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Title: Thinking frames in popular music education : musical objects and identity in rehearsal : learning to psychoanalyse musicianship
Author: Timewell, Alex
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 0043
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis is concerned with the teaching and learning of popular music, not as a process that can be defined and extrapolated, but as an interaction between musicians who consciously take on the roles of teacher and learner. The research project reported in this thesis focuses on the thinking that leads people to consider themselves to be musicians and how they frame their music making activities: their musicianship. Thinking takes place in the mind of people - their psyche. This thesis asks what psychoanalysis can contribute to research on music education, what insight can it bring to existing thinking frames that musicians and music teachers use? It explores how a reading of the work of Jacques Lacan may lead to new thinking frames that can help refine understandings of how musicians learn, how they identify with their own musicianship and how they interact with others. Set as an action research project, the researcher uses his own experiences and the discourses that his students, teachers and fellow musicians engage in, to consider how the language we use informs our thinking and to explore methods for overcoming common difficulties encountered in music learning environments. There are the practical considerations of the materials and activities musicians engage in, but significantly Lacan asks us to also consider our motivations to act. Enjoyment, its production and manifestation, lie beneath and motivate the way we use musical materials and how we choose which activities to engage in. Psychoanalysis employs challenging conceptions that have become entangled in anti-foundational philosophies concerning the truth and how we evaluate the world around us. The thesis takes key ideas: the master signifier; the split subject; the role of the Other in the psyche to create meaning; and jouissance, to understand how musicians think by mapping Lacan's framework of the Graph of Desire onto musical language to produce a model of the internal dialogues of a musician's psyche. With the help of Slavoj Žižek's application of psychoanalysis to cultural studies the resulting language is used to analyse the discourse of professional musicians in rehearsal to understand how the ambiguity of language has an impact on the way musicians learn. The thesis then considers how this sits with formal teaching and learning discourses encountered in British educational contexts. It concludes that music teachers need to recognise the important role we play for our students in leading them into ownership of their musical learning and that anxiety has a place in helping us recognise that a fear of uncertainty forces us to provide only a partial knowledge to our students. Music teachers play the role of the 'subject supposed to know' to our students, one that if we are successful our students should eventually reject. Ultimately it is argued that whilst many of the conventions and thinking frames we use to understand music education are valid, there is a need to maintain the joy of music making as central to the motivations of musicians, whether they be acting in the role of performer, composer, producer, teacher or learner.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available