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Music Teacher Education – in between renewal and tradition. A discourse-analytical study of a cultural practice

Conference paper
Authors Lena Ostendorf
Published in NNMPF abstract
Publication year 2020
Published at Academy of Music and Drama
Language en
Keywords Music Teacher Education Discourse
Subject categories Music education


Music Teacher Education – in between renewal and tradition. A discourse-analytical study of a cultural practice Why does Music Teacher Education in Sweden look the way it does today and where is it heading in the future? That is the issue of my ongoing PhD-project which I would like to present at this conference. Music Teacher Education (MTE), as a research object, is situated in multiple disciplinary fields. As a researcher I am taking a social constructionist stance which means that the education is seen as a social practice that is socially constructed and under continuous negotiation. Being both a vocational training within an university context and an artistic education in some sense and often placed at institutions for higher music education, several discourses have an impact on the education and its agents. The traditional conservatory-discourse for instance affects how subjects like main-instrument-lessons are constructed (Daniel & Parkes, 2015; Georgii-Hemming & Westvall, 2010; Kvale m.fl., 2000; Nerland, 2003). Furthermore, the reorganization of arts education as parts of bigger universities instead of autonomous institutions, has effects on the academic demands, as it is the case for other vocational educations e.g. nursing programs (Angelo m.fl., 2019; Ek m.fl., 2013; Erixon & Erixon Arreman, 2019; Moberg, 2018). Apart from the increasing academization, MTE, as all higher education, has to adapt to discourses regarding “usefulness”, employability and marketization (Johansson, 2012; Mautner, 2005; Olssen & Peters, 2005; Vesterberg, 2015; Wahlström, 2002) and is thereby closely connected even to music education in schools (Holmberg, 2010; Lindgren & Ericsson, 2010). Another aspect concerning the governing of MTE is the goal of broadened recruitment of students, an issue that is highly prevalent from a political point of view (Corkhill, 2014).   The purpose of this study is thus to scrutinize the Swedish Music Teacher Education as a discursive practice on both a micro-level, which focuses on an ongoing praxis, and an institutional and societal macro-level. It follows a Foucauldian genealogical approach (Foucault, 1980, 2017; Gordon, 1980; Nilsson, 2008) and is conducted as two separate substudies, one that consists of the discourse-analysis of focus group discussions with teacher educators and teacher students at institutions for MTE (ämneslärarprogrammet i musik) and one that studies historical documents. More specific questions are: • How is the MTE discursively constructed by its agents? • How does this affect the power/knowledge-relations? • What kinds of subjectivities are made possible by the discourses? • What are the techniques used for governing the subjects? • How can the discourses be traced and contextualized from a historical genealogical stance? In my presentation I would like to share some of my preliminary findings and give some examples from the empirical material of the first substudy, which is the discourse analysis of focus group discussions. The focus groups consisted of 3-6 participants with students and teachers in separate groups. In total I conducted 12 focus group sessions at six out of eight institutions that offered MTE in Sweden at the time of the study. The sessions, which were recorded as audio-recordings, lasted approximately one hour each and were then transcribed and coded in Nvivo, a software for qualitative analysis. After several readings and analytic steps three main discourses were apparent: A bildungs-discourse, an utilitarian discourse and an academization-discourse. These three discourses can be seen as fighting for an hegemonic position on the arena of MTE and offer different positions for its agents. In the bildungs-discourse, aspects like conservatory tradition, musical canon or master-apprentice-teaching are included. Possible positions for teachers and students are then for instance “defender of classical music”, “the holistic teacher” or “defender of traditional childrens´ songs”. The utilitarian discourse, on the other hand, is about the students becoming employable, using repertoire that can be directly applied in a school music context and adjusting the education to school policy documents´ demands. The students and teachers can position themselves as “broad teacher/musician” in regards to both genre and different subjects in the education or “the obeying”, a person that accepts and adapts policy demands. Finally, the academization-discourse is also at present. Increasing requirements concerning academic writing, research-based education and using scientific literature, are examples of how academization affects MTE. Positions as “academic”, “non-academic/artist”, “teacher/researcher” are some of those who are offered in this discourse. To summarize, there is a lot going on within the MTE as a discursive battlefield. Hopefully, my analysis can contribute to make certain issues and aspects that are taken-for-granted more visible, and thereby more possible to address.   References: Angelo, E., Varkøy, Ø., & Georgii-Hemming, E. (2019). Notions of Mandate, Knowledge and Research in Norwegian Classical Music Performance Studies. Journal for research in Arts and Sports Education, 3(1), 78–100. Corkhill, E. (2014). Breddad rekrytering. Lägesrapport Konstnärliga fakulteten. Konstnärliga fakulteten. Daniel, R., & Parkes, K. (2015). The Apprentice to Master Journey: Exploring Tertiary Music Instrument Teachers’ Reflections on Their Experiences as Learner. Journal of Arts and Humanities, 4(3), 52–63. Ek, A.-C., Ideland, M., Jönsson, S., & Malmberg, C. (2013). The tension between marketisation and academisation in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 38(9), 1305–1318. Erixon, P.-O., & Erixon Arreman, I. (2019). ECEC Students’ Writing Trajectories: Academic Discourse and “Professional Habitus”. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 63(6), 968–983. Foucault, M. (1980). Power/ Knowledge. Selected interviews and other writings 1972-1977 (C. Gordon, Red.). Foucault, M. (2017). Övervakning och straff (5:e uppl.). Arkiv förlag. Georgii-Hemming, E., & Westvall, M. (2010). Teaching music in our time: Student music teachers’ reflections on music education, teacher education and becoming a teacher. Music Education Research, 12(4), 353–367. Gordon, C. (Red.). (1980). Power/Knowledge. Selected interviews & other writings. the Harvester Press. Holmberg, K. (2010). Musik- och Kulturskolan i senmoderniteten. Reservat eller marknad? Lunds Universitet. Johansson, K. (2012). Experts, entrepreneurs and competence nomads: The skills paradox in higher music education. Music Education Research, 14(1), 45–62. 10.1080/14613808.2012.657167 Kvale, S., Nilsson, B., & Retzlaff, J. (2000). Mästarlära: Lärande som social praxis. Lund : Studentlitteratur. Lindgren, M., & Ericsson, C. (2010). The Rock Band Context as Discursive Governance. Action, Criticism & Theory for Music Education, 9(3), 21. Mautner, G. (2005). The Entrepreneurial University: A discursive profile of a higher education buzzword. Critical Discourse Studies, 2(2), 95–120. Moberg, N. (2018). Academic musicians – How music performance students in Sweden re-/negotiate notions of knowledge and competence. I Nordisk musikkpedagogisk forskning. Årbok 19 (s. 53–74). Nerland, M. (2003). Instrumentalundervsining som kulturell praksis. En diskursorientert studie av hovedinstrumentundervisning i høyere musikutdanning. Nilsson, R. (2008). Foucault – en introduktion. Egalité, Malmö.   Olssen, M., & Peters, M. A. (2005). Neoliberalism, higher education and the knowledge economy: From the free market to knowledge capitalism. Journal of Education Policy, 20(3), 313–345. Vesterberg, V. (2015). Formandet av anställningsbara studenter: En reflektion kring karriärvägledning inom högre utbildning. Högre Utbildning, 5(2), 99–105. Wahlström, N. (2002). Om det förändrade ansvaret för skolan. Vägen till mål- och resultatstyrning och några av dess konsekvenser.

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