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On punishment and music education: Towards a practice for prisons and schools

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Reflecting on the successes and challenges of his work as a prison music educator in four correctional facilities, the author suggests a framework for a music education that resists authoritarianism, allows for agency and engages with society. Focusing particularly on the societal context and consequences of prison as a place of punishment, he argues that such a framework must take as its point of departure a democratic and a critical pedagogical orientation that opposes the deficit models present in most US prison education programmes. Characteristic of this orientation, then, would be conceptualizations of the teacher as facilitator, musical knowledge as creative expression, classroom as community and performance as action. These conceptualizations further make visible the limitations of traditional approaches to school music education, and draw attention to the degree to which traditional approaches to schooling problematically approach prisons in their disciplinary function.
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Keywords: correctional education; critical pedagogy; music education; prisons; punishment; soundscape

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Teachers College, Columbia University.

Publication date: 01 March 2010

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  • The International Journal of Community Music publishes research articles, practical discussions, timely reviews, readers' notes and special issues concerning all aspects of Community Music. The editorial board is composed of leading international scholars and practitioners spanning diverse disciplines that reflect the scope of Community Music practice and theory.
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