In my profession as a music teacher in upper secondary school, I have often encountered students who express a dichotomy between their association of music in everyday life and music in school. This display of conflict can for instance surface when it becomes obvious to them that working with and learning music may comprise more than performative or aesthetic aspects. The purpose of this research project is to investigate into how students in Swedish Upper secondary school’s music programme conceptualize and communicate musical knowledge and learning, by using pragmatist philo- sophy and narrative inquiry and analysis. The reason for this is my belief of the need for understanding each other when it comes to learning as well as teaching. This is what constitutes the basis of a democratic society, where every voice has the right to be heard and listened to, but in which this right needs to be made possible. It is also my belief that when this is made possib- le, making your voice heard also includes a responsibility on behalf of both speaker and listener. This qualitative study has been conducted in parallel with scientific studies at the National School of Research in Education (NFS) and is based on the participation of 29 students attending 4 different schools with National and Specially designed Upper secondary school music programmes. The method for gathering of data consisted of two steps, the first being a questionnaire with open questions answered by the students on their own, which were then analyzed and used as a basis forming a interview template. In the second stage focus group interviews were conducted. The empirical data has then been analyzed using narrative analysis, and the re- sults are presented in two steps, the first being a narrative representation in the form of a dialogue between two voices: a researcher and a student. In the second step this dialogue was analyzed further in comparison with the prag- matist key concepts of experience, action and meaning, and the notion of resistance as a prerequisite for learning. Overall, the results show that re- gardless of school, form and type of programme, none of the informants state that, during their years as students in school/music education, they have been asked to reflect upon these matters before, what they regard as musical knowledge and how to learn – something they do not express any greater concern about. Furthermore, the results show that the students participating in this research conceptualize musical knowledge as a three-part combina- tion of theory, practice and expression/emotion that cannot be fully separab- le; knowledge that is manifested through action and valued differently de-pending on surroundings – hence contextualized. According to the students, musical learning in school is also dependent upon action, and is made pos- sible through the will to practice and thereby develop innate abilities. In this, curricula and teacher(s’) experience(s) are seen as key factors, while musical learning outside school is regarded as less regulated. My hope is that by gi- ving room for the students´voices to be heard, this research may be of avail to school practitioners, educators and researchers. If learning of music on a deep level is made possible through inclusion of those who are seen as lear- ners, those who are seen as teachers – as well as those who have the power to shape educational prerequisites – need to address this issue, and start ma- king it possible for music students’ voices to be heard in music education. This because – in accordance with what Deweyean pragmatism asserts – it is crucial that the teacher is the one who through his or her professionality ta- kes responsibility for making a dialogue with the students possible, and through this will be able to teach, guide and form the education in accordan- ce and balance with students’ experiences, interests and the demands of mu- sicianship as well as curricula.
Stockholm: KMH-förlaget , 2011. , 163 p.