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Music improvisation as an aesthetic event: Towards a transactional approach to meaning-making
Örebro University, School of Music, Theatre and Art. (SMED)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5061-9683
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (SMED)
2018 (English)In: European Journal of Philosophy in Arts Education, ISSN 2002-4665, Vol. 3, no 1, p. 121-181Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Improvisation in general music education is still a somewhat underdeveloped practice. Moreover, attempts to justify its place in the curriculum have often focused solely on its (measurable) outcomes. In this article, we claim that a deeper understanding of students' meaning-making processes in experiences of improvisation is necessary in order to develop improvisation practice and research. The purpose of this article is to offer a music education perspective on improvisation based on John Dewey's transactional perspective on aesthetic experience and meaning-making. Related to this, we suggest and illustrate a Practical Epistemology Analysis (PEA) as a way of analysing meaning-making in music improvisation within general music education. The method of analysis is illustrated by vignettes from video analyses of music lessons in two Swedish schools with pupils aged 9-10 and their free improvisations. The vignettes show how PEA enables analyses of situated meaning-making in the progress of the pupils' improvisation activities. Further, the transactional perspective makes educational values of improvisation visible, such as musical and personal agency, and elucidates cognitive, embodied and ethical aspects of musical meaning-making.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholms Musikpedagogiska Institut / Stockholm University College of Music Education , 2018. Vol. 3, no 1, p. 121-181
National Category
Social Sciences Musicology
Research subject
Musicology esp. Musical Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-70322OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-70322DiVA, id: diva2:1265610
Available from: 2018-11-25 Created: 2018-11-25 Last updated: 2019-11-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Att lära genom improvisation: en didaktisk studie i grundskolans musikundervisning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Att lära genom improvisation: en didaktisk studie i grundskolans musikundervisning
2019 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the growing field of research on improvisation, it is argued that improvisation should be at the core of music education, and in many curricula improvisation is in fact emphasized. However, in general music education, as well as research, improvisation is still overlooked. There seem to be a discursive gap between ‘everyday’ and artistic perceptions of improvisation and the way it is perceived didactically. Improvisation is also a creative music activity form and as such it cannot have prescribed outcomes. Yet, the current goal- and result driven schooling system focuses on achieving prescribed knowledge requirements. This situation constitutes an educational paradox. Through a systematic literature review, interviews with teachers and a practice-based study, this thesis explores the conditions and the role of improvisation in general music education. The theoretical perspective is based on Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy, and his concepts of aesthetic experience and transaction. Results show that improvisation is conceptualised in a continuum between structure and freedom and that teachers’ didactical approaches to improvisation can be oriented towards the process, the subject or Bildung. However, teachers’ perceptions of improvisation as related to jazz and blues sometimes present a hindrance. Combining a practical epistemology analysis with Dewey´s concept of the esthetic event (Dewey´s spelling) provides new insights into the process and content of aesthetic meaning-making. Improvising pupils who have an aesthetic experience can develop expressivity, agency and responsivity (EAR) as well as aspects of embodied, cognitive and ethical knowledge. The transactional perspective and 5 concepts developed here provide new insights in how to understand improvisation in education: as ethically co-creative action, co-learning action, explorative action, a space for imagination and emotional engagement and finally a room for subjectification. This implies a negotiated role for the teacher as co-player. A practical aesthetic analysis (PESA) is suggested which emphasises the specific nature of the aesthetic experience.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University, 2019. p. 193
Series
Örebro studies in Music Education ; 10
Series
Örebro Studies in Educational Sciences with an emphasis on Didactics ; 20
Keywords
General Music Education, Improvisation, Transaction, Meaning-making, Aesthetic Experience
National Category
Musicology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-77170 (URN)978-91-7529-314-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-12-20, Örebro universitet, Konsertsalen, Musikhögskolan, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-10-10 Created: 2019-10-10 Last updated: 2019-11-26Bibliographically approved

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Music Improvisation as an Aesthetic Event: Towards a transactional approach to meaning-making(971 kB)95 downloads
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European Journal of Philosophy in Arts Education

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Larsson, ChristinaÖhman, Johan

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Citation style
  • apa
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