This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2015a) for the previous blog.
Year 2015: 3rd Observation
Upon further observation and reflection, I realised my praxis consisted of two distinct, yet significant elements – that of my practice, and that of self.
Figure I – 3rd Observation (Page 2017)
Development of Praxis 4
As I reflected on my decision-making process, it became more apparent that in many ways I had two practices: the practice of my music endeavours; and the practice of my self. In Praxis version 4 (figure II below), I laid out what was central to my study, my practice on the left (blue section), and depict that manner in which I cycle around and around that practice with the circular lines around the outside of that blue section.
Figure II – Praxis version 4 (Page 2015b)
Acknowledging my observations and reflections that occasionally I deviate from here, questioning my motivation to practice, I drew a dotted black line from the blue section to the green section towards the bottom of the chart. Further acknowledgement of my observation and reflection immediately following questioning my motive, led me to accept that I then generally spend some time away from my practice, within my self; immersing within my self – my thoughts, feeling and emotions, considering my past, my life experience, my life decisions and my desired future. As this process is generally engaged in away from my practice, away from my practice site, I chose to depict this process in a very different colour – pink – and in a separate section, to the right of my practice section. I observed that I cycled around my self in reflection, questioning my self across a relative short time compared to the time I spent in my music-making practice, before returning back to my practice (black line from base of self (pink) section, returning to the top of the music-making practice (blue) section.
Research Study Question, and Focus Questions
Nearing the end of my first year, as a result of discussions and my preliminary investigations my research study topic was narrowed to be:
Contemporary DIY music-making practice and the practitioner self
As this praxis developed, I had developed some simple questions that related to each of the elements, that I thought may help me to maintain my focus whilst I was engaged in this research study process:
Music style: what I am making?;
Location: where am I making it?;
Technology and Workflow: how am I making it?;
As I progressed on this journey, I found my self occasionally leaving the parameters of my music-making practice, and consider my motive for practice.
Motivation: why am I making it?;
I would then tend to become quite introspective, and consider my self – my thoughts, feeling and emotions, considering my past, my life experience, my life decisions and my desired future – relative to my music-making practice.
Self: who is making it?. That is, who am I ?
Having developed Praxis version 4, I now understood that a central aspect of my research study – in addition to the practical and aesthetic choices and decisions I make whilst cycling around and around my practice – was going to be for me to observe, comment and even perhaps describe my motives and share some of the internal dialogue that I often have away from my practice, but as a direct result of having engaged in my music-making practice. I was starting to arrive at the understanding that whilst this journey into my self would occur as a separate practice to my music-making practice, it was in the larger picture, part of the same practice: an integrated, holistic presentation that necessarily included both my music-making practice and the practitioner self.
Self and Motivation
As I delved deeper into the literature and considered my practice, I realised both the significance of the elements of motivation and self upon my practice, and the lack of conscious consideration I had made of these in version two (2) of my praxis, and the superficial consideration of the element of self I had made in version three (3) of my praxis. In terms of current literature on music-making practice, seldom is either motivation or self discussed relative to music-making practice. Rarer still are studies of practice conducted that include the practice, the motivation, and the practitioner self.
Additional to these simple focus questions, I developed my research study question to be:
Research study question: In contemporary DIY music-making practice, what effect does motive and creative technologies have on creative production?;
Four (4) sub-questions to my research study question were formed:
Sub-question 1: what is the relationship of the elements of music-making practice within the digital virtual environment. That is, are these elements within my music-making practice independent of each other, or are they in actual fact interdependent?
Sub-question 2: what is my motivation to practice music?
Sub-question 3a: how does my music-making practice contribute to the concept of my self?, and
Sub-question 3b: how does my self-concept shape my music-making practice?
In essence, I was starting to concern my self with the question:
To what degree is music a modality of self?
Stages of Music-Making
My praxis v4 saw the acknowledgement of five (5) stages of my music-making practice:
Nine (9) Motives for Music-Making
I also determined through reflection that I had drawn on nine motives for practice at various times in my music-making experience:
Discovery – to use music-making practice as a medium for exploring, attempting to do something which you haven’t done previously;
Technically – to use music-making practice as a medium to practice one’s craft, and technically develop one’s craft skills;
Social – to use music-making practice as a medium for social interaction purposes, to connect to others;
Affectively – to use music-making practice as a medium to express or connect to emotion;
Aesthetically – to use music-making practice as a medium for expression or engagement in something artistic or of beauty;
Creatively – to use music-making practice as a medium for action, just to do;
Physical – to use music-making practice as a medium for physical expression, for exercise;
Commercial – to use music-making practice as a medium for income generation purposes;
Educational – to demonstrate specific music-making practice to my students, live or in preparation.
As the contemporary DIY music practitioner, I was preparing to engage in the creation and production of five (5) original compositions, with the theme of each composition being representative of some aspect of my life: past, present or future envisioning. The practice-led research study will allow the multiple stages of cultural production, from creation to production to release, to be tracked and captured using multiple methods, for the intended purpose of critical reflection and reflexive action by the researcher-self. I will investigate how my EP’s are uniquely shaped through the relationship that exists between: technology, music style, workflow, creative location, and motive in what most now operate within, a digital virtual environment; and, how my music-making practice contributes to the concept of my self; and in turn, how my self concept then shapes my music-making practice. Within each of the music-making practice projects (Project 1 and Project 2), I will be concerned with the conditions that exist, what options are available, what decisions are made, what workflows result, and what output is achieved. I will consider my motive (or motives) for music-making practice; the outcome (or outcomes) desired, and investigate to determine whether these are in fact typical within the field of music and sound, or whether they are typical of recent motive discussions in the developing discipline of contemporary DIY music-making practice. I will research, source and if required, develop valid industry-acceptable standards to measure my music-making practice against. On a more personal level, the research study will explore the degree to which my music-making practice exists as an expression of the self, and in turn, how a greater understanding of self shapes my music-making practice.
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1a (Page 2015c). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.