Event Title

"Musical Life Histories:" A Practical Strategy for Enacting Music Education as a Practice of Social Justice

Presenter Information

Lise Vaugeois, University of Toronto

Start Date

1-6-2011 12:00 PM

End Date

1-6-2011 1:00 PM

Description

How do we introduce important but challenging social issues, such as relations of power and the forms of oppression that affect so many people's lives, in a field which so often defines itself as apolitical and “just about the music?” In a recent publication, I write about the idea of using “musical life histories” to explore social and economic relations as they intersect with the production of different musics. Exploring musical life histories includes asking who is and is not present in different forms of music-making; how different forms of music are represented in various discourses; where race, gender and class reside within musical expressions; what forms of embodied expression are allowable in different musical and social contexts; and how different musics are situated in relation to discourses of respectability, degeneracy, virtuosity and emancipation. What does this kind of engagement look like in practice and how might this change depending on one’s teaching context? For example, would exploring musical life histories look different if one is teaching music at an elite private school, a school in a housing project, an arts magnet school, a middle class school, a school for new immigrants? Do the class expectations of students, parents and administrators influence what topics can be explored (or will be tolerated) in a music classroom? Jean Anyon explored these questions in her paper "Elementary Schooling and Distinctions of Social Class” in 1981 and these questions are still pertinent to our contemporary teaching contexts. Following a brief consideration of the philosophical grounding for my concept of “musical life histories” and issues raised by Anyon, I consider several musical examples drawn from school, concert and film music and work through, together with workshop participants, how these examples might be taken up as as tools for "consciousness raising" in differently situated classrooms. Shifting theory into practice is always an enormous challenge. This workshop provides an opportunity to experiment with different ideas and explore concerns and challenges arising from participants' own teaching experiences.

Comments

This was a workshop.

This document is currently not available here.


Share

COinS
 
Jun 1st, 12:00 PM Jun 1st, 1:00 PM

"Musical Life Histories:" A Practical Strategy for Enacting Music Education as a Practice of Social Justice

How do we introduce important but challenging social issues, such as relations of power and the forms of oppression that affect so many people's lives, in a field which so often defines itself as apolitical and “just about the music?” In a recent publication, I write about the idea of using “musical life histories” to explore social and economic relations as they intersect with the production of different musics. Exploring musical life histories includes asking who is and is not present in different forms of music-making; how different forms of music are represented in various discourses; where race, gender and class reside within musical expressions; what forms of embodied expression are allowable in different musical and social contexts; and how different musics are situated in relation to discourses of respectability, degeneracy, virtuosity and emancipation. What does this kind of engagement look like in practice and how might this change depending on one’s teaching context? For example, would exploring musical life histories look different if one is teaching music at an elite private school, a school in a housing project, an arts magnet school, a middle class school, a school for new immigrants? Do the class expectations of students, parents and administrators influence what topics can be explored (or will be tolerated) in a music classroom? Jean Anyon explored these questions in her paper "Elementary Schooling and Distinctions of Social Class” in 1981 and these questions are still pertinent to our contemporary teaching contexts. Following a brief consideration of the philosophical grounding for my concept of “musical life histories” and issues raised by Anyon, I consider several musical examples drawn from school, concert and film music and work through, together with workshop participants, how these examples might be taken up as as tools for "consciousness raising" in differently situated classrooms. Shifting theory into practice is always an enormous challenge. This workshop provides an opportunity to experiment with different ideas and explore concerns and challenges arising from participants' own teaching experiences.