This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2015a) for the previous blog.
Pausing for a moment of reflection…..
Music-making is not a choice for me; it is a necessity. I have made music over many decades, in any different forms. I have practiced music for over four decades in multiple social and cultural contexts, and in significantly contrasting creative locations, such as a church choir singer, musician, songwriter, band member, teacher, project manager, engineer, solo artist, musician for hire, producer, and most recently an electronic music producer and educator. Over this time, I have engaged a (vast) range of technologies, using countless variations of workflow. Having commenced my music-making practice with acoustic and analogue technology, I then progressed to digital technologies, and finally to digital virtual technologies. I found moving to digital and digital virtual technologies in recent decades, difficult. The vastly different technologies and associated workflows that lend themselves to creative locations and music styles impacted my music-making practice, hindering the realisation of my creative productions, my EPs.
Observing new music production technologies and associated workflows impacted my music-making practice and the realisation of my creative productions. I observed this phenomenon had an effect on the concept of my self, which then in turn had an effect on my motive to practice music. Ryan considers it essential for a creative arts practitioner to look deeper into self: “Self-awareness and identity are significant both in the study of the arts and in becoming an artist, as aesthetic inquiry and performance are constituted by subjective self-expression in relation to objective conditions” (Ryan 2014,77).
Music is acknowledged as being particularly important in terms of the development of the self: Hargreaves et al (2002) discuss how music facilitates self expression and development, allowing the self to transform, and construct new identities. Frith (1996,124) argues that “Music constructs our sense of identity through the direct experiences it offers of the body, time and sociability, experiences which enable us to place ourselves in imaginative cultural narratives.” While Bennett (2000, ii) concludes that “music is produced and consumed by young people in ways that both inform their sense of self and also serve to construct the social world in which their identities operate”. For many decades I have asked questions of my self, though always in isolation of my music practice. Velosa and Carvalho’s (2013) “Music Composition as a way of learning: emotions and the situated self” and Taylor’s (2008) “Pink Noise: Queer Identity and Musical Performance in a local context” both stressed the importance of situating the self within the context of interest, in order to study it. There are a number of studies where this is done, from example Taylor’s (2012) and Peraino’s (2006) studies of gender. However, whilst an increasing number of music practice discussions include the element of self, however, few exist outside of academic-based articles or texts (DeNora 1999; MacDonald et al 2002; DeNora 2005; Peraino 2006; Taylor 2012).
During my Doctoral Research Project 1, I will examine the praxis of music-making practice (see figure I below): how the creation of EP’s are negotiated and articulated through: self, motive, technology, music style, workflow and the creative location. I will critically reflect on how my music practice can be considered a performance of the self, and how this performance is governed by motive, and mediated through technology, creative location, style and processes of workflow. The ways that I achieve such integration represent personal expressions and negotiations of the self through the technology and within my sites of practice, the particular music style, and my workflow of DIY music practice (Emmerson 2007).
Figure I – Praxis version 3 (Page 2015b)
In terms of my practitioner self, the following specific questions require consideration:
what are my motivations to practice music?
how does my music practice contribute to the concept of my self?
how does my self-concept shape my music practice?
Given my dual primary role for my research study of both the subject as music practitioner and the researcher, and the necessity to include the perspective of me as practitioner self, I have selected the mixed-method qualitative methodologies of: practice-led research, evocative auto-ethnography, reflective practice, critical thinking and reflexive practice (see figure II below).
Figure II – Research Study Approach (Page 2015c)
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Research Study – Part 2i (Page 2015d). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
Bennett, Andy. 2000. Popular music and youth culture: music, identity and place. New York: Palgrave.
DeNora, Tia. 1999. Music as a technology of the self. Poetics 27 (1): 31-56.
DeNora, Tia. 2005. The pebble in the pond: Musicing, therapy, community. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy 14 (1): 57-66.
Frith, Simon. 1992. The industrialization of popular music. Popular Music and Communication 2: 49-74.
Hargreaves, DJ, D Miell and RAR MacDonald. 2002. What are musical identities, and why are they important? In Musical Identities, edited by RAR MacDonald, DJ Hargreaves and D Miell, 1-20. Oxford Oxford University Press.
MacDonald, Raymond A. R., David J. Hargreaves and Dorothy Miell. 2002. Musical identities. Oxford: Oxford University Press..
Page, David L. 2014 image courtesy of David L Page Created 15th December, 2014
Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
Peraino, Judith Ann. 2006. Listening to the sirens: musical technologies of queer identity from Homer to Hedwig. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Taylor, Jodie. 2012. Playing it queer: popular music, identity and queer world-making. Bern: Peter Lang.
Taylor, Jodie. 2008. Pink Noise: Queer identity and musical performance in a local context. Paper presented at the Music on the Edge: selected refereed papers from the 2007 IASPM-ANZ Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand. jaspm.org..au.
Veloso, Ana Luísa and Sara Carvalho. 2013. Music composition as a way of learning: emotions and the situated self. In Musical Creativity: Insights from Music Education Research: Insights from Music Education Research: 73