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The Music Classroom as Epistemological Amphitheatre ? Assemblages of Adolescent Perceptions and Practices of Composing Creativities.



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Winters, Mandy Rae 


This empirical study has researched the perceptions and practices of adolescent composing creativities from the perspectives of three inter-related music-making communities. The research comprises three studies: young adults, year nine adolescents and music teachers. The design for the research sits within the interpretivist paradigm and uses qualitative methodologies. Each study constitutes a phenomenological case study and uses a number of methods to create data. Initial findings from the first two case studies were shared with the participants in study three as part of embedded triangulation within the research. Research methods included observation, semi-formal interviews, focus group interviews and smartphone voice recording evaluations.

The research has aimed to make visible the multiplicity of entanglements concerning perceptions and practices of composing creativities, access routes and identities that influence interactions in the music classroom. It considers the collisions of epistemologies and ontologies that are present within the music classroom and the consequent intersections with adolescent behaviours and identities. It further considers how these aspects are entangled with socio-cultural values and the possible reproduction of social stratification within the classroom. It makes visible the ways in which teachers’ practices adapt and negotiate different musical knowledges whilst supporting adolescent development and world-view.

The research concludes by exploring how findings from the study suggest future considerations for ‘liquid’ and signature pedagogies and classroom environment, alongside a broadening definition of composing creativities whilst challenging the dominance of neo-liberal influences on education. It affirms that music teachers function at the centre of a patchwork of visible and invisible forces, working reflexively and co-creatively. Finally, the research considers implications for initial teacher training and teacher professional development within a context of school partnerships.





Burnard, Pamela


Music, education, secondary, composing, adolescent, perceptions, practices, creativities, classroom, teaching, pedagogy, identities, professional, development, teacher training


Doctor of Education (EdD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge