Music Education Research
Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Music Education Research: Virtual Special Issue
Since its inception in 1999, Music Education Research has provided an international forum for disseminating ideas relating to practical and theoretical developments in the field. Many of the ideas that appear in print in the journal will have had an initial airing at one of the Research in Music Education (RiME) conferences held every two years at the University of Exeter between 1999 and 2017 and since 2017 at Bath Spa University.
This year is the twentieth anniversary of the origin of both the journal and the conference, and to celebrate this, the publishers have brought together the eight most cited articles of the past two years in the form of this virtual special issue.
In their review of professional development initiatives in music education, Alfredo Bautista, Xenia Yau and Joanne Wong take account of content focus, active learning opportunities, collective participation, duration and coherence.
Inspired by ancient Chinese thought, Leonard Tan’s articles reveal the complexities involved in teaching and learning. The first one explores teacher as model, the place of music in society, and the interplay between effortful training and effortless action in development of skills and expertise. In the second, he proposes a theory of creativity for instrumental music education inspired by Confucian creatio in situ, arguing that this theory has transcultural potential.
An examination of how jazz expert musicians think can provide new perspectives on teaching improvisation, creative thinking and education in general, according to Leon R. de Bruin who explores how they learn to improvise and develop as collaborative, communicative, creative beings.
In their investigation of non-musical achievement and psychosocial outcomes of engagement with music, Margaret Osborne, Gary McPherson, Robert Faulkner, Jane Davidson and Margaret Barrett reveal improvements in the attainment of children involved in an El Sistema inspired programme.
Kathryn Marsh examines the role of music in the lives of refugee and immigrant children, and suggests how they might use musical play as a mode through which identity and cultural practices from their birth countries can be supported, and as a way of adopting new cultural practices and for transitioning between the two.
Following their study undertaken in Sweden and in the US, Johan Soderman and Ove Sernhede report a growing interest in hip-hop as part of educational associations, music schools and youth clubs. Whilst cautioning against the colonization of hip hop by the academy, they call for music educators to think beyond the classroom to enable the development of a pedagogy that can help marginalised urban youths to be motivated both to higher education and to gain a voice in society.
By giving voice to the life stories of an underground rock musician, Raam, Nasim Niknafs reveals how political music education can be. Writing in the context of contemporary Iranian society, she shows that local activism can be of great significance, hiding small but steady acts of subversion.
These summaries are offered as snapshots of the broad church that is music education, and close reading of the articles will provide insights into the cross-cultural investigations and discussions currently attracting the attention and interest of the journal’s readership.