UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Music education and community development in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside : an ethnographic case study of the Carnegie Centre Jazz Band Ceschi-Smith, Antonia


This ethnographic case study focuses on the Carnegie Centre Jazz Band, a city-run community music program for adult learners at the Carnegie Centre, a community centre in the heart of Vancouver’s most aggrieved and marginalized area, the Downtown Eastside (DTES). I have been playing with the Carnegie Jazz Band, a free and open program at the Centre, since January 2010. As a participant-observer between February and April 2013, I conducted three private audio-recorded interviews with twelve of the fifteen regular members of the band who consented to participate, including Brad Muirhead, the bandleader. They provided information on their reasons for joining the band, why they continue to participate, what they gain from the experience, and what they hope for as outcomes of their participation. In this thesis, I examine the benefits that music making, specifically jazz and creative improvisation, provide for the band members, showing how they see themselves as music-makers within the program, identifying the challenges they face in participating, and situating their involvement in the larger paradigms of community music and communities of practice. The factors that motivate the individual members of the band to participate are myriad, but they all share an interest in and a commitment to supporting one another’s learning. One of the main findings of this case study is that approaching music-making with an aesthetic and ethos of improvisation is central to the band’s success in the aggrieved and marginalized DTES.

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