05 | An Authority Uses African-American Music to Provide Cultural Insights
"Music is like food,” says Afro-Ethnic Studies lecturer Stan Breckenridge. “If you understand it, it provides great insight into another culture.” He uses musical forms from gospel to ragtime and from spirituals to hip-hop to help Fullerton students gain insight into African-American culture. In fall 2005, he became a Fulbright Scholar in Poland, teaching courses in the history of rock music, African-American music appreciation, and African-Americans in the performing arts.
Breckenridge grew up in a household filled with music; he recalls his family walking
around singing hymns. But in the late 1960s, his perspective broadened as he joined a prize-winning, Motown-influenced singing group that appeared on television and in concert tours. His exposure to new forms of music prompted him to change his focus of study at Cal State Fullerton from choral conducting to musicology.
“Working with students of ethnically and culturally different backgrounds is a rewarding experience for me at Cal State Fullerton,“ he comments. “When it comes down to it, education is about understanding and appreciating different people for their contributions to humanity.”