High school music programmes as potential sites for communities of practice- A Canadian study
Countryman, J. (2009). High school music programmes as potential sites for communities of practice- A Canadian study. Music Education Research, 11 (1), 93-109.
This Canadian case study gathered data from interviews by the researcher with 33 former music students (one to six years after graduation) who had taken music as an optional subject during high school. The research question addressed what former high school students who discontinued formal music study upon graduation recalled about their school music experiences. Regardless of continuing with music after graduation, almost all students noted that the presence and act of belonging to a ‘community of practice’ was as or more important to them than the music education itself.
Almost all students recalled notions of community and social interaction as the main reason for joining and continuing with the elective music program. Several themes emerged from their data. Most significant was the enormous importance of community as the umbrella for self-making and music-making.
Using a theoretical frame that outlines several key components of a successful music experience including musical engagement, joint enterprise, and shared repertoire, the research identified several characteristics of student engagement:
- Musical Creativity: students had opportunities to improvise
- Musical Independence: students felt encouraged to collaborate musically with their peers, and were able to make independent musical decisions that were legitimized and honored through public performances.
- Musical Leadership: students were provided meaningful leadership opportunities