Start Date

1-6-2011 12:30 PM

End Date

1-6-2011 1:00 PM

Description

Over the past several years in particular, scholars in music education have been calling for better connections between community and school music making (e.g., Jones, 2005; Veblen, 2005). It seems that in many cases, teachers may be continuing the tradition of large ensemble band, orchestral, or choral programs because this is the way they were taught themselves and they are comfortable with the status quo, rather than because this is a meaningful way for their students to engage with music (Snell 2009; Woodford 2005). As a result, many youth in contemporary Western society have two musical worlds: one at school and one in their world outside the school walls. This fragmentation has implications for the musical personhood of children and adolescents as each of these worlds involves its own intricate web of formal and informal learning contexts, structures, and practices. This paper addresses this concern by looking at “DJ/turntablism” as both a currently popular way to make music in the community-at-large and a relatively new and unexplored area for teaching and learning music in schools. Moreover, in order to ground the current paper’s ideas in authentic “real world” music making, DJ/turntablism is explored through in-depth interviews with three currently practicing musicians. Because this particular kind of music making is ubiquitous in the lives of many contemporary Western youth, it is therefore also used by many young people to help build identity as they participate with this music in various ways in their daily lives. However, most educators and scholars have given little, if any, consideration to if, or how, this music could be used in school music classrooms to help contribute to this self-identity. Analysis of interview transcripts revealed three primary themes common to these musicians’ experiences. First, each one had difficulty connecting to formal music making in private lessons and/or school music classes. Second, all three participants sought out a form of musical performance which they believed provided them with more freedom to explore and experiment, thus allowing them to find their own musical personality and voice. Third, each of these three musicians talked about the importance of the collective community of DJ/turntablists in helping them throughout their musical careers. As such, this paper reveals how this particular kind of “music plays important roles in shaping identity and community [and] in promoting [the] personal growth” of these three musicians (Call for Papers, Leading Music Education Conference, p.1). Connected to each of these themes, this paper will consider the musical personhood of these three DJ/turntablists as something that is embedded in and continually informed by what Stetsenko (2009) calls a “transformative collaborative practice” (p. 7). She argued that “persons are agentive beings who develop through embeddedness in sociocultural contexts and within relations to others” (Stetsenko, 2009, p.3). This concept of personhood is particularly valuable for the ideas in the current paper because it acknowledges the value of the unique individual contributions of each of these three musicians, while also recognizing the importance of “the relational self” where, Individuals never start from scratch and never completely vanish; instead they enter and join in with social practices as participants who build upon previous accomplishments and also inevitably and forever change the social matrix of these practices (if only in modest ways), leaving their own indelible traces in history. (Stetsenko, 2009, p. 7) In this way, the social, relational, and praxial nature of the musical personhood of these three DJ/turntablists is relevant and informative for music educators to consider in light of the importance this or similar/related genres and practices of music could play in contemporary music classrooms.


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Jun 1st, 12:30 PM Jun 1st, 1:00 PM

The Musical Personhood of Three Canadian Turntablists: Implications for Transformative Collaborative Practice

Over the past several years in particular, scholars in music education have been calling for better connections between community and school music making (e.g., Jones, 2005; Veblen, 2005). It seems that in many cases, teachers may be continuing the tradition of large ensemble band, orchestral, or choral programs because this is the way they were taught themselves and they are comfortable with the status quo, rather than because this is a meaningful way for their students to engage with music (Snell 2009; Woodford 2005). As a result, many youth in contemporary Western society have two musical worlds: one at school and one in their world outside the school walls. This fragmentation has implications for the musical personhood of children and adolescents as each of these worlds involves its own intricate web of formal and informal learning contexts, structures, and practices. This paper addresses this concern by looking at “DJ/turntablism” as both a currently popular way to make music in the community-at-large and a relatively new and unexplored area for teaching and learning music in schools. Moreover, in order to ground the current paper’s ideas in authentic “real world” music making, DJ/turntablism is explored through in-depth interviews with three currently practicing musicians. Because this particular kind of music making is ubiquitous in the lives of many contemporary Western youth, it is therefore also used by many young people to help build identity as they participate with this music in various ways in their daily lives. However, most educators and scholars have given little, if any, consideration to if, or how, this music could be used in school music classrooms to help contribute to this self-identity. Analysis of interview transcripts revealed three primary themes common to these musicians’ experiences. First, each one had difficulty connecting to formal music making in private lessons and/or school music classes. Second, all three participants sought out a form of musical performance which they believed provided them with more freedom to explore and experiment, thus allowing them to find their own musical personality and voice. Third, each of these three musicians talked about the importance of the collective community of DJ/turntablists in helping them throughout their musical careers. As such, this paper reveals how this particular kind of “music plays important roles in shaping identity and community [and] in promoting [the] personal growth” of these three musicians (Call for Papers, Leading Music Education Conference, p.1). Connected to each of these themes, this paper will consider the musical personhood of these three DJ/turntablists as something that is embedded in and continually informed by what Stetsenko (2009) calls a “transformative collaborative practice” (p. 7). She argued that “persons are agentive beings who develop through embeddedness in sociocultural contexts and within relations to others” (Stetsenko, 2009, p.3). This concept of personhood is particularly valuable for the ideas in the current paper because it acknowledges the value of the unique individual contributions of each of these three musicians, while also recognizing the importance of “the relational self” where, Individuals never start from scratch and never completely vanish; instead they enter and join in with social practices as participants who build upon previous accomplishments and also inevitably and forever change the social matrix of these practices (if only in modest ways), leaving their own indelible traces in history. (Stetsenko, 2009, p. 7) In this way, the social, relational, and praxial nature of the musical personhood of these three DJ/turntablists is relevant and informative for music educators to consider in light of the importance this or similar/related genres and practices of music could play in contemporary music classrooms.