Shaping perceptions of musical identity: an ethnography of non-music majors' experiences in an undergraduate music course focused on cultivating creativity

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Raychl Smith Woodward (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Constance McKoy

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate what "being a musician" means in an innovative, improvisation-based music course. Participants in this study were non-music majors enrolled in the course, MUS 2022: Cultivating Creativity through Music. Instructor and creator of the course, Dr. Liz Rose, Associate Professor of Music Education and Music Therapy at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, was also a study participant. By studying the classroom culture as it evolved throughout the semester, and by reflecting on the experiences of students enrolled in the course, I was able to gain an understanding of how students make meaning of their experiences with creativity and improvisation. By focusing on regularly recurring classroom practices, teacher and student behaviors, and socially constructed meanings of musicianship in the classroom, I present an idea of what `being a musician' means in this particular classroom of students who have varying degrees of formal training in music. Several forms of data were collected, including participant observation, analysis of video-recorded class sessions, individual interviews with student and teacher participants, focus group interviews with students, analysis of student assignments and reflections, and examination of course documents. To find emergent patterns and themes relating to participants' acquisition of meaning throughout course experiences, field notes, observations, and interview texts were reviewed multiple times. Students enrolled in MUS 2022 felt that being a musician in this particular classroom community meant expressing themselves, taking risks, and recognizing the musician within self and others, regardless of the extent of previous musical experiences or formal musical training.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Creativity, Ethnography, Identity, Improvisation, Music, Social Justice
Music $x Instruction and study $x Psychological aspects
Music $x Instruction and study $z North Carolina $z Boone
Music students $x Psychology
Identity (Psychology)
Improvisation (Music) $x Psychological aspects

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