Doctor of Philosophy
Patrick K. Schmidt
Teachers College, Columbia University
Cathy K. Benedict
Teachers College, Columbia University
The purpose of this study was to explore an intersubjective framework to better understand the relational aspects of two inclusive musical programs in London, ON. I focused on mutual recognition moments, called moments of meeting (MoM), researching how they are formed and manifested while music is shared, created, or experienced within these two environments. Approaching such programs as potentially intersubjective spaces, this study investigated the impact of MoM and intersubjective experiences on the participation of individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) in music making as well as on their perceptions of themselves as subjects. Equally significant, this study looked at emerging pedagogical practices such a framework affords.
By exploring an intersubjective conceptual framework, mainly drawing from the phenomenology of intersubjectivity (Husserl,  1960; Habermas, 1984, 1987; Merleau-Ponty, 1962), and relational psychoanalysis(Benjamin, 1988, 1995, 2018; Stern, 1999; Storolow & Atwood,1984, 2014), I proposed a relational view to the musical space and to the subject, aiming to understand how relationships and encounters built within inclusive spaces may help us to think of and construe meaningful inclusion and musical experiences with individuals with ID. Furthermore, envisioning polyphonic subjects who can express themselves from diverse subjective positions in the intersubjective space, I hope to provide relevant insights in the sense of addressing the ‘symptomatology’ of individuals with ID, viewing it as a potential subjective position that represents the subject being and interacting in and with the world, rather than mere dysfunction or impediment.
This research combined critical ethnography and interpretative phenomenology as qualitative approaches to explore of MoM from the perspective of research participants’ lived experiences and to understand how MoM are formed in the intersubjective musical space in each research scenario (Maggs-Rapport (2000). Over several weeks, I was immersed as a participant-observer in two inclusive musical programs based in London, Ontario – L’Arche Virtual Open Mic (VOM) and Dreams Come True Music Studio (DCT). Besides observations, field notes and research journals, I also conducted focus group meetings with volunteers, family members or caregivers and individual interviews with the program leaders and individuals with ID. In addition, a Collaborative Art-based Video Project (CAV) was designed and adopted here as a research method offering more and diverse opportunities for participation and sharing.
Among the findings, this study offers a map of the flow of moments describing the formation of experiences of "being seen and known" and MoM observed in the research sites, engages with participants' subjectivities and presents the impacts of intersubjective encounters in their perceptions of selves, and proposes pedagogical insights modelling a view of the inclusion from the perspective of the subject embracing new ways to exist and make music. Critical here is accounting for and better understanding of the potential impact such processes can have on the constitution of the subject and their subjectivity within musical experiences. I also hope to contribute to existing research creating alternatives to foster inclusive education that could inform in/pre-service music teachers’ education and pedagogical practices and cultivate comprehensive and holistic views of inclusion, music, and disability among the music education community.
Summary for Lay Audience
This study focused on better understanding how relationships and moments of mutual recognition are formed within two inclusive musical programs - the L’Arche Virtual Open Mic and Dreams Come True Music Studio. The moments of mutual recognition are defined as moments in which individuals have their subjectivities and stories recognized by others, called here, moments of meeting. Specifically, I sought to better apprehend whether and how such moments could facilitate the participation and meaningful inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities in music-making, and if they affect their perceptions of themselves as subjects (individuals).
To learn more about the dynamics and impacts of those moments of meetings in my research contexts, I used video recordings and observations, I interviewed the music leaders, participants with disabilities, volunteers and family members. To include participants with diverse communication styles, I also utilized a collaborative video project wherein people were invited to share their experiences the way they found comfortable.
A relational framework drawn from intersubjectivity and relational psychoanalysis provided me with lenses to map the flow of moments occurring in both sites and analyze in-depth the quality and the formation of those moments of mutual recognition within each program dynamics. Throughout the analysis, I also engaged with the participants' experiences, and stories, learning about their perceptions of themselves as subjects (individuals) and of the musical environments.
Among the findings, this study offers a map describing the formation of moments of meetings as observed in the musical sites, presents the impacts of moments of mutual recognition on participants' perceptions of themselves as subjects, and proposes pedagogical insights embracing a relational view toward inclusion and welcoming new ways to participate and make music. This study attempts to account for and a better understand the potential impact such processes can have on the constitution of individuals with intellectual disabilities and their subjectivity within musical experiences. It contributes to existing research creating alternatives to foster inclusive education that could inform in/pre-service music teachers’ education and pedagogical practices and cultivate comprehensive views of inclusion, music, and disability among the music education community.
Blumer, Caroline, "Moments of meeting: 'Intersubjective encounters' and ‘emancipatory’ experiences of individuals with (intellectual) disabilities in inclusive musical contexts" (2023). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 9800.
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