An exploration into the impacts of music learning experiences on the musical proficiencies of popular musicians

Choong, H. 2021. An exploration into the impacts of music learning experiences on the musical proficiencies of popular musicians. PhD thesis University of Westminster Westminster School of Arts https://doi.org/10.34737/v7027

TitleAn exploration into the impacts of music learning experiences on the musical proficiencies of popular musicians
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsChoong, H.
Abstract

Musicians practising in the popular style in the 21st century differ from their predecessors in the 20th century, as the learning culture has evolved from an aural tradition to one that embraced the use of notation (and new technologies). Therefore, the music-making experiences of today’s popular musicians are not just different from the past, but also less homogenous as well. However, not much is known about the disparities of musical skills, attitudes and values caused by the changing ways of becoming a popular musician. This study examines the varied modes of becoming popular musicians and the influence that the process wields on their developments through the construction of a mixed-method methodology that first obtained primary data through surveys from 133 participants. From there, eight purposefully selected participants took part in interviews and musical skills tests, to provide deeper insights into the quantitative data and in-depth understandings that explain their acquired proficiencies.

This research revealed that contrary to earlier accounts, a significant segment of today’s popular musician community experienced reduced levels of autonomy and self-motivation in the learning process and many do not engage in peer-learning activities. Furthermore, learning tools made available by technology were becoming a staple, and for some, notation was core to their practices. Through further analysis of the findings, these characteristics were traced to musicians’ engagements with formal training of popular music and the accessibility of knowledge through technological advancements. This evolution in the learning culture subsequently contributed to the emergence of diversities in practices, values and attitudes within today’s landscape, which manifested itself in the disparities of musical proficiencies. A complete formal music learning experience was the least ideal in ensuring proficiencies in the various musical skills examined, while backgrounds with both formal and informal experiences were the most optimum. The original contribution to knowledge is the identification of tensions between formal and informal popular music learning, and this research will be useful to scholars of music pedagogy, scholars of popular music, music educators and the wider community of music practitioners.

Year2021
File
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
PublisherUniversity of Westminster
Publication dates
Published12 Jul 2021
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.34737/v7027

Related outputs

The learning experiences and musical proficiencies of formal and informal popular musicians in Malaysia
Hueyuen Choong 2022. The learning experiences and musical proficiencies of formal and informal popular musicians in Malaysia. International Journal of Music Education. 41 (3), pp. 345-513. https://doi.org/10.1177/02557614221107917

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