Complicated Conversation: Creating Opportunities for Transformative Practice in Higher Education Music Performance Research and Pedagogy


Longstanding traditions in research methodologies and disciplinary approaches actively communicate singular and situated visions that ‘polarize’ heterogeneous practice-based approaches that attempt to step outside these traditions. Too often, polarization is equated with controversy when researchers with different perspectives attempt a conversation. However, as William Pinar (2012. What is curriculum theory? (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge) reminds us, ‘complicated conversation’ is an ethical, political and intellectual undertaking, as well as a form of curriculum that ‘enables educational experience.’ This chapter discusses these ideas, drawing on an illustrative ‘provocation’ for exploring some of the challenges and constraints that doctoral students, supervisors, committee members, course instructors and examiners encounter when negotiating the current research terrain in music performance and pedagogy (incorporating both the conservatoire and university schools of music and education). Although research paradigms and methods may be incommensurable, understanding different research intentions is reconcilable provided we place collaborative transformative practice as the principled grounding for teaching-learning and research activities. In exploring these ideas, I put forth the notion that the knowledge revealed through transformative practice in higher education music performance research and pedagogy is inextricably linked with revealing paradoxes and relational understandings, and striving for the ideal of academic integrity in any research endeavour.

More information about the book.

O’Neill, S. A. (2014). Complicated conversation: Creating opportunities for transformative practice in higher education music performance research and pedagogy. In S. Harrison (Ed.), Research and research education in music performance and pedagogy (pp.169-179): Landscapes: the arts, aesthetics, and education, Vol. 11. New York, NY: Springer.


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