication
with Milner parents always occurred through letters sent through students, if at all. Regularly
debriefing at both schools could have benefited students and provided the P.I. with more even
insight. These unbalances were in many ways unavoidable due to the nature of these programs,
but greater effort should be made in any replicated projects to communicate with parents and
students from both schools equally, as well as communicating more effectively about the project
before it even begins.

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

49

CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSION
Summary
With the successful elements of this project not fully
compensating for the challenges faced (particularly in terms of

Key Findings

unbalanced communication and inconsistencies), the resulting

General trends:

data potentially suffered from questionable validity and


reliability. Yet the overall findings indicate that interactions in
general and musicking in particular had either negative or
negligible effects on levels of trust between groups with different
socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
According to the Trust Game, overall trust decreased in
the Music Group from 55% to 21%, with the STA music
subgroup showing the greatest decrease (from 100% to 6%) and
the Milner music subgroup showing the only steady increase
(10% to 35%). In contrast, the Trust Assessments showed trust
increasing by 11% for the Music Groupan average that
included a whopping 24% increase in generalized trust and a 2%
decrease in particularized trust. Similar trends emerged for the
Game Group (control group) as well, in that trust declined from
80% to 44% in the Trust Game and only increased by 12% based
on the Trust Assessments. Furthermore, the data revealed
interesting nuances between the two schools as well, which
although not the intended scope of this studymerit attention.

Sharp initial decrease in trust


for both groups
Sustained lower trust levels for
both groups
Slight nuances by group and by
school
Key exceptions:
Music Group at Milneroverall
trust level increasing (TG)
Music Groupgeneralized trust
increasing significantly (TA)
Music Groupparticularized
trust decreasing significantly
(TA)
Game Groupoverall trust level
increasing (TA)
Milner students trust level
increasing significantly (TA)
Milner students identity-based
trust increasing significantly (TA)
Key notes:
TG shows overall decline, while
TA shows overall increase
Milner students initially showed
very low levels of trust, which
then declined very little.
STA students initially showed
very high levels of trust, which
declined drastically to align with
Milner levels (TA and TG)
TG: Trust Game
TA: Trust Assessment

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

50

All trust levels at Milner began much lower than those at STA and only slightly decreased over
time (or even increased, according to the Trust Assessment data), while trust levels at STA began
very high and plummeted drastically until hovering close to the trust levels at Milner. In short,
the general trend for quantitative trust levels included some kind of initial decline and gradual
tapering, with a handful of interesting exceptionsforemost of which included a gradual
increase in trust among the Music Group from Milner.
Discussion
Needless to say, the results from this research study were not nearly as clear, nor as
positive, as expectedeven in many ways contradicting the hope that musicking would increase
trust between students from very different communities. Such divergence begs the question
why? On one hand, some of these confusing results could stem from methodology
compromised by inconsistencies and unbalanced communicationthe result of unforeseen
issues (such as Trust Game drama) and insurmountable challenges (such as frequent
absenteeism). This would explain some of the contradictions between the two types of
quantitative data and even between the quantitative and qualitative data. Moreover, it would also
shift the main contribution of this project from an understanding of how musicking affects trust
to an understanding of how to conduct more effective research on the subjecta topic that is
covered more fully in the following section.
On the other hand, some of these baffling results could also be quite valid despite their
counterintuitive nature, which necessitates further investigation to catch insights that might
otherwise escape unnoticed. To begin with, when students knew only the name of their partner
school and engaged in the initial Trust Game and Trust Assessment, trust levels were much
higher at STA than at Miner, where the highest levels of trust were in the My Community and

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

51

Myself categories; such data seemed to affirm what existing research has found about lower
socioeconomic communities perceiving higher levels of threat among outsiders (Rodenborg &
Boisen, 2012) and displaying more bonding capital than bridging capital (Putnam, 2000).
Similarly, the subsequent plunge in trust (particularly among STA students) once students
exchanged letters and recordings aligned with research that has found diversity to have negative
short-term effects on relationships (Putman, 2000)often because of bias from whites toward
nonwhites (Abascal & Baldassarri, 2015). Once students learned about their differences,
interactions suddenly became heterophilous, or between two seemingly unlike social groups
(Lin, 2001), and therefore marked by distrust toward the out-groups (Freitag & Bauer, 2013).
Such identity-based trust is exactly the tool that this study aimed to then utilize through
musicking, but it seems possible that the intended third culture never developed enough to affect
trust. If so, this deficiency may not only stem from an insufficient length of project time, but also
from insufficient conditions for intergroup contact. If students did not experience equal status,
common goals, cooperation between groups, and authority support within the musicking context,
the chances of their interactions reducing anxiety, increasing knowledge of the other group, and
increasing their ability to see the other groups perspective would have been inherently limited as
well (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006). Without these mechanisms, no cultural integration would occur,
and trust levels would remain the same as between completely distinct and disconnected
communities (Leuthold, 2011)much like the data from this project seemed to show.
If these findings truly reflect just the mere beginnings of cultural integration, then we find
implications not only for structuring similar research projects, but also for the effects that
musicking may have specifically in these early stages of third culture development. According to
this data, musicking seemed to affect three subgroups in particularmaking them the first

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

52

responders that may benefit from additional study. First, the Trust Assessment revealed a
significant increase in generalized trust for the Music Groupa change found to correlate
strongly with social capital in general. Second, trust levels among the Music Group at Milner
increased steadily throughout each round of the Trust Gamea change that stood in stark
contrast to the general decline found among the other subgroups. Third, the Trust Assessment
revealed that Milner students in general showed a significant increase in overall trust, which
although possibly not felt specifically toward the STA students
(as seen by a simultaneously decline in the Trust Game)again
stood in sharp contrast to declining levels at STA and even a
startlingly low trust level at first. Noting these three anomalies
sheds light onto ways in which musicking may act as a catalyst
for bridging multicultural communities, in that trust seems to
increase first among the Music Groups and especially for
students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

First Responders
Musicking seemed to impact trust for
these three groups first:
1. Music Group: increased
generalized trust
2. Milner Music Group: increased
particularized trust
3. Milner: increased trust overall

Recommendations
In light of these findings and the various potential reasons for them, this project first and
foremost recommends some basic structural changes for similar endeavors. These begin with
extending the project length well beyond six weeksideally to several months or longer, if
possible. Similarly, incorporating as many in-person interactions as possible would most likely
create a more solid connection between musicking and its effects, while designing a simple
repertoire specifically for this project would build additional solidarity between the groups.
Keeping the control group and Music Group completely separate, as well as comprised of a
smaller age range, would have a similar effect by not tainting the control group with musicking

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

53

activities; such clarity and consistency should also apply to assessment styles, with one approach
chosen and maintained throughout the project. Based on this project, averaging individual
suggestions seemed to be most effective for the Trust Game, while filling out written Trust
Assessments (with the teacher reading each statement aloud if necessary) also seemed to provide
the most accurate responses. Communication should be clear throughout the project, so that
students understand both what to expect and the importance of their roles. Moreover, both groups
should have some form of debrief after the project ends, if not after every in-person interaction,
in order to settle any anxiety, reemphasize the shared goals, and gather more qualitative data.
Constant communicationparticularly through these debriefsstrengthens the conditions
needed for positive intergroup contact, in that students can absorb the common goal, register
authority support, and feel equally heard throughout the process. In fact, even including an
assessment that specifically measures these conditions would help the project become as
effective as possible.
In addition to these logistical recommendations, this project also calls researchers and
professionals to pay (or continue paying) close attention to the first responders when studying
and implementing programs that connect diverse communities through musicking. Even before a
third culture fully emerges between the distinct groups involved, trust may already be increasing
for participants from lower socioeconomic backgroundsa positive shift that should be fostered
as intentionally as possible. Although musicking seems to affect trust in a much slower and more
confounded way than anticipated, the fact that this kind of community in particular seemed so
receptive to these effects is certainly an encouragement for those seeking to bring about
restorative justice. However, even while seeking to cultivate trust (and more specifically the
benefits that accompany it) among more isolated communities, the results from this study should

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

54

also prompt researchers and practitioners alike to find ways of promoting trust even among
communities with more resourcescompensating for the relative delay that they seem to exhibit
when interacting with members of different communities. Bridges are much more effective and
efficient when members from both sides are engaged in the process, and building a new third
culture is far too vast an undertaking for only one side to achieve successfully. As such, we must
use the findings from this research to further investigate and implement ways of engaging both
cultures in the creation of a new third culture.
Contribution
As Kneten (2007) quoted from the eloquent Dr. Max Bendiner, Music may achieve the
highest of all missions: She may be a bond between nations, races, and states who are strangers
to one another in many ways; she may unite what is disunited and bring peace to what is hostile
(p.3). If relationships are as foundational to our lives as research and lived experience
consistently imply, then perhaps the greatest of all missions is indeed to foster healthy
connections between those with whom we share this world. As Social Capital Theory argues,
such relationships can beget a host of both personal and societal benefitseverything from
financial capital through more resources (Putnam, 2000) to spiritual capital through deeper
meaning and purpose (Zohar and Marshall, 2004). Yet this world is marked increasingly by
disconnect, such that even communities in the most densely populated urban areasso ripe with
potential for multicultural connectionscan be completely unaware of or even hostile toward
their neighbors. In fact, research consistently confirms that despite its potentially
disproportionate importance for at-risk low-income communities, social capital that bridges
diverse communities is the most difficult and least available kind of social capital overall. As
Lopez and Stack (2001) noted, the type of bridging capital most commonly discussed, although

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

55

seldom used is that which connects poor and affluent communities, despite the fact that
cooperative relationships across communities cultivate a sense of common identity that can
sustain a national commitment to alleviate poverty (p.12).
In light of this clear problem, this research project attempted to strategically employ an
innovative tool that has proven its potential both in practice and in theoryyet rarely through
both combined. Taking part in a musical performance, or the process that Small (1999) called
musicking, has been shown not only to impact individuals positively, but also to foster
connections between even the most differentor even antagonisticgroups of people. By
establishing a third culture, or a separate in-group, that transcends existing social categories,
musicking may be able to initiate a bridge between even the most diverse social groups
breaking down the hostility, unawareness, and overall disconnect that plague our society. Along
these lines, Lopez and Stack (2001) wrote regarding a shared citizenship:
Certain types of cultural citizenship strengthen bonds between community members,
build bridges between low-income communities and affluent groups, and facilitate the
synergy of civil and civic institutions on the local and national levels. Redefining cultural
citizenship more inclusively is crucial if we hope to change the negative impact of
cultural-racial politics on social capital in this country. (p.33)
Acting as a bridge between two distinct cultures, this third arts-based culture could increase trust
between communities, additional resources, and even quality of life. It could open the door not
only to increased tangible resources, but to increased capability, which Sen (2009) argued to be a
pivotal part of justice and reducing poverty (p.235). Moreover, the great theologian Howard
Thurman (1976) even wrotein reference to a revolutionary meeting ground between the vastly
disconnected oppressed and oppressorthat The first step toward love is a common sharing of

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES


a sense of mutual worth and value (p.98). In acting as a catalyst for this common cultural
identity, musicking may hold an important key for a brighter future in our world.

56

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57

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APPENDIX A: CONSENT AND ASSENT FORMS


Study Title: Bridging Multicultural Communities through Musicking
Researcher: Caitlin Leffingwell, Masters in Urban Studies Program, cleffing@eastern.edu,
(774) 287-1042.
Introduction: Your child is being asked to take part in a research study carried out by Caitlin
Leffingwell, a graduate student at Eastern University in the Department of Urban Studies. This
form explains the research study and your childs part in it if s/he decides to join the study.
Review this consent form thoroughly. Ask the researcher to explain anything you dont
understand. You may also contact the Institutional Review Board at IRB@eastern.edu. If your
child chooses to join the study, s/he may change his/her mind and withdraw at any time. This
study has been reviewed for approval by the Eastern University Institutional Review Board.
What does this study address?
The purpose of this study is to better understand how performing music together increases trust
and healthy connections between individuals from diverse cultural and socioeconomic
backgrounds.
What is required of participants in this study?
Attendance at our usual group classes for the duration of the study (2/21 4/2).
Attendance at one rehearsal, one field trip, and one performance after school hours (a
suitable time and location to be determined with family input). Transportation or
transportation reimbursement available as needed.
Interaction with students from various cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds
Written and recorded communication with other students (pen pal letters, videos
introducing themselves, and videos of the group practicing)
Participation in an assessment game every other week during group classes
How does my child benefit from this study?
Development of important life skills, including cross-cultural communication, teamwork,
perseverance, creativity, self-control, empathy, and confidence
Development of key musical skills, including better intonation, playing in an ensemble,
performance etiquette, practice routines, and musical expression
Unique and rewarding interactions with fellow musicianslots of fun with new friends!
What are the challenges of participating in this study?
Social discomfort while working with diverse individuals
Commitment to attending the group rehearsal, field trip, and performance (approximately
2 hours each)
Is there any compensation for this study?
Families may apply for transportation assistance (see below) if otherwise unable to attend
activities after school hours. Assistance is only available for students attending ALL of
the in-school and extracurricular activities for this project.

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65

Students will be sharing tickets throughout the project as part of the assessment game,
and they will be able to exchange these for small prizes during the final performance.

Audio/Video Recording and Photographs

Throughout the project, students will have opportunities to communicate through video
recordings and pictures taken and shared during class. These recordings will always be in
the sole possession and control of the principal investigator (Caitlin Leffingwell), and
they will only be shared with students in her presence.
Recordings and photos may be included in published material, but will have no personal
identifiers attached.
Recordings and photos will be stored on a secure device and will be destroyed by 6/1/17.
Participants will not be guaranteed rights to inspect, approve, or receive compensation for
usage of recordings or photos.

How is confidentiality maintained?

While participants will not be anonymous in the context of interactions with one another,
all published responses from their assessments will use randomized initials rather than
any real names.
Published statements and/or images will not be associated with names or any other
information that can be used for identification.

Participant Bill of Rights


The rights below are the rights of every person who is asked to be in a study. In participating as a
human subject, you have the following rights:
1. To be told what this study is trying to find out;
2. To be told what will happen to you and whether any of the procedures, drugs or devices
are different from what would be used in standard practice;
3. To be told about the frequent and/or important risks, side effects or discomforts of the
things that will happen to you for research purpose;
4. To be told if you can expect any benefit from participating, and, if so, what the benefits
might be;
5. To be told of the other choices you have and how they may be better or worse than being
in the study;
6. To be allowed to ask any questions concerning the study both before agreeing to be
involved and during the course of the study;
Your time and consideration is much appreciated!

Caitlin Leffingwell, clef356@gmail.com, (774) 287-1042

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66

Consent Statement
I have read the above statements and have decided to allow my child to participate in the study
according to terms outlined above.
Your childs name: _____________________________________
Your signature: ________________________________________ Date _____________
Your printed name: _____________________________________ Date _____________
Signature of person obtaining consent: ______________________ Date _____________
Printed name of person obtaining consent: ___________________ Date _____________

Recordings and Photographs Release


Please sign below if you are willing to allow your child to be recorded (video and pictures). He
or she may still participate in this study if not. Recordings will be used as explained above.
I do not want my student to be recorded during class.
I am willing to allow my student to be recorded during class:
Signed: _________________________________ Date: _________________
Transportation Assistance Application
All three extracurricular activities will last for approximately two hours each and take place
either in Hartford or West Hartford, CT. Exact time and locations will be determined after
consulting with participating families, and all reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate
scheduling and transportation needs. Students must attend all project activities to be eligible for
transportation assistance.
Address: _________________________________________________________________
Phone: ______________________________ Email: __________________________
Primary form of transportation: ___________________________ (ie. bus, car, walking, etc.)
My child can participate only if transportation assistance is provided
If yes, I would prefer
Transportation for my child to events (via school vehicles)
Transportation reimbursement (a $10 gas card or bus passes)

Yes

No

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67

Child Assent Form


We are doing a study to learn about how different activities help people become friends even if
they come from different cultures and different places.
If you agree to be in our study, we are going to ask you to interact with students from a different
school by sending them notes, pictures, crafts, and even videos. They will send back similar
activities, and we will continue sharing new experiences during group class for about two
months. Every other week, we will also play a game and have a discussion that helps us
understand how much we trust each other.
You can ask questions about this study at any time. If you decide at any time not to finish, you
can decide not to continue.
The questions we will ask are only about what you think. There are no right or wrong answers
because this is not a test.
If you sign this paper, it means that you have read this and that you want to be in the study. If
you dont want to be in the study, dont sign this paper. Being in the study is up to you, and no
one will be upset if you dont sign this paper or if you change your mind later.
Your signature: _____________________________________ Date _____________
Your printed name: __________________________________ Date _____________
Signature of person obtaining consent____________________ Date _____________
Name of person obtaining consent_______________________ Date _____________

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68

APPENDIX B: TRUST ASSESSMENT


This trust assessment will be administered to the entire class by the P.I. during Weeks 1
and 6. Posters labelled with each of the 5 response options will be displayed in order on the
classroom floor, and students will walk behind whichever poster best matches their response
after each statement is read aloud. The entire activity will be recorded, so that researchers can
then code and analyze the data.
Strongly
agree
People can be trusted
If I needed help, most people would help
me
People think about themselves before
thinking about others
I trust people in my community
Most people in my community will try to
take advantage of others
People in my community trust each other
People in my community are not willing
to help if needed
I feel safe around people in my
community
I trust people from other communities
I trust people who speak a different
language than me
I trust people from other cultures
I trust people from my culture
I trust teachers
I trust the police
I trust shopkeepers
I trust nurses and doctors
I trust strangers
Others can trust me
If I could help someone else, I would
I need to look out for myself first, before
helping others
I would lend one of my toys to someone
from a different community
It is good to be around people who are
different from me
I get along with people from different
cultures

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly
disagree

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69

APPENDIX C: TRUST GAME


The Trust Game will be administered by the P.I. during weeks 1, 3, and 5, but without
students knowing which exchange is their last. Tokens can be anything from raffle tickets to fake
coins to monopoly dollars, as they will be used to purchase small prizes and snacks after the
project is completed. The purpose of this activity is to measure levels of trust between groups
over time and to build relationships between the two classes.

Instructions Script:
Hello everyone, and welcome to week one of our project! We will begin our interactions
with students from [name other school] through something called the Trust Game.
To begin, I will give both the Game Group and the Music Group 10 tokens. At the end of
our project, your group will be able to use these tokens to purchase small prizes and treats during
class. This first week, however, we have a decision to make. You can decide within your group
to donate tokens to your partner group at [name of other school]. If you do so, I will double your
donation and bring the tokens to them. They will then have the opportunity to make the same
decisionpotentially returning a donation that will also be doubled.
For instance, if this Game Group decides to give 5 of their tokens to the other Game
Group, I will double the donation and give them 10 tokens. They will then have 10 tokens and
can decide to give some to you. If they decide to give 5 tokens back as well, you will receive
double that (10) and end up with a total of 15 tokens to spend once our project is done.
You have 5 minutes to discuss within your group if you would like to give tokens to the
other group and, if so, how many. Your decision should include input from everyone in your
group. Are there any questions? Lets begin!

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES


APPENDIX D: PENPAL LETTERS
Instructions Script:
The first step toward meeting our new friends from [name of other school] is to write
letters introducing ourselves. For both groups, these letters should include your name, age, and
any other fun facts youd like to share about yourself. You can even include questions that you
may have for the other students, as they will have a chance to reply later this week.
For the Music Group only, please include your favorite music and how long youve
played the violin.
For the Game Group only, please include your favorite sports or games and favorite
food.
Examples (names removed) of initial game group and music group letters, respectively.

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BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES


APPENDIX E: DEMOGRAPHICS SURVEY
This survey can be administered as a traditional written or oral survey, but students can also
create group posters to gather, display, and interact regarding the information (see example
below).
Name: ____________________
Age: _____________________
Gender: __________________
Ethnicity/Ethnicities: _____________________________
Language(s) spoken fluently: ______________________________________
Current City/Town: _____________________________
Previous City/Town/Country: __________________________

Example of game group poster from one school (names removed):

71

Running Head: Bridging Multicultural Communities


APPENDIX F: SCAVENGER HUNT ACTIVITY

Scavenger Hunt
Take a video of your group

Doing 20 jumping jacks


Reciting the alphabet
Reading 1 page of any book with a funny voice
Catching something fuzzy
Poking something shiny
Telling a story with hand motions
Pointing to your favorite color with your elbow
Teaching someone else a dance move

**Everyone must be included in the recording!**


Created by Caitlin Leffingwell - 2016

BRIDING MULTICULTURAL COMMUNITIES

Scavenger Hunt
Take a video of your group

Unpacking your violin


Naming 5 parts of the violin
Standing in excellent rest position
Bowing together
Playing the Mississippi Stop. Stop rhythm
Getting to playing position (V-Step, Bowhold, and Violins
Up!)
Playing the Ready-Go Game with the A Major Scale
**Everyone must be included in the recording!**
Created by Caitlin Leffingwell - 2016

Running Head: Bridging Multicultural Communities


APPENDIX G: DATA ANALYSIS

Numeric Coding
Strongly Disagree: 0

Disagree: 1

Neutral: 2

Agree: 3

Strongly Disagree: 4

Answers to any questions marked in red were assigned the opposite score, as these questions were worded as negative statements.

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