Doctoral Pilot Study – Part 3c


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

 Observations of my practice

The Art of self-reflection

Since commencing my Doctorate in January 2015, I have immersed my self in researching the industry and field of my practice, attempting to better understand how my practice sits within the very broad fields of music and sound. As I drilled down further, I defined a number of divergent disciplines within the field of music and sound that had emerged as technologies developed (Théberge 1997, in Page 2015a). Reflecting on the path my music practice had taken over a number of decades, I noticed that my path had taken what could only be described as a diagonal trajectory, across a number of the disciplines of music practice, as technologies were developed. Like many of my peers, I seemed to be attracted to new technologies and attempts to apply these, like to a moth to a lamp, I was passionate about analogue technologies; but I was also curious as to the opportunities that digital technologies brought to practice: the multiple array of sound options within a small device, relative to the multiple analogue devices that would be needed to produce a similar array of sounds. Then as virtual environments became possible with the development of computer technologies, my curiosity was again attracted to the possibilities: the exponential array of sound options, within a relatively small device such as a desktop computer, relative to the multiple digital devices that would be needed to produce a similar array of sounds (see History Music Production Part 5a). As I delved deeper into my past, I accepted that I did not see my self as an innovator, just curious. A music practitioner who was attracted by new sounds and approaches to music production and performance. I began to recognise that I naturally took a multi-disciplinary approach in not only my music practice, but in my life in general. I recall few times in my life where I was content to focus on one discipline for an extended period of time. I have accepted that my practice now covers three broad disciplines: a broad definition of music practice (Small 1998), education and learning practice, and my most recent engagement, research practice.

Research Practice

Continuing on from my previous blogs in this series; I have actively engaged in research practice investigating various research methodologies, I started to define my view of what my practice was. Whilst I have not formally studied Reflective Practice at a tertiary level, I have been presented a number of formal tertiary milestone opportunities where I was required to reflect on my practice. As a post-graduate research student, I am reading broadly about this particular methodological practice in order to improve my understanding. Whilst reading, I have found my self reflecting on each of my various forms of practice, and speculating how the particular methodological practice may apply to any of these forms.
Questions arising in my mind over the past several months have included:
  • What is the range of opinions about the process of reflecting within academic literature?
  • What of these opinions have been related to the context of creative practice?
  • What benefits might I expect as result of my reflecting on my own creative practice?
    • Should I expect these benefits to be of a tangible or non-tangible form?
    • If of a non-tangible form, how will I know that I have received the benefit?
  • Does the current literature differentiate between the process of reflecting, and what is referred to as reflective practice?
  • What are there different models of reflective practice, and how could they be applied?
  • Could different models of reflective practice be more appropriate to different forms of practice?
  • Is the act of reflective process in itself expected to bring benefit to my practice?
As I have progressed my Project 1’s creative process over the past several months – particularly in terms of the collection of data and accompanying documentation process –  I have found myself considering:
  • if I reflect in my music practice?; and if so,
  • how do I reflect in my music practice?
Further questions have arisen:
  • assuming I reflect, at what point in my practice – ie when – did I engage in reflective practice?
  • were there any observations in regard to the timing of my reflective practice? (ie: positive, neutral or negative implications);
  • had I observed that my reflective practice occured as a planned or unplanned process?
  • what did my reflective practice process look like? (ie: site, time relative to my practice, did I collect evidence of these reflections? and if so, how did I collect this data/by what mediums did I collect this reflection data)?
  • had I observed any benefits from engaging in reflective practice?
  • to what degree would I classify these benefits as being tangible or non-tangible?
  •  how did I engage in the act of reflection or reflective practice? 
Given that I nominated a number of authors in my project brief  who I had thought I would align myself to their approaches to reflective practice, have I found any of these models useful in the process of investigating my practice?
  • If so, which particular model or models have I found to be useful at which stage of my practice?
  • If not, are there other reflective practice models defined in academic literature that may better apply to my practice?
  • If so, which model or models may these be?

Reflective versus Reflexive Practice

The other side of the discussion practitioners may have with fellow reflective practitioner models is: when does creative practice move from one of reflection, to that of reflexive practice?  Reflexive practice is referred to when practice is reflected upon, and  choices of improvements are determined to trial and integrate into one’s practice moving forward. There is a sequence to the two forms of practice merely by definition, but as to how I can use or integrate these into my practice is still unclear to myself.
For me as a songwriter, I have for many years acknowledged that I intuitively use a writing technique called stream of consciousness – writing commenced from a specific stimuli (visual or other), writing continuously, pursuing a thought process without stopping for contemplation, narrowing ones’ focus in on a central theme, until the point of a specific topic and line of thought is illuminated and committed to the document (paper of electronic). I find as part of the process I actually move into a semi-conscious state. It is as Ryan describes Archer’s model in “Reflective Practice in the Arts”. Whilst not music practice specific, Ryan talks about performative practice which applies very well to this experience of this creative stage of my music practice. Archer’s model terms this type of reflective practice  as [bottom right point] “Expressivity – reflecting as performer to improve/change in the moment” (Ryan 2014, 80).


Figure I – Archer’s Reflective Practice model (Ryan 2014)
At the moment of time within my stream of consciousness writing, I am performing – improvising within my mind, considering and expressing, and then responding to my prior thought/s. It is much the same way I respond when I am performing music, and improvising. I am reflecting in the moment, and within a slit second responding with another melodic, harmonic and rhythmic line. I think the key aspect of this type of reflection is ‘in the moment’.  The reflective practice is on-site, in the moment. As noted in a previous blog, Schon (1983) refers to this reflective practice as being “reflection-in-action”. As a music practitioner I engage in this form of reflective practice regularly. Effectively,  I am in the creative process, performing. The evidence of this reflective practice is actually the output of the performance – the cultural production; whatever form that may be. Whether the improvised instrumental solo that may or may not be captured on tape or video; or the stream of conscious writing committed to the document (paper of electronic).
Aesthetics is another stage of the reflective practice process according to Archer: “Aesthetics – reflection of the perceiver of art” (Ryan 2014, 80). According to Archer’s model, aesthetics is a arm’s length reflective practice. It may also include other’s in the performance piece, other than the creative practitioner such as an audience member, who is observing the performance as it occurs, with the performer actually responding to their response (facial, vocal, etc) and altering their creative practice as a result. However, as a researcher observer of my own creative practice, stopping and considering my process from a distance – perhaps even only at an arm’s length – is highly likely going to cause the creative performance in the moment, to stop, while the practitioner, the observer, steps back and look at their art from a greater distance than in the first step of the reflective practice stage; that of expressivity.
The last stage of Archer’s reflective process is that of expression: “Expression through symbolic capture – reflecting on and learning about self through the semblance produced” (Ryan 2014, 80). This process is likely to be in contrast to the two former stages of the reflective practice process. Instead of being on-site, this part of the process, is likely to be away from site, as part of what Schon (1983) has referred to as either “Reflection-on-Action”; or possibly what Pascal and Thompson (2012) has referred to  as “Reflection-for-action”.
With this distinction, I realised I needed to read more broadly and deeply to consider my reflective practice model options from other specialist research practitioners, to apply to my particular auto-ethnographic research study. These are likely to be, in addition to the previously discussed Schon (1983), Brookfield (2002,1995, 1986), Archer (2010,2007), Ryan (2014) and Griffiths (2010); Rolfe (2002), Kolb (1984), Lawrence-Wilkes and Ashmore (2015), and Boud (2001).
I also need to research how one is expected to then test one’s practice, pre-reflection and post-reflexive developments. It would seem to be quite a challenging task, but a necessary one to be able to provide qualified or quantified evidence of either positive or not positive results from such reflective and reflexive practice within my research study. It is after all a requirement of robust academic research – to demonstrate thorough research practice.
This blog series is planned to continue next month with Research Practitioner Part 6. It is intended for this blog series to continue on a regular basis as I progress through my doctoral research project.
Archer, Margaret S. 2007. Making our way through the world: human reflexivity and social mobility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Archer, Margaret S. 2010. Conversations about reflexivityOntological Explorations. New York: Routledge.
Bowie, David David Bowie quote  Accessed 3rd January 2016.
Boud, David. 2001. “Using journal writing to enhance reflective practice.” New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education 2001 (90): 9-18. doi: 10.1002/ace.16.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 2002. “Using the lenses of critically reflective teaching in the community college classroom.” New Directions for Community Colleges 2002 (118): 31-38.
Brookfield, Stephen D. 1995. Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Brookfield, Stephen. 1986. Understanding and facilitating adult learning: a comprehensive analysis of principles and effective practices. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
Griffiths, Morweena. 2010. Research and the self. In The Routledge companion to research in the arts, edited by M Biggs and H Karlsson, 167-185. London: Routledge.
Kolb, David A. 1984. Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall
Lawrence-Wilkes, L and A Chapman. 2015. Reflective practice. Accessed 2nd June 2015.
Page, David L. 2015a History Music Production Part 4 – Large Format Console Studios to Digital Project Studios  Accessed 18th March 2016.
Page, David L. 2015b. History of Music Production Part 5a – Rise of the DIY Practitioners Accessed 18th March 2016.
Pascal, J and N Thompson. 2012. “Developing critically reflective practice.” Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives 13(2) 311-325. Accessed June 12, 2015. doi: 10.1080/14623943.2012.657795.
Question mark image courtesy of: Cool Text Accessed March 18, 2016.
Rolfe, Gary. 2002. “Reflective practice: where now?” Nurse Education in Practice 2 (1): 21-29.
 Ryan, Mary Elizabeth. 2014. Reflective practice in the arts. In Literacy in the Arts, edited by G Barton, 77-90. London: Springer.
Schön, Donald A. 1983. The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. Aldershot, England: Arena.
Self reflection image courtesy of: Self-reflection-for-personal-growth  Accessed 18th March 2016.
Small, Christopher. 1998. Musicking: the meanings of performing and listening. Hanover: University Press of New England.
Théberge, Paul. 1997. Any sound you can make: making music/consuming technology. Hanover: University Press of New England.


Blom, Diana, Dawn Bennett and David Wright. 2011. “How artists working in academia view artistic practice as research: Implications for tertiary music education.” International Journal of Music Education: 0255761411421088.
Ellis, Carolyn. 1997. “Evocative autoethnography: Writing emotionally about our lives.” Communication Faculty Publications Paper 304.
Ellis, Carolyn S and Arthur Bochner. 2000. “Autoethnography, personal narrative, reflexivity: researcher as subject.” In The Handbook of Qualitative Rsearch, edited by Norman Denzin and Yvonna Lincoln, 733-768. New York: Sage.
Ferry, Natalie M. and Jovita M. Ross-Gordon. 1998. An inquiry into Schön’s epistemology of practice: exploring links between experience and reflective practice. In Adult Education Quarterly48 (2): 98-112. doi: 10.1177/074171369804800205.
 Finlay, Linda. 2008. “Reflecting on ‘reflective practice’.” Practice-based Professional Learning Centre paper 52 29 (August 12th, 2015).
Franz, Jill M. 2010. Arts-based research. Researching Practice: A Discourse on Qualitative Methodologies 2: 217-226.
Gibbs’ Reflective cycle image courtesy of:  Accessed March 18, 2016.
Grace, S and R Ajjawi. 2010. “Phenomenological research: Understanding human phenomena.” Researcing practice: A discussion on qualitative methodologies. Rotterdam: Sense.
Haseman, B 2015. Forensic reflective practice: effecting personal and systemic change. Accessed 7th July, 2015.
Kolb, Alice Y and David A Kolb. 2009. “Experiential learning theory: a dynamic, holistic approach to management learning, education and development.” In The Sage handbook of Management Learning, education and Development, edited by Steve J Armstrong and Cynthia V Fukami, 42-68. London: Sage.
Knowles, Zoë, Gareth Tyler, David Gilbourne and Martin Eubank. 2006. Reflecting on reflection: exploring the practice of sports coaching graduates. Reflective Practice 7 (2): 163-179.
Lyons, N. 2010. Handbook of reflection and reflective inquiry: mapping a way of knowing for professional reflective inquiry. Vol. 1 New York: Springer.
McKee, Alan. 2003. Textual analysis: a beginner’s guide. London: Sage.
Mykhalovsky, Eric. 1996. “Reconsidering Table Talk.” Qualitative Sociology 19 (1).
Pace, Steven. 2012. Writing the self into research using grounded theory analytic strategies in auto ethnography. TEXT Special Issue Website Series 13.
Page, David 2016 QUT KKP622 Mid-Project 1 Research Study Progress Report submission draft Accessed 18th March 2016.
Page, David 2015c QUT KKP603 Project Development in the Creative Industries submission DLP DCI Project Brief  Accessed 18th March 2016.
Roth, Robert A. 1989. Preparing the reflective practitioner: transforming the apprentice through the dialectic. In Journal of Teacher Education 40 (2): 31-35.
Wright, David George, Dawn Bennett and Diana Blom. 2010. The interface between arts practice and research: attitudes and perceptions of Australian artist‐academics. Higher Education Research & Development 29 (4): 461-473.
– ©David L Page 20/03/2016
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.

History Music Production Part 4b – Experimental practice changes the approach to mainstream music-production

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

Maypole Dance.P1

(Maypole 2018a)

Mainstream popular music-making practitioners draw on broader lineage

Musical hybridity is prevalent in most approaches to music-making, particularly roots-based approach music. Mainstream music developed out of traditional roots-based forms of music such as blues, country, folk, bluegrass and jazz musical styles. Fused into an ever-growing range of hybrid musical styles such as rhythm and blues, soul, pop, rockabilly, rock n’ roll, and its various hybrids of country rock, folk rock, progressive rock, psychedelic rock and rock n’ soul. With large record labels in control of studios, mainstream music-making was a commercial venture. Innovation of technology or workflows would generally not be considered until the early adopters of such technology and workflows had demonstrated the benefits (Martin & Hornsby 1979, 58-61). Mainstream music-making benefited from inventive creative practice in the studio by a range of innovators and early adopters in the 1950’s and early 1960’s such as Les Paul, Phil Spector and Frank Zappa (Moorefield 2005, i; Cotter 2002, 593-594).
Freak Out_Zappa.1966.album cover
(Zappa, 1966)
However, it was not until 1966 that mainstream music-making – such as the Beatles and George Martin, and Brian Wilson – adopted the creative practice of Paul, Spector and Zappa[1].
(Beatles,  1966)       (Beach Boys,1966)       (Beatles,  1967)
In the mid to late 1960’s, mainstream music connected with the lineage of experimental music forms. Holmes describes the merging of roots-based approaches to music, and electroacoustic and sonic art-based approaches to music in his Chapter “Rock, Space Age Pop, and Turntablisim” (2012, 442) from the era of the Beatles. Holmes notes McCartney and Lennon’s interest in experimental forms of music-making such as Cage and Stockhausen, their adoption of the Moog Synthesiser (2012, 443-446); discusses Pink Floyd (2012, 448); Emerson, Lake and Palmer (2012, 450); and the Beach Boys, and their adoption of the electro-Theramin (2012, 455).
(Emerson, Lake & Palmer,  1970)     (Pink Floyd,  1973)
It was perhaps Brian Eno who continued on the legacy of inventive creative practice in the traditional studio that Paul, Spector, Martin and Wilson had laid (Moorefield 2005, 51). Eno has produced a large number of albums that are stylistically diverse: pop, rock, and progressive rock. Eno’s body of musical work is heavily dependent on technology – so much so, “it could not have existed in any previous age” (Tamm 1988, 63). Eno conceives the studio as an instrument, using the technological devices for purposes that the original manufacturers may or may not have originally intended. His “sound-altering devices are always changing” (Tamm 1988,73).
(Eno,  1974a)                   (Eno,1974b)                    (Eno,  1975a)
However, it is the musical style that he created that he is now perhaps become best known for: ambient music (Tamm 1988, 1). This form of music was not roots-based music-making. This was a form of music that drew on a lineage of music-making very distant to that of roots-based music and traditional instruments such as voice, guitars, bass and drums.
(Eno,  1975b)                (Eno,1978a)                (Eno,  1978a)
Eno released his first solo ambient album in 1978, Ambient 1: Music for Airports. This album’s music hinges “not on what a musicologist might be inclined to call their ‘purely musical qualities’ of melody, harmony, rhythm and so on – but rather on aspects of production and engineering, on how the recording studio was used to produce a particular kind of sound texture” (Tamm 1988, 63). As a self-confessed non-musician, Eno commenced composing in the studio, rather than the traditional method of arriving to a studio with a completed composition, in order to record the piece. “(I)n-studio composition’ is the result of the multi-track idea ‘that composition is the process of adding more’“ (Tamm 1988, 64).
“In his 1979 lecture “The Studio as Compositional Tool,” first given …. in New York, Eno shared his ideas about recording, composing, and producing in the studio. His talk makes clear that he is already at that time quite aware of the implications of his work, ….. and ….. the history of making records. He places the beginning of his involvement as producer-composer at the dawn of the sixteen-track studio, circa 1970” (Moorefield 2005, 53).
Brian Eno in his London studio.2014.jpg
Eno in his London studio in 2014 (Dark Shark 2016)
With the exponential development of technology over the past four decades, the contemporary DIY music-making practitioner can now access – at an affordable price – a very wide range of digital or digital virtual technology capable of producing cultural productions to an industry standard. There are infinite choices of: technology, and combinations of technology; different sites, and combinations of sites; workflows, and combinations of workflows; a contemporary DIY music-making practitioner can compose with. There is infinite choice in which to create one’s own unique sound, in order to express one’s own unique voice. Progressing the legacy of the likes of Paul, Spector, Martin, Wilson and Eno, the contemporary studio – irrespective of a project studio or a portable studio – is now more than ever a creative compositional workspace:
“(T)he studio is where composition (not just recording or even arranging) takes place, and what is being made is not a replication or extension of a concert experience, but something altogether different” (Moorefield 2005, 54).
Eno believes the process actually likens music-makers practice to that of other creative practitioners, such as painters. Using a studio and its technology as a compositional tool affords the practitioner a high degree of flexibility to add, subtract, or to rearrange aspects that have already been laid out (Homer 2009, 91).
George Martin_Painting with Sound
Martin was a practitioner who understood the idea of “painting with sound” (Kleon, 2016)
         (Eno & Byrne 1980)                                    (Eno & Byrne,  1981)
As the decades advanced, the legacy of Paul, Spector, Zappa, Martin and Eno gathered momentum. Music styles and approaches to production were appropriated; drawing on different technologies; using many and varied unconventional sites; using converged and conflated workflows. Hybridity was gathering momentum…..

Maypole Dance.P2.jpg

(Maypole 2018b)
[1] I will discuss Frank Zappa’s impact on mainstream music-making in a later section on experimental music-makers
This blog will continue next month History of Music Production Part 4c – Large Format Console Studios to Digital Project Studios (Page 2016b).
Beach Boys, The. 1966. Pet Sounds. Capitol. Vinyl LP.
Beatles, The. 1967. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Parlophone. Vinyl LP.
Beatles, The. 1966. Revolver. Parlophone. Vinyl LP.
Cotter, Jim. 2002. “Frank Zappa (1940-1993).” In Music of the twentieth-century Avant-Garde: a biocritical sourcebook, edited by Larry Sitsky, 593-598. London: ABC-CLIO.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer. 1970. Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Island. Vinyl LP.
Eno, Brian in his London studio, 2014 image courtesy of: Dark Shark Access after 1st May, 2017
Eno, Brian. 1978b. Music for films. Editions EG. Compact Disc.
Eno, Brian. 1978a. Ambient 1: music for airports. Editions EG. Compact Disc.
Eno, Brian. 1975b. Discreet music. EG. Vinyl LP.
Eno, Brian. 1975a. Another green world. Island. Vinyl LP.
Eno, Brian. 1974b. Taking Tiger Mountain. Island. Vinyl LP.
Eno, Brian. 1974a. Here come the warm jets. Island. Vinyl LP.
Eno, Brian and David Byrne. 1981. My life in the bush of ghosts. Sire/Warner Bros. Compact CD.
Eno, Brian & David Byrne 1980 image image courtesy of: Talking Heads session, Different Fur Studios Access after 16th May, 2016
Floyd, Pink. 1973. Dark side of the moon. Harvest. Vinyl LP.
Holmes, Thom. 2012. Electronic and experimental music: technology, music, and culture. 4th ed. New York: Routledge.
Homer, Matthew. 2009. “Beyond the studio: the impact of home recording technologies on music creation and consumption.” Nebula 6 (3): 85-99.
Martin on sound on sound image courtesy of: Kleon blog site  Access after 16th May, 2016
Martin, George and Jeremy Hornsby. 1979. All You Need Is ears: the inside personal story of the genius who created the Beatles. New York: St martin’s Press.
May pole image 2018b image courtesy of  Revels DC  Accessed 31st January, 2018
May pole image 2018b image courtesy of  Personalised Ribbons Accessed 31st January, 2018
Moorefield, Virgil. 2005. The producer as composer: shaping the sounds of popular music. London: MIT Press.
Floyd, Pink. 1973. Dark side of the moon. Harvest. Vinyl LP.
Onion image courtesy of: Onion Layers Accessed 28th March, 2015
Page, David L. 2016b  History of Music Production Part 4c – Large Format Console Studios to Digital Project Studios. Accessed 5th March, 2016
Page, David L. 2016a. History of Music Production Part 4a – DIY Experimental Practice Influences Large Format Console Studios  Accessed 5th March, 2016
Tamm, Eric. 1995. Brian Eno: his music and the vertical color of sound. New York, NY: Da Capo Press.
Zappa, Frank and The Mothers of Invention. 1966. Freak out. Verve. Vinyl LP.
– ©David L Page 05/03/2016
– updated ©David L Page 16/05/2016
– updated ©David L Page 01/05/2017
– updated ©David L Page 31/01/2018
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.