Informal and Participatory Cultures in Music Education

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Deanna C. C. Peluso


Music provides a forum to explore knowledge, creativity, collaboration and expression as a part of the human condition, in which we relate self-identity, self-knowledge and a socio-cultural context for our experiences (Hodges, 2005). Many youth are able to be involved in participatory cultures, where musical learning occurs easily and without formal intervention, through the development of complex technologies that allow interaction and sharing across the world without the limitations of geographical boundaries. Musical activities are a significant part of many young people’s everyday lives, as they are musically encultured from a young age, yet the majority of their musical participation occurs outside of formalized music education (O’Neill, 2005), through informal learning within popular music (Green, 2007). Contemporary music educators are faced with finding ways for youth to strengthen the connections between music education at school and their musical experiences outside the school walls; and I posit that an understanding of participatory and informal music learning practices might help this challenging endeavour.


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Peluso, D. C. C. (2014). Informal and Participatory Cultures in Music Education. SFU Educational Review, 5.