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Representations and legitimations of quality and knowledge in entrance auditions to Swedish music teacher education

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Monica Lindgren
Olle Zandén
Ragnhild Sandberg Jurström
Publicerad i NNMPF 2019: Futures of Music in Higher Education, February 26-28 2019
Publiceringsår 2019
Publicerad vid Högskolan för scen och musik
Språk en
Länkar https://www.kmh.se/in-english/resea...
Ämnesord higher music education; music teacher education; entrance auditions; representations; discourse
Ämneskategorier Musikpedagogik


For entrance to Swedish higher education, special qualification requirements and selection principles are allowed if there are special reasons with regard to the content and orientation of the education or the field of education that the education is preparing for. In music education, special requirements and selection in the form of entrance auditions have since long been used. The Swedish government’s demands on higher education to act for increased equality in society and a broadened access to higher education, along with the increasing focus in education on issues of assessment and the fact that both design and assessment of entrance auditions can vary between providers of higher music education, raises questions about the relevance, validity and reliability of these auditions as selection instruments. Although the auditions’ qualification requirements and principles of selection generally build on long traditions, and generally are decisive for admission to music teacher education programmes, the field has been scantily researched. There are as yet only a few studies on the recruitment of prospective music teachers, and hence there is no firm ground for discussing the predictive value, reliability and validity of these tests, neither for the music teacher education as such nor for the applicants’ future profession. The aim of our three-year research project funded by the Swedish Research Council is to study entrance auditions to music teacher education in order to produce knowledge about assessment criteria, legitimacy claims, approaches to knowledge and quality as well as the tests’ relevance and reliability. The project started in January 2018. The data were produced in spring and autumn 2018 and consists of video recorded entrance auditions and audiorecorded focus group or single conversations with jurors from four Swedish music teacher education institutions. More than one hundred entrance auditions on i) instrumental musicianship; ii) ensemble and leadership skills and iii) ability to sing and accompany themselves were video documented. Furthermore, 29 group discussions or single conversations with jury members were conducted, in which selected sequences from the video documented auditions were used as stimulated recall. Apart from the jurors’ assessments of the applicants’ performances, the design of the entrance auditions and how qualitative aspects of musical performance could be assessed and legitimated was discussed in these interviews. Further, 6 jury groups have been interviewed about the design and assessment of music theory tests and ear training skills. Altogether, nearly 60 jury members have been interviewed. The data material has been transcribed during autumn 2018. The analyses have started late in the autumn 2018 and are still going on. In the analysis, a multimodal social semiotic approach and the concept discourse is used in order to study how the jurors interpret applicants’ musical performances and representations of ability and musical knowledge through their use of sign systems such as notes, music instruments, singing and gestures. We also analyse how the jury members construct representations of quality and knowledge in their assessments of applicants’ performances, and how these representations are articulated and legitimised. Concerning the interviews about music theory tests and ear training skills, the analyses deal with the jury members’ representations of quality and knowledge in the design of the tests, and how these representations are articulated and legitimised. Although the design of the tests varies between institutions, music theory, ear training, ensemble playing, and instrumental and vocal proficiency are customary content. In spite of the fact that almost all the institutions have developed explicit assessment criteria, the jury members frequently also assess other aspects in the applicants’ performances. In our presentation, some tentative findings will be presented and discussed with regard to the study’s central questions of assessment and legitimization.

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