The learning ensemble: musical learning through participation

Henley, Jennie (2009) The learning ensemble: musical learning through participation. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.


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This thesis is an examination of the learning processes employed by adults who learn to play an instrument within an ensemble. The alms of the research were threefold. Firstly, to discover how a person learns in a group and what the role of the socio-cultural environment is in learning. Secondly, to investigate the role that identity plays in learning and whether the students regard themselves as musicians. Finally, to explore the role of the performance in the musical learning process.

The research has been carried out using case-study research and a four-year autoethnographic study. The theoretical framework is provided by literature from the fields of cultural psychology, music psychology and adult learning. Activity Theory has been used as the main analytical tool.

The discussion firstly considers the learning process in order to construct an activity system of musical learning within an ensemble. Then, using this activity system, the motivational factors inherent in the learning ensemble and the role of Identity In generating motivation are considered. Through analysing motivation and Identity in relation to the activity system, I have demonstrated how the activity system can be developed into a three-dimensional system by Incorporating Identity as a constituent, thus stabilising the activity system. A three-dimensional system then allows for multiple activities to be analysed through the construction of activity constellations.

The result of this study is a model of participative learning. Participative learning takes into consideration the purpose of learning and the socio-cultural environment so that musical learning is embedded in social music making. This then provides music education with a new model for learning a musical Instrument.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
November 2009Completed
Subjects: CAH22 - education and teaching > CAH22-01 - education and teaching > CAH22-01-01 - education
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > School of Education and Social Work
Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Carrie-Anne Bryan
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2017 14:59
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 17:24

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