Beyond Music Matters

Transformative music engagement (O’Neill, 2012) is an approach to music learning that fosters expansive learning opportunities through young people’s critical reflections on their values and conscious efforts to plan and implement actions that bring about new ways of transforming themselves, others, and their community in relation to music activities. This paper reports on a two-year longitudinal follow-up study of learners who participated in a previous transformative music engagement project called Music Matters. The project used a collaborative methodology involving youth-led action research (Cahill, 2007) with music learners in Grades 7 and 8, their music teachers, and two researchers engaged in music-related activities that took place over several months. Specifically, learners were encouraged through a process of dialogue, inquiry, and shared meaning making to explore their own ideas about why music matters using a youth-led action research approach (Kemmis & McTaggart, 2000). Students developed music-related projects in response to questions they had about their own music engagement (Erickson, 2012). Larson’s (2011) framework for examining emotional, motivational, and cognitive-ecological processes revealed that the students’ become more engaged in their learning as they experienced a greater sense of empowerment, purpose and contribution to their community of learners. The students’ perceptions using interview data and the implications and challenges that were experienced in implementing and evaluating the projects will be discussed.

David CSSE Poster v3 June 1 copy


Erickson, D., O’Neill, S. A., & Senyshyn, Y. (2013, June). Beyond Music Matters: A follow-up study of secondary school students’ experiences of transformative music learning during middle school. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.