Where is the learning between young people, teachers, and professional musicians? A study of learning cultures within three music education partnership projects in England.

Nenadic, Emma (2023) Where is the learning between young people, teachers, and professional musicians? A study of learning cultures within three music education partnership projects in England. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

Emma Nenadic PhD Thesis published_Final version_Submitted Mar 2023_Final Award Jul 2023.pdf - Accepted Version

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Music education partnership projects (MEPPs) between schools and music organisations are a familiar form of enrichment which can open up new creative pathways. While professional musician involvement in education settings is not new, partnerships have become increasingly important. Despite the prevalence of and investment in partnership initiatives, there is limited research that explores participants’ experiences of learning in these contexts. Barriers include: a lack of communication and reflective practice; a culture of ‘victory narratives’; limited youth voice and competing partner agendas. Against this backdrop, social practices within MEPPs and the impact of MEPPs on learning is under researched, creating a cycle whereby learning, and how best to facilitate it, is commonly overlooked. In order to develop a richer understanding of learning within this phenomenon this research asks: where is the learning between young people, teachers, and professional musicians during MEPPs?

To explore this further, research centred on a qualitative multiple case study of three MEPPs. MEPP1 aimed to support the development of a new school choir in a primary school while supporting one teacher’s choir leadership skills. MEPP2 and MEPP3 centred on young people composing music in collaboration with professional musicians. All three MEPPs culminated in sharing events in prestigious concert halls. Data were obtained through participant observations, document analysis, and semi-structured interviews with children and young people (YP), teachers, musicians, music organisation learning and participation (L&P) staff, and staff from partnering sponsors/charities. Following this, four elite interviews with leaders from Arts Council England, Youth Music, Arts Connect and one Music Education Hub (MEH) were conducted to gain broader perspectives on partnership working.

The concept ‘learning cultures’, in other words, social practices through which people learn, supports analysis of MEPP participants’ learning. This is theoretically underpinned by Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, capital, and field, which permits understandings of learning within MEPPs as influenced by multiple structural, contextual, and individual factors. The need for this theoretical approach is amplified in the context of MEPPs which, being at intersection of the music education and professional music fields, accommodate multiple institutions and individuals as well as multiple motivations, goals, and values. Key aspects which impact learning cultures within MEPPs include teacher identity, power relations, knowledge integration, access to authentic learning environments, legacy, communication, roles, and contextual awareness. There is a general consensus that practices of performing in prestigious venues and practices of modelling professional musicians are key benefits of MEPPs. Drawing on the empirical findings, this study concludes with a discussion on how to build effective learning cultures in future MEPPs.

Altogether it is hoped that this study will inform efficacy in music education partnership working, raise awareness of the multidimensional nature of learning within MEPPs, and contribute to growing international research on collaborative music projects in schools.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
4 March 2023Submitted
31 July 2023Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Music education, partnership working, learning, musician-teacher collaboration, learning cultures, music education partnership projects.
Subjects: CAH22 - education and teaching > CAH22-01 - education and teaching > CAH22-01-01 - education
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Education and Social Work
Depositing User: Jaycie Carter
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2023 14:28
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2023 14:28
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14711

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