UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Journal: 
British Journal of Music Education
Name(s) of Author/Editor(s): 
Christopher William McGillen
Refereed: 
Yes
Volume No.: 
21
Issue No.: 
3
Page numbers of article: 
279-293
Year of publication: 
2004
Country of publication: 
UK
Country of Research Data: 
Australia
Language: 
English
Abstract: 
This paper is the result of a research project that set out to document a group of adolescent musicians in a rural Australian secondary school as they wrote and performed their own music. The processes they developed are reflective of a cooperative approach to group composition where upwards of 21 students composed and 'jammed' their way through a weekly rehearsal. There appeared to be strong links not only to the theoretical field of cooperative learning, but also to the 'garage' rock band model of peer-led composition and group processing. The participants completed a six-month programme of interviews, questionnaire and narrative writing tasks, as well as participating in the video recording of their weekly rehearsal. This paper focuses on two of the senior members, Sarah and Matt, and their reflections on the process of songwriting as a group and the significance of the relationships between the student members and the staff. The participants identified a middle group occupied by 'Jungle Express', the name the students gave to themselves, between their mainstream school environment and their peer groups. This paper identifies the significance of using a cooperative approach with adolescent musicians and the high level of personal investment in, and identification with, the musical product that emerges.
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