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Playing, new music technology and the struggle with achieving intersubjectivity

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This study is an empirical investigation of what activities evolve when children interact with and around a new music technology (an Interactive Reflexive Musical System (IRMS), a kind of computationally augmented instrument), with and without an adult actively participating. What the nature of the participations’ communication is, what structuring resources they are introduced to and use, and whether or not the participants establish temporarily sufficient intersubjectivity are analysed. The empirical data consist of video observations from an after-school centre of, first, the children themselves interacting with each other and the music technology, and second, with a teacher participating in the activity. The result shows that the activities developed into different types of play-based participations: make-believe and/or musical play. Although the adult provides some structuring resources (counting, using metaphors and gestures) to engage the children in a ‘musical dialogue’ with the system, the participants do not establish temporarily sufficient intersubjectivity for engaging in a joint activity of this kind. The finding that the children (and adult) engage in many different kinds of activities illustrates the creative and open-ended nature of participating in social practices.
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Keywords: coordination of perspectives; early childhood music education; intersubjectivity; music technology; play-based participations; structuring resources

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Gothenburg

Publication date: October 1, 2014

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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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