Australian self-taught contemporary professional musicians: biographies, learning sources and experiences

Watson, L 2018, Australian self-taught contemporary professional musicians: biographies, learning sources and experiences, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Education, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Australian self-taught contemporary professional musicians: biographies, learning sources and experiences
Author(s) Watson, L
Year 2018
Abstract This study examines the sources of learning identified in the music learning biographies of ten self-taught musicians who are currently working in contemporary music genres, as full-time professional musicians. The participant musicians were invited to share what they could recall of their music related life events and learning experiences. Sources of learning were then identified from the interview data revealing layers of intimately integrated life learning experiences. Aspects of Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1971, 1977, 1986, 2001; Salomon & Perkins, 1998) and Biographical Learning (Alheit, 2009; Tedder, 2007) were drawn on to construct the research design, and frame analysis and discussion. The first sources of learning were within the participants' family, where in all instances one or more family members were interested in, and actively engaged with music. From the age of about eight years old the participant's sources of learning shifted to ones connected to their self- initiated activity. From this time the sources were predominantly linked on an older sibling, peers with an interest in music and the peers' older siblings. The participants described adolescent years playing in their first and second bands as being when they learnt significant foundational aspects of musicianship. By late adolescence into early twenties all participants had begun to work as a full-time musician in various bands, and had established their song writing alone, with another musician or with a band. The sources of learning in adult career stages were a more mature continuance of previous sources, with the addition of learning from older established musicians, directly learning from band management, music industry personnel and from being in a successful band.

The significance of this study lies in its presentation of insights into the sources of learning within a music learning biography of self-taught professional contemporary musicians with established long-term careers. These insights contribute to understandings of how music can be learnt outside formal education where independent, collaborative and career progress experiences are of equal significance. In addition, the insights gathered regarding not only what and who the musicians learnt from, but also the patterns of gradual learning, will be of interest to contemporary music educators, and arts-educators, in general. This study also highlights the value of support being given to those who seek to learn music outside formal education.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Education
Subjects Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy
Keyword(s) Self-taught
Informal learning
Contemporary musician
Sources of learning
Professional musician
Collaborative learning
Learning experiances
Garage band
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Created: Thu, 13 Jun 2019, 09:13:06 EST by Adam Rivett
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