Doctor of Philosophy
The purpose of this study was to understand how the distribution and transmission of musical knowledges impacted the identities and consciousness of agents within one Canadian school of music which was given the pseudonym Eastern Urban School of Music (EUSM). The project was framed using Basil Bernstein’s (2000) theory of the Pedagogic Device, offering a language of description to examine how forms of regulation differentially distributed various identities and forms of consciousness. Specifically, this study explored how varying modalities of classification and framing revealed competing values about what counts as legitimate and ‘excellent’ music education and who is seen as legitimate or excellent within this social arena.
This research implemented a qualitative, single case study design (Yin, 2014) focused upon the experiences and perspectives of agents within the EUSM. These were framed and contextualized using classroom observations, field notes, and documents (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016), which further shaped and added context to interviews with agents. Using a codes-to-theory model (Saldaña, 2013), data were organized into codes from which categories and themes emerged related to the nature of musical knowledges and the impacts these have upon identity and consciousness.
Findings indicated that tensions surrounding what counts as ‘excellent’ musical knowledge and pedagogies differently shape the ideologies and practices of agents. Discourses surrounding what and who could be considered excellent within the social arena of the EUSM were framed within the emergent themes of competition and performance, international reputation, interdisciplinarity, and the development of citizens. This study suggests that agents within the school of music might benefit from an educative space where tensions and boundaries between categories of musical knowledge are negotiated and where competing ideologies collide and interact to foster creativity, communication, and collaboration. Findings suggest that agents of the school of music might benefit from rethinking how supports can be embedded—and not just included—within curriculum to ensure their effectiveness for meeting health, wellness, and EDI needs. This study offers a space for rethinking who is served by dominant pedagogic and curricular models in higher music education and how agents might negotiate their own pedagogic spaces to better meet the needs of students.
Summary for Lay Audience
This study explores musical knowledge within a Canadian university school of music. Specifically, I look at what knowledges are included, how they are taught, and how they are assessed to better understand the practices within the school of music and how they impact the identities of students and teachers. This project was designed as a qualitative case study which included various points of data such as classroom observations, documents, and interviews with participants. It uses Basil Bernstein’s (2000) theory of the Pedagogic Device to make visible what musical knowledges are included within the school of music, the ways in which they are included, the specific forms they take, and their role in shaping the identities of students and teachers. This is important as Bernstein (2000) suggests that knowledges are differently distributed to different groups within the field of education based on a host of factors such as their class, race, and gender relations. In this way, the educational system acts as a tool for reproducing particular values, beliefs, and identities unequally among different groups.
Findings from this study suggest that the school of music is a complex space where competing values about what are considered legitimate musical knowledge shape what is taught and who is seen as ‘excellent.’ Based on these findings, this study suggests that agents might benefit when tensions and boundaries between categories of musical knowledge were negotiated and where competing ideologies collided and interacted to offer opportunities for creativity, communication, and collaboration. Findings suggest that agents within schools of music might benefit from rethinking how supports can be embedded—and not just included—within their curriculum to ensure their effectiveness for meeting the needs of students.
Zavitz, Kyle, "Exploring Musical Knowledge Within One Canadian School Of Music: Ideology, Pedagogy, And Identity" (2022). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 9004.