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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Music lessons : a cultural studies analysis of music's capacity for critical pedagogy and methodology Hunt, L. A. Pearl


When expressing the phrase music lessons, one often visualizes students with their musical instruments practicing scales or compositions with the intent of memorizing the music. Although music can actualize as mnemonic practice, this dissertation focuses on other lessons that music teaches us by examining how musical knowledge is produced. Building on the ideologies articulated within a framework of cultural studies, the dissertation attempts a pedagogical praxis that establishes a fluid and dynamic conversation to express both my theoretical and empirical findings. The findings then are not definitive answers to the questions I pose about music’s effect, but operate as a process of opening up these questions to further reflection. The dissertation, by invoking a praxis-based structure, communicates both the theoretical “how” of music as praxis involved work and my practice of realizing music as culture-in-action. The dissertation aims to redress music – not only in terms of music making as transformative praxis but also to assert that music, as a means of producing knowledge within critical discourse, can be situated as the subject versus the object of effect. Because a core component of music is its ability to be inclusive of all cultures/peoples, the dissertation examines how the performative aspects of music intersects sites and people of differing class, gender, race and culture to articulate music’s capacity for negotiating difference. Pitched in this way, music can no longer be regarded by critical educators as being on the sidelines of critical discourse but rather will be seen as integral to transforming consciousness and realizing praxis. By informing and expanding upon the theory and practice of critical pedagogy, this music discourse not only seeks to influence a broader idea of social justice praxis but can also operate as a predominant cultural component in promoting peace education.

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