Exploring a virtual music community of practice: Informal music learning on the Internet

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Abstract:

Over the past ten years, online communities of practice have evolved in cyberspace formed around different folk music genres, including Bluegrass, Irish Traditional, and Old Time (OT) music. Using Wenger's (1998) social learning theory as a framework, and informed by Hine's research in cyber ethnography (2000), the purpose of this article is to explore the informal music teaching and learning practices that characterize the OT music online community as a community of practice (CoP). What defines the OT online community as a CoP? What technologies including software programs do learners use and how do learners modify these to fit their needs? What practices characterize learning in this online community? Information gleaned from this article will serve a twofold purpose. First, the exploration of music learning in this online CoP will have implications for lifelong music learning and formal school music education. Second, this study will demonstrate the appropriateness of employing cyber ethnography as a method for conducting online narrative research in music education.

Keywords: Old Time music; community of practice; informal music learning; lifelong music learning; virtual music community

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jmte.2.2-3.97_1

Affiliations: University of Windsor.

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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  • The Journal of Music, Technology and Education (JMTE) explores the issues concerning the use of technology in music education. It examines pedagogy at all levels and across genres such as composition, musicology, performance and music production. It is the only journal specifically dedicated to the educational aspects of music technology and the technological aspects of music. Peer-reviewed, with an international editorial board, JMTE aims to draw its contributions from a broad community of educators, researchers and practitioners who are working closely with new technologies in the fields of music education and music technology education.
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