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Music and world-building in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

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This article investigates the perceived benefits of music community membership within a historical framework of music making in the same geographical locations. Research was carried out in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Hunter Valley regions of New South Wales. These regions were selected because of their connection with ongoing historical research on the role of music in world-building for these communities in the early settler period. Coalmining was the major industry underpinning the founding of these regions and today it is still a dominant presence, whether it be as active mines or felt as the impact of mine closures. The research aimed to compare music communities across time, looking for continuities and discontinuities in paradigms and experiences related to world-building. while music’s affordances in the historical communities were deduced through a close reading of historical sources, the perceived personal and social benefits of current communities were investigated using qualitative methods. Six music communities were chosen for their historical connections and diversity in musical styles, instrumentation, approach and membership. The researchers attended rehearsals and held focus groups to explore changes over time and the effect on members. The qualitative data analysis revealed clear links back to earlier music community experiences in the region.
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Keywords: colonial music; community music; focus groups; life-long learning; music and well-being; music and world-building

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Newcastle 2: University of Melbourne

Publication date: December 1, 2018

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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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