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Title: Exploring the pedagogy of songwriting : a case study of five undergraduate songwriters
Author: West, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 635X
Awarding Body: Bath Spa University
Current Institution: Bath Spa University
Date of Award: 2012
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Although songwriting is commonly taught as a component of popular and commercial music programmes in higher education both in the UK and overseas, there is relatively little published theory on how the subject is taught and learned in formal educational environments. Further, there is no published consensus among teachers as to what might constitute effective pedagogical practice or on how undergraduate songwriters might develop as individual learners. Using a case study of five undergraduate songwriters taught in a formal environment by the researcher over an eight-month period, the research aims to develop an understanding of what songwriters learn and experience when they adopt co- investigative and group learning roles within the researcher's particular teaching and learning process. The thesis proposes that songwriting consists of four elements: music, creativity, language and communication and that the existing pedagogies of these elements, when critically examined within the context of the empirical research findings, may be able to provide a theoretical set of possible directions for the pedagogy of songwriting in higher education. Background theory is provided by literature reviews of pedagogical practice in higher education and of the distinctive pedagogies of music, creativity, language and communication and the case study data analysis is used to generate focal theory. The conclusion examines findings from the empirical study within the context of the background theory to identify some of the distinctive features of the teaching and learning of this particular case of songwriting in higher education, and to ask questions and make suggestions concerning future practice and research. The researcher's prior study of how professional songwriters develop outside of the academy, which found that professional songwriters recalled having developed songwriting skills in similar ways, is used as the main theoretical basis for the empirical research, which adapts findings from the prior study to offer a pedagogical framework within which five students are encouraged to develop as individual learners. In the empirical research findings, which are drawn from participant-observations, interviews, analysis of student journals and product- analysis, learners found methods that enabled them to generate songwriting ideas both they and the researcher considered effective in conveying meaning. As critical listeners the students appeared to become increasingly aware of the communicative quality of their work and emotion and confidence emerged as influential factors in the learners' ability to develop as songwriters. Analysis created both beneficial and detrimental effects and, within both personal and broader theoretical contexts existing modes of assessment were called into question.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available