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Adapting the studio model for the Australian popular music education context

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Australian university graduates of music industry degrees are often faced with challenges stemming from both Australia’s peripheral position in global music economies and the predominance of precarious work environments. This article presents an evaluation of a ‘studio model’ of education adopted by the Bachelor of Arts (Music Industry) degree at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. The studio model approach aims to better prepare graduates for careers in the contemporary music industry via hands-on and tacit learning experiences that ready them for ‘portfolio careers’. The case study evaluated here involved students working with an industry partner to deliver an on-campus music festival called Copresents in 2017. Student feedback indicated overall satisfaction with the studio, and that they were able to develop certain skills that would be valuable to them in a portfolio career, such as improved communication competencies and a better understanding of possible careers in the industry. We also demonstrate that students recognized ways in which the experience was curtailed by institutional and industrial requirements that ran counter to the ideals of studio learning. We note that the effectiveness of the model is limited in some ways by its placement at the intersection of the institutional needs of the university and the requirements of industry, neither of which are entirely in alignment with student needs.
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Keywords: entrepreneurship; event management; music industry education; portfolio career; studio model; undergraduates

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2019

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  • The main aims of Journal of Popular Music Education, especially initially, will be iteratively to define the parameters of the field and disciplines of its readership and contributors (especially with regard to other journals in popular music and music education), this being an emerging field of scholarship and practice. The other principal aim will be to disseminate excellent critique and other forms of scholarship (e.g. phenomenological) in and related to the field. The journal will have an inclusive, global reach. 'Education' and 'popular music' are terms that we expect to be stretched and problematized through rigorous examination from multiple international perspectives.
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