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Throughout the ages, the primary objectives of education has been the transmission of a society’s modes of heritage – its heritage of ideas, beliefs, thoughts, values, forms of knowledge and skills as well as its work of art in the plastic, visual and sound media. Custodians of musical knowledge in traditional societies have tendedto emphasize this objective, while their modern counterparts, with a much more refined philosophy of educational, seek the development of potentials in teaching programmes. This research project examines the worth of Igbo traditional music, with emphasison the folk songs of Ibagwa-Aka. It explores the general awareness of the customs and institutions of Ibagwa-Aka people, as well as their uses as a medium of instruction in the formal system of education. The work also reflects on the general objectives of education and finally makes recommendations for the expansion of music education through the normal school curriculum and extra-curricular activities, for the benefit of the Nigerian youths.










1.1       Background of the Study

To the African, music is not just an art for enjoyment; rather, it is a way of life. Africans see music as an activity that must come into any aspect of life without which that aspect of life is not complete. A typical African has musical experiences from birth to death, and the same is true of Ibagwa-Aka in Igbo-Eze South Local Government area of Enugu State. Such activities like working, child-birth, festivals, farming, funeral, marriage, initiation, naming ceremonies, and all other social occasions and religious workshop are associated with one type of cultural music or another. The objective of this research project is to assess the educational values of Igbo traditional music, with emphasis on the folk songs of Ibagwa-Aka in Igbo-Eze South Local Government area of Enugu State.

The Igbo are always recognized by their culture, this can be seen through material things which includes their arts, crafts, the furniture in homes and in other activities such as religious, beliefs, family life, ways of spending leisure, dialects of the Igbo languages spoken, dress, social life, political organization, music and dance.

Blom (1954), defines folk music as “any music which has entered into the heritage of people but cannot be assigned to any particular composer schools or as a rule even period and as a type of music which has been submitted for many generations, in the process of oral transmission” it incorporates folksongs, folkdances and instruments.

The Ibagwa-Aka community believes that music is life and also a way of life. They see music as being important in all aspects of life. The folk songs of Ibagwa-Aka have been selected as the subject of the study because they represent a medium of cultural expression of Igbo people. The folk songs of Ibagwa-Aka also serve as one of the agents of socialization in that they inculcate some high moral standards in the life of the people of Ibagwa-Aka right from each individual’s childhood, Ibagwa-Aka is a town in Igbo-Eze South Local Government area of Enugu State with a population of about 86,998 people (1991 National Census). They speak a slightly different dialect from the Igbo recognized as the central Igbo language, Ibagwa-Aka is bounded in the east by Iheakph-Awka, in the west by Itch; it shares a common boundaries with Enugu –Ezike in the north and Obukpa in the south.

The folk songs of Ibagwa-Aka play very significant roles in the education of the people. People acquire education in many different ways: from parent to children, brothers or peer to peer. In Ibagwa-Aka music (folk songs) is recognized as a direct and indirect instructional medium. According to Okafor (1989:40), apart from the enjoyment one gets from listening to Igbo flok songs, one can also learn from them.

Most of the Igbo folk songs are as old as the Igbo themselves. They are handed down from generation to generation. This study will attempt to document some of these songs.


1.2       Need for the Study

The need for this study is to determine the educational values of Igbo folk music with emphasis on the folk songs of Ibagwa-Aka, specifically, the study seeks to

  1. Find out the worth of Igbo folk songs in imparting knowledge.
  2. Identify the uses of Igbo folk songs as a medium of instruction in the educational system.
  3. Investigate the uses and functions of folk songs in order to highlight the culture and customs of the Igbo.
  4. Classify the folk songs according to their educational values in order to identify the level at which specific knowledge is inculcated in traditional Igbo society.
  5. Collect and translate the Igbo dialect in the song texts into English so that the non-Igbo speaking people would also have the opportunity to appreciate this aspect of Igbo culture.


1.3 Significance of the Study

The significance of this study lies in the fact that Ibagwa-Aka folk songs are very popular and acceptable traditional music in Igbo land. They will help music teachers in the schools to improve upon the teaching/learning situation in Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area of Enugu state. Most importantly, a study on the educational values of Ibagwa-Aka folk song will enable the researcher, a music teacher, to emphasize he use of these resources to enhance the teaching/learning of music in the area under study.

This study, which involves the investigation into the use and functions of Ibagwa-Aka folk songs, will enable the researcher to highlight the culture of the Igbo. The study will be beneficial to teachers of music, school administrators and students who will understand clearly the link between the values of folk and the success of music teaching/learning. The study will also provide information to other researchers in the field as this work does not in any way exhaust all that could really be done on the subject.


1.4 Personal Motivation

The researcher was motivated to research on the subject due to the lack of attention given to it. The study will help the researcher in understanding more deeply the educational values of igbo folk music, it will also afford he the opportunity of discovering and knowing the Igbo folk songs which will in turn help her to face the challenges that may come the researcher’s way in future as a music teacher.


1.5 Scope of the Study

This study is carried out in Ibagwa-Aka community. It examines the educational values of their folk songs. While it covers Igbo folk music, it is limited in scope to the folk songs to save time and financial costs.


1.6 Definition of Some Terms

(A) Education: according to Fafunwa (1974:20), education is the process by which the community seeks to open its life to all the individuals within it to enable them to take part in it. It attempts to pass on to them its culture, including the standard by which it would have them live.

Also, Jowitt (1958:48) states that education is the effective organization of man’s experience so that his tendencies and powers may develop in a manner satisfactory to himself and to the community in which he lives.

The researcher therefore agrees with the above definitions since education has to do with the organization of the individual’s experiences within his community. These experiences include his culture, standard of living etc, in order to be useful to himself and the community he lives.

(B) Values: These are forms of manifestation of society’s moral relations. First, it has a moral meaning: the worth of the individual and his deeds of the moral characteristics of social institutions. Secondly, value has to do with wise concepts which are formed in moral consciousness, moral standards, principles, ideals, concepts or good and evil, justice and happiness (Iyceyeona, 1999:431).

(C) Folk music: Nettl(1965:2) says that folk music is the music transmitted by oral tradition and its originality is unknown. He further states that folk music may originate anywhere but it is normally created by untrained, non-professional musicians and performed by singers and players with little or no theoretical background of music. He concluded by saying that folk song is frequently old and is associated with other activities in life and also serves as a form of entertainment.

(D) Folk song: Operaji (1955:2) states that: folk songs cover a vast array of musical styles, but is most commonly used to refer to a narrative song that uses traditional melodies to speak on a particular topic. Often, topical folk songs address social and political issues such as work, wars and popular opinion.

1.8 Research Methodology

The study used primary and secondary sources. The primary source consisted of the survey method which included oral interviews with some elderly persons in the research area, transcription and translation of the selected folk songs. The secondary sources data based on published materials, newspapers, magazine reports and articles.

The population of the research study consisted of the adult and children from Ibagwa-Aka.the researcher’s personal experience and interaction with the culture and people of the Igbo nation have helped this work immensely. The researcher, as an indigene of Ibagwa-Aka and as a child and young adult, grew up and participated in musical activities within this culture. This has afforded her an understanding of the musical culture of her people from which she derives the materials used in this study.