Narrative case studies of musical lives: a methodological approach to socio-musical meaning

Cleaver, David (2003) Narrative case studies of musical lives: a methodological approach to socio-musical meaning. In: 4th Asia-Pacific Symposium on Music Education Research , 9-12 July 2003, Hong Kong, China.


This paper describes the methodological procedures and issues of a study-in-progress that explores the meaning and significance of music in the lives of a group of senior high school music students. The study seeks to gain insight into the students' life-world experiences, idiosyncratic responses and meanings constructed within their relationships with music and music learning communities. Interpretations of interview and observation data are presented in the form of individual case studies, which are storied representations of the students and their musical 'realities'. In this paper I argue that narrative inquiry into socio-musical meaning has important implications for teaching by providing insight into life-world experience. This may help put our 'objective world' of professionally constructed knowledge into perspective by bringing 'situational appropriateness' to the foreground. If we are predominantly focussed on 'reconstructed logic' and objective forms of musical knowledge we may disconnect students from themselves, their storied musical identities and imaginations. Importantly, it is quality experiences with these that will assist a deepening personal relationship with music. In addition, I highlight the usefulness of the 'narrative mode' as a research tool. A case study excerpt demonstrates interpretive processes used while writing a 'new ethnography' that is informed by narrative theory.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author version not held.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 01 May 2010 12:15
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:51
Uncontrolled Keywords: narrative research, music education
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130201 Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education

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