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What is 'known' in community music in higher education? Engagement, emotional learning and an ecology of ideas from the student perspective

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This article aims to make explicit the evolving ecology of ideas in the field of community music and higher education that are particular to a context yet transferable across respective fields of enquiry - music education, community music, music therapy and community music therapy. This is contextualized in two ways: (1) through a consideration of what learning through 'community music' might represent in terms of 'knowledge' in higher education, and (2) a case study of community music within one university setting. The research draws from a series of research projects, including a community music focus group comprising undergraduate and postgraduate music students. It adopts a reflexive research approach between participants and researchers. The findings present a set of considerations for community music in higher education and five emergent themes from the student perspective. By applying Barnett's theory of knowing and being, the discussion leads to a reconsideration of what might be considered 'legitimate' knowledge in community music in higher education to include dispositions of engagement and qualities of emotional learning.
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Keywords: community music; emotional learning; higher education; music therapy; reflexive research; therapy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: York St John University

Publication date: 2011-12-09

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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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