Informal and Participatory Cultures in Music Education

Deanna Peluso, MODAL Project Manager, recently published an article in the SFU Educational Review.

Title: Informal and Participatory Cultures in Music Education: Pitfalls and Possibilities

Abstract: Musical activities are a significant part of many young people’s everyday lives, as they are musically encultured from a young age, yet the majority of their musical participation occurs outside of formalized music education (O’Neill, 2005). Yet, in research and in practice, there is an indoctrinated view of formal music education as the primary way of learning to become a musician (Jaffurs, 2004). This institutionalized view leads to static definitions of what a musician is and how to learn and perform music, which is then paralleled within teaching practices, thus potentially alienating students within the classroom. This paper aims initially to explain Lucy Green’s (2007) description of informal learning within popular music while comparing and contrasting it with Henry Jenkins’ (2009) notions of youth participatory culture in media education and the competencies and skills that emerge from this form of youth engagement. I will then continue on to discuss how contemporary music educators are faced with finding ways to strengthen the connections for youth between music education at school, and their experiences of music outside of their school walls, and how an understanding of participatory and informal learning practices might help that challenging endeavour.

Suggested Reference/Citation:
Peluso, D. (2012). Informal and participatory cultures in music education: Pitfalls and possibilities. SFU Educational Review, 5, Fall 2012.