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Values of Higher Popular Music Education: Perspectives from the UK

Parkinson, Tom (2014) Values of Higher Popular Music Education: Perspectives from the UK. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Reading.


In the 23 years since the first undergraduate popular music degree programme opened in the United Kingdom, the academic discipline of popular music has burgeoned to encompass over 160 programmes delivered across the higher education sector, by private institutions, Royal-chartered conservatoires, post-92 universities and Russell Group universities. This doctoral research project seeks to understand the values underpinning and informing educational practice in this growing academic discipline. It proceeds from an understanding of higher education and popular music as two highly complex domains in their own right, and from the proposition that values inhering at their nexus- Higher Popular Music Education- derive from and are borne by multiple human, institutional and disciplinary sources, and bear the trace of socio-cultural, economic and historical contexts related to each domain. It takes an inductive approach to a multiple-case study of four popular music degree programmes at different higher education institutions across the United Kingdom. Acknowledging from the outset the impossibility of identifying a conclusive ‘roster’ of itemisable values, this study draws on a combination of institutional literature, semi-structured interview and field observation data to explore the interplay of musical, educational and other values within the educational message systems of pedagogy, curriculum, institution, assessment, lifestyle and market. Analysis of the data suggested that seemingly unrelated values such as, for example, those relating to musical aesthetics and social justice, could in fact be oppositional in practice, resulting in surprising tensions and impacting on such areas as curricula and student lifestyles. Moreover, values enshrined in policy, or perceived by interviewees to be dominant within the higher education sector, appeared often to be at odds with individuals’ personal opinions regarding the value of knowledge and education, or with what they saw to be the core values of popular music as an art form. This interdisciplinary study sits across the research fields of music education, the sociology of higher education and popular music studies, and makes original contributions to knowledge in each of these fields.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Uncontrolled keywords: Higher Education, Popular Music, Popular Music Studies, Pedagogy, Curriculum, Institutional Culture, Value, Values
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
M Music and Books on Music > MT Musical instruction and study
Divisions: Faculties > University wide - Teaching/Research Groups > Centre for the Study of Higher Education
Depositing User: Tom Parkinson
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2018 15:55 UTC
Last Modified: 30 May 2019 08:24 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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