Samba and Choro in the Classroom

Enculturation at Colégio Pedro II (São Cristóvão)


  • Colin Harte CUNY-Queens College



samba, choro, enculturation, Brazil, music education


This article examines how the performance of samba and choro becomes a process of student enculturation within a Brazilian formal educational context. Musical enculturation is defined as the process of gaining music skills and knowledge through immersion in the music making and music of one’s social environment. While the processes of enculturation involve both formal and informal education, this study primarily focuses upon the formal instruction at Colégio Pedro II (São Cristóvão), a federally funded public school in Rio de Janeiro. This research shows that samba and choro were selected by Colégio Pedro II music instructors as culturally important musical forms representative of Rio de Janeiro, historically excluded from formal, public education. The recent inclusion of samba and choro in formal education was made possible by progressive, post-1988, Brazilian educational legislation. I argue that the teaching of samba and choro in the school environment provides students with the necessary participatory skills to engage with the rich musical traditions of samba and choro that are pervasive in Rio de Janeiro as cultivated through the enculturative processes demonstrated at Colégio Pedro II (São Cristóvão) grupo de samba and grupo de choro.

Author Biography

Colin Harte, CUNY-Queens College

Colin Harte earned his PhD in Ethnomusicology at the University of Florida’s School of Music, where he founded and performed with the UF Irish Traditional Music Ensemble. He earned his MA in Educational Leadership from CUNY-Hunter College in 2018. He received his MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick. As a NYC Teaching Fellow, he received an MA in Education from CUNY-Lehman College while teaching band, general music and percussion ensemble at a Bronx, public middle school. He currently teaches ethnomusicology courses for CUNY-Iris Studies/Music depts. He also teaches world music curriculum for the NYCDOE at KAPPA High School in the north Bronx where he directs a 50 student West-African percussion ensemble, keyboard lab, world music courses and music technology courses with the school recording studio.


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How to Cite

Harte, C. (2020). Samba and Choro in the Classroom : Enculturation at Colégio Pedro II (São Cristóvão). Journal of World Popular Music, 7(1), 10–30.