This paper will take the results of a study inquiring into how adolescent students conceptualize and communicate musical knowledge and learning as a point of departure for a discussion of communication, translation and mutual understanding as vital parts of teaching and learning music. The study was conducted as a narrative inquiry, the study of experience as story, using narrative analysis as method. Results show that the students conceptualize musical knowledge as a situated, three-part combination of theory, practice and emotion/expression. Hence, musical knowledge is seen by the participants as manifested through action, and learning in school as made possible on an individual level by the will to practise (and thereby develop innate abilities), where curricula and teacher(s’) experience(s) are seen as key factors.The specific aim of this presentation is to relate these results to a philosophy of learning, language, art and communication based on Deweyan pragmatism and Heidegger’s existential phenomenology, and their possible implications for music education. What is new to a student may be old and already known to a teacher or vice versa. This new, and not known, in conjunction with Dewey’s view of aesthetic communication, gives that a teacher should be able to somehow/someway place herself in connection with students’ perception(s) and/or view(s). Communication seen as a prerequisite for learning requires a common language. This, in turn, demands openness in the forms of mutual curiosity, a will to listen carefully, to try to understand the other, which also, according to Heidegger, can be defined as translation. In other words, it could be necessary to make room and time available for communication, reflection, creation and re-creation in music education. Consequently, an interest in – and understanding of – adolescents’ conceptualizations is crucial when it comes to organizing conditions for their musical learning. If conceptualization has a central role in learning of music, as the said philosophies hold, what kinds of demands do the result of the study put on the music teacher?
International Conference for Research in Music Education : Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter. 12/04/2011 - 16/04/2011