Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 1f

Doctorate of Creative Industries Project 1

research

This blog is a continuation of a series. See here (Page 2016a) for the previous blog.

Year 2016: Beginnings Part 1f

cooltext170962165748837

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring” [Bowie 2016].

Creative practice and identity

DIY Culture
Hartley refers to these inhabitants of the DIY cultural domain as DIY citizens:
“DIY citizenship harvests the same fields as DIY culture, but is not confined to spectacular subcultures or youth activism. It’s just as likely to occur among – for instance – suburban woman who have leisure to stay at home and browse the internet and who, it transpires are busy inventing senses of themselves..” (Hartley 2005, pp111-112).
Kuznetsov & Paulos and Prior refer to these inhabitants of the DIY cultural domain as the new amateurs. The new amateur seeks a wide range of interests with engaged commitment (Kuznetsov and Paulos 2010; Prior 2010). Interests are as wide and as varied as one can imagine. Of the more popular trends televised on commercial networks are: real estate-based activities such as renovation and landscaping; sport-based activities including team and solo rock-climbing, abseiling, mountain-biking, parachuting, to name but a few; leisure activities such as camping, trekking, travelling; and creative activities. Popular examples of creative activities include art and craft-based activities such as drawing, sculpture, pottery and glass blowing; fashion-based activities such as clothes and jewellery design and making; food-based activities such as cooking and cake decorating; IT games-based activities such as playing – solo, team and competing – and design; drama-based activities such as script-writing, acting, prop design and construction, and musical theatre; and music-based such as instrument-making, song-writing, production techniques and music-making. Having interviewed hundreds of people over a number of years regarding their creative activities, Csikszentmihalyi & Robinson found people engaged in such creative activities as listed above “because they enjoy what they are doing to the extent that experiencing the activity becomes its own reward” (1990, 7). However, the activities I have referred to here are somewhat traditional types of creative activities. Cultural consumption and production has continued to change significantly in the new millennium. Creative activities – creative practice – are no longer restricted to these types of activities (Taylor and Littleton 2012, 4). “An expanded and extreme set of creative practices is subverting well-understood categories of the arts and culture, collapsing the borders between traditional and the innovative, …… the everyday and the celebrity, the professional and the amateur” (Haseman 2005, 158). In analysing a range of contemporary creative practice, Haseman found the following five (5) characteristics worthy of a millennia definition:
  1. Creative practices involve interactivity;
  2. Creative practices are intrinsically hybrid;
  3. Creative practices embrace new sites and forms of cultural production;
  4. Creative practices are orientated towards multi-platform, cross-promotional means of distribution; and
  5. Creative practices are not approached as if they are commercially irrelevant[1] (Haseman 2005, pp167-169) 
Creative practice as an expression of self
McRobbie (1998, 103) believes that millennia practitioners engage in creative activities for intrinsic motives as Czikszentmihalyi & Robinson found. However, McRobbie progresses the conversation, finding creative practitioners in her study using their “creative work as an expressive extension of self”. More specifically, as Taylor & Littleton report: “creative work is a means of self-actualisation” – a medium for the creative practitioners to discover themselves, on the path to realising their full potential (McRobbie in Taylor & Littleton 2012, 31).
In terms of the range of creative practice, music-making is acknowledged in research as being significant in terms of the development of 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.” 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”.
The self and creative practice
Ryan develops the relationship between creative practitioners and self: Ryan considers creative practice to be not limited to an expressive extension of the self, but essential practice for creative arts practitioner to look deeper into the 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).
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 stress the importance of situating the self within the context of the creative practice interest, in order to study it. As do Taylor’s (2012) and Peraino’s (2006) studies of gender. Webber (2009) clearly reinforces these perspectives in “In music and in life: confronting the self through auto-ethnography” with his claim that it is necessary to situate the self within practice – in order to be very familiar with that practice – in order to properly understand and analyse that practice:
…. “without that familiarity, there is no validity at all. One cannot “situate” without intimate self-knowledge. One cannot analyse ethnographic material, auto or not, if the “subject” is unfamiliar or unconnected with their own experience. Ethnography of any name is about situating the individual experience within culture” (Webber 2009, 268).
Contemporary music-making praxis
Aside from the examples provided above, contemporary music-making practice is more often described and explained in contemporary music production textbooks in terms of technology, creative location, music style or suggested workflow; often as independent elements of music-making practice (Owsinski 2005; Owsinski 2013; Owsinski 2014; Owsinski 2010; Huber and Runstein 2014; Izhaki 2013; Gilreath, 2010). In just the short time I have engaged in this pilot study of my music-making practice, I have observed an interdependency of these elements. However, inclusive of the elements are both motive and self. I have observed questions of self arise during moments of reflection in my music-making practice, both on site and away from site. Further, I found that such reflections were actually beneficial to my practice, better preparing me for practice, refining my focus on the theme I was in need of, and as such was guiding my practice. By the end of the first month into my pilot study, I realised my Praxis was in need of a fundamental review. In Praxis version 4 (figure I below), I had laid out my practice on the left (blue section). Acknowledging my observation and reflection immediately following any questioning of my motive, I would spend some time away from my practice, within my self. As this process was always after practice, away from my practice site, I chose to place this pink section, to the right of my practice.
dlp-music-praxis-v4-large-with-lines-20151203-p1
Figure I – Praxis v4 (Page 2015)

Year 2016: 4th Observation

However, in after just four (4) weeks of engaging in this pilot study, I had now observed quite an alternative view. I had observed that the self was in fact driving my practice – preceding my practice, at the forefront of my practice. As such, I decided it would be more accurate to represent the self relative to the practice.
Figure II – 4th Observation (Page 2017)
In Praxis v5a (see figure III below) – within the first month of my doctoral pilot study – I now recognised the self was actually the lead element in practice, in effect driving my practice. I inverted the Praxis chart v5a to have the self represented in pink on the left, with motive in green, at the bottom, and with my music-making practice, represented in blue following on the right. Yes, I was now acknowledging that it was my self that was underpinning my practice. Not the other way around that I had assumed just four (4) weeks prior. This was a significant shift in how I had viewed my practice previously, where (for example in Praxis v4) my self was an element, but not necessarily driving my practice.
 DLP DCI Praxis v5a.20160131.P2.png
Figure III – Praxis v5a (Page 2016b)
The ten (10) elements of praxis v5a were now seen to be:
  1. Self
  2. Motive
  3. Song Mood
  4. Musical Style
  5. Reference Track
  6. Global Song Composition Style (process vs product)
  7. Likely specific song composition style workflow
  8. Technology
  9. Location
  10. Workflow

onion-layers

Footnotes
[1]I understand Haseman’s comment to be: creative practitioner’s approach in a commercially-minded way – focussed and committed as Rogers (2013) was quoted as finding in an earlier blog. I do not interpret Haseman’s point 5 to be that creative practice in the new millennia must be commercially self-sufficient.

onion-layers

This blog series is planned to continue next month with Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 2a (Page 2016c). It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.

 

References
Bennett, Andy. 2000. Popular music and youth culture: music, identity and place. New York: Palgrave.
Bowie, David. 2016. David Bowie quote  Accessed 3rd January, 2016.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly and Rick Emery Robinson. 1990. The art of seeing: an interpretation of the aesthetic encounter. Santa Monica: Getty Publications.
Frith, Simon. 1996. “Music and identity.” Questions of cultural identity: 108-27.
Gilreath, Paul. 2010. The guide to midi orchestration. 4th ed. Oxford: Focal.
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.
Hartley, John. 2005. “Creative Identities.” In Creative Industries, edited by John Hartley, pp106-116. Carlton: Blackwell Publishing.
Haseman, Brad. 2005. “Creative Practice.” In Creative Industries, edited by John Hartley, 158-176. Carlton: Blackwell Publishing.
Huber, David Miles and Robert E Runstein. 2014. Modern recording techniques. 8th ed. Burlington: Focal Press.
Izhaki, Roey. 2013. Mixing audio: concepts, practices and tools. 3rd ed. Oxford: Focal.
Kuznetsov, Stacey and Eric Paulos. 2010. “Rise of the Expert Amateur: DIY Projects, Communities, and Cultures.” In Proceedings of the 6th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: Extending Boundaries, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 16-20, 2010, edited, 295-304. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1868914&picked=prox: ACM.
McRobbie, Angela. 1998. British fashion design: Rag trade or image industry? New York: Routledge.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 15th December, 2014
Owsinski, Bobby. 2014. The mastering engineer’s handbook. 3rd ed. Boston: Cengage Learning.
Owsinski, Bobby. 2013. The mixing engineer’s handbook. Boston: Cengage learning.
Owsinski, Bobby. 2010. The music producer’s handbook. New York: Hal Leonard Corporation.
Owsinski, Bobby. 2005. The recording engineer’s handbook. New York: Hal Leonard Corporation.
Page, David L. 2017d. Figure II – 4th Observation image courtesy of David L Page. Created 17th May, 2017
Page, David L. 2016c. Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 2a Accessed 5th February, 2016.
Page, David L. 2016b. Figure III – Praxis v5a image courtesy of David L Page. Created 31st January, 2016
Page, David L. 2016a. Doctoral Research Study – Part 1e Accessed 31st January, 2016.
Page, David L. 2015. Figure I – Praxis 4 image courtesy of David L Page. Created 1st December, 2015
Peraino, Judith Ann. 2006. Listening to the sirens: musical technologies of queer identity from Homer to Hedwig. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Prior, Nick. 2010. “The rise of the new amateurs: Popular music, digital technology and the fate of cultural production.” Handbook of cultural sociology. London: Routledge: 398-407.
Question mark image courtesy of: Cool Text Accessed 27th January, 2016.
Research image courtesy of: Research Accessed 28th January, 2016.
Rogers, I. 2013. “The hobbyist majority and the mainstream fringe: the pathways of independent music-making in Brisbane, Australia.” In Redefining mainstream popular music, edited by Sarah Baker, Andy Bennett and Jodie Taylor, 162-173. New York: Routledge.
Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
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.
Taylor, Stephanie and Karen Littleton. 2012. Contemporary identities of creativity and creative work. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited.
Veloso, Ana Luísa and Sara Carvalho. 2013. “Music composition as a way of learning: emotions and the situated self.” Musical Creativity: Insights from Music Education Research: Insights from Music Education Research: 73.
Webber, Colin. 2009. “In music and in life: confronting the self through auto-ethnography.” In Music ethnographies: making auto-ethnography sing – making music personal, edited by Brydie-Leigh Bartlett and Carolyn Ellis, 261-273. Bowen Hills: Australian Academic Press.
– ©David L Page 31/01/2016
–updated ©David L Page 5/02/2016
Copyright: No aspect of the content of this blog or blog site is to be reprinted or used within any practice without strict permission directly from David L Page.

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