Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs
Great Supervisor Week Mentions
He has been very supportive through the master's process, as well as helping guide the process of writing the capstone paper. His patience to listen to all my rambling ideas and willingness to give suggestions in developing this paper have been very important through this process. Finally, his encouragement has helped keep me going, even when it has felt like a long and slow endeavor.
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision
Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.
Music theorists have emphasized the intellectual, disembodied mind throughout music education’s history in Western culture extending back to the time of the ancient Greeks. Additionally, Regelski (2009) notes that the dominant and residual view of music curriculum involves the contemplation of music for its own sake (i.e., autonomous “works”) instead of experiencing it through action. Yet pioneering advocates for movement in music education, including Jaques-Dalcroze, Orff, Kodály, and Suzuki, all affirmed and emphasized the centrality of the body in music making and learning. Present-day instrumental music teachers’ proclivity toward teaching to the minds of their students (marginalizing physical action) seems incongruous with the views of these pioneers, especially when one considers the prevalence of movement and dance in contemporary popular music culture.When instrumental music teachers focus on teaching to the minds of their students, they ignore the importance of the students’ ancillary movements, those physical movements not directly involved in the production of sound (e.g., leaning forward, swaying side to side). Research on the importance of ancillary movements in the experiences of adolescent students studying instrumental music is sorely lacking. I thus undertook a two-month study utilizing a phenomenographic approach, which involves identifying and describing the varied conceptions of a phenomenon held by the members of a group collectively, not individual conceptions. I used interviews and student journals to map the different conceptions 24 adolescent instrumental music students have of ancillary movements.I found that ancillary movements reflect students’ degree of engagement with music-making and that these movements hold important meanings for them. Participants’ statements suggested that students become more engaged with music they are performing when they 1) are given freedom to make their own natural ancillary movements, 2) feel confident with their music skills (i.e., balance between challenge and skills), 3) do not feel self conscious about what others might think, and 4) discover that their teachers support ancillary movements. Moreover, students’ descriptions of their conceptions revealed increasingly complex understandings of ancillary movements, suggesting ways in which educators might develop more embodied approaches to teaching instrumental music.
Many rural communities in British Columbia, Canada, currently face social problems associated with boom and bust resource development, economic decline due to increased urbanization, and intercultural barriers between ethnic groups. In such settings, school music programs are often limited in scope or non-existent. Yet, in at least one rural community thatundertook a school-community music education partnership, that partnership positively influenced community identity, agency, and vitality and brought greater recognition and support to its school music program. My purposes in this study were to investigate how three such partnerships have contributed to the social, cultural, and economic sustainability of theircommunities and to learn how they may have served to shift community members’ conceptions of the value of music and music education. For this multiple case study of Powell River, Nelson, and Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, I examined school and municipal historical records and conducted interviews with individual community members and school staff to determine the circumstances that made possible their partnerships. I spoke with focus groups comprising partnership committee members to learn how the dynamic and structural properties of the partnership networks have impacted the ways in which social capital functions in them. Finally, I conducted 6-8 semistructured interviews at each site with key community members to elicit their conceptions of changes over time regarding 1) identity, agency, and vitality, and 2) attitudes toward and scope of musical engagement inside and outside of their schools. I found that partnerships that promoted local attributes, high levels of community engagement, and a physical commons fostered social capital and provided more opportunities for community members to address local social justice issues (e.g., equitable access to music education, cultural inclusion), drawing upon shared values as bases for resolving those issues. I also found that reciprocity gives rise to social capital only when, in addition to asimple exchange, it entails a sincere recognition of efforts (e.g., moving beyond traditional rational actor or habitual conceptions). The bridging social capital emerging from these partnerships contributed significantly to vitality in these three communities, also favourably shifting community conceptions of the value of music education.
Ministry of Education policy guidelines (e.g., 2007) call upon educators in Ontario to include cultural knowledge and perspectives of First Peoples in their school practice, and recent provincial arts curricula encourage inclusion of and instruction on music and related knowledge of Aboriginal Peoples. But mainstream music teachers commonly lack knowledge about music of Native North American cultures and culturally appropriate ways of teaching it, instead using approaches and materials that are predicated upon Western notions of music, musicianship, and instructional method (Bowman, 2007). This study, grounded theoretically in critical pedagogy (Kincheloe, 2008) and a constructivist dialogic approach to understanding (Gadamer, 2004/1975), had two purposes: (1) to construct understandings about the school teaching of music of one First Nation cultural group that were voiced by cultural practitioners from that group, and (2) to critically examine changes in teachers’ practices as they engaged with music and related knowledge following their mentoring with these practitioners. Case study method was used in a survey of five mentoring events in which First Nations mentors, most of whom were associated with the Iroquoian cultural group, shared music and related knowledge in mainstream school classrooms. Mentors communicated six clusters of interconnected values—characterized as “who we are and where we come from,” keeping knowledge alive, responsibility, relationship, respect, and “connection and wholeness”—associated with their school sharing of music and related knowledges. They suggested that teachers learn local music from a community cultural teacher and teach music in context with other cultural, historical, and place-based knowledge. The teachers found that accuracy, the importance of story and teachings, and the notion of connection, particularly connection to nature, were significant. While some teachers focused on musical understandings, the teacher who interacted most with community members communicated values that more closely reflected values shared by the mentors. Openness, initiative, and continued interaction with community members promoted change in her practice and her consideration of epistemological, decolonizing, and restorative functions associated with teaching music and knowledge of a First Nation. Through personal reflective ethnography, the researcher examined changes in her own understanding as she engaged in this research.
Master's Student Supervision
Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.
Some students commit to many years of study in classical piano and achieve high levels of certification but do not show much interest in playing the instrument afterwards. The purpose of this study was to explore social and cultural norms that impact long-term student motivations to attain high-level piano qualifications in cases where students have no subsequent plans to pursue professional musical activities. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 9 ex-piano students, all of whom were enrolled in or had recently completed graduate programs in fields other than music or music education. Bourdieu’s theories of cultural capital and habitus provided the framework for data analysis. Self-Determination Theory was then applied to the narratives to determine if each student had internalized the belief that the piano credential was a valuable asset. The narratives showed a theme of concerted cultivation by parents. All participants exhibited a habitus of scholarly study that extended to their classical piano studies. Students became self-motivated when they reached a minimal skill threshold by the age of approximately 11 years, and confidence in their own competence fueled the desire to continue with their piano studies. Students felt that ownership of a piano qualification validated their ability to play, although none expressed the belief that these qualifications brought social or economic benefits. Further research to include a more diverse group, including parents, teachers, and non-graduate students, would provide more insight into whether these patterns can be applied more generally to classical piano study and to other extracurricular activities.
This thesis is a research study of the practices and perspectives of six Asian Canadian teachers as non-Indigenous settlers of colour in decolonizing education in the learning areas of mathematics and music. With a growing population of migrant communities, I raise the importance of understanding how people of colour construct their racial, national, cultural and settler identities as Canadians including their relationships with Indigenous peoples, lands, and knowledge systems. With the background of my own experience as an Asian New Zealander, I explore how Asian Canadian teachers have been practicing Indigenization and decolonization in their pedagogy. Drawing upon scholars in Indigenous, settler, and Asian Critical Studies, I investigate how participants’ constructs of identity affect their sense of responsibilities to participate in Indigenizing and decolonizing their teaching practice.Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with six Asian Canadian teachers—three mathematics teachers and three music teachers. The interviews explored participants’ life stories and experiences that contributed to their identity construction as Asian Canadians and their experiences in learning and teaching Indigenous knowledge and worldviews. The findings suggest that the participants face experiences of being perpetual foreigners/denizens which I theorize is a barrier to Asian teachers realising responsibilities to decolonize. I offer my suggestions for stakeholders in education – i.e., policymakers, administrations, and educators – in the form of various approaches to decolonize education that centre goals of Indigenous self-determination.
This ethnographic case study focuses on the Carnegie Centre Jazz Band, a city-run community music program for adult learners at the Carnegie Centre, a community centre in the heart of Vancouver’s most aggrieved and marginalized area, the Downtown Eastside (DTES). I have been playing with the Carnegie Jazz Band, a free and open program at the Centre, since January 2010. As a participant-observer between February and April 2013, I conducted three private audio-recorded interviews with twelve of the fifteen regular members of the band who consented to participate, including Brad Muirhead, the bandleader. They provided information on their reasons for joining the band, why they continue to participate, what they gain from the experience, and what they hope for as outcomes of their participation. In this thesis, I examine the benefits that music making, specifically jazz and creative improvisation, provide for the band members, showing how they see themselves as music-makers within the program, identifying the challenges they face in participating, and situating their involvement in the larger paradigms of community music and communities of practice. The factors that motivate the individual members of the band to participate are myriad, but they all share an interest in and a commitment to supporting one another’s learning. One of the main findings of this case study is that approaching music-making with an aesthetic and ethos of improvisation is central to the band’s success in the aggrieved and marginalized DTES.
Bryan Stovell is a highly acclaimed music teacher who has taught and mentored some of the most celebrated Canadian musicians in the world today. His list of prestigious former students includes Diana Krall, Ingrid Jensen, Christine Jensen, and David Gogo. This study is centered on the question: What aspects of Bryan Stovell’s life and work, if any, have enabled so many of his former students to become extraordinarily successful in the professional music world? To answer this question, I conducted a series of interviews with Stovell. When collecting and analyzing data, I used an adapted version of Rosenthal’s “gestalt-theoretical phenomenological concept of the dialectical interrelation between experience, memory and narration.” Rosenthal has used this method to distinguish between the “narrated life as related in conversation or written in present time and the lived-through life” (Rosenthal, 2006, p. 1). I augmented this method by including in my analysis accounts of Stovell’s work, character, and personality provided in interviews with Stovell’s former students. My analysis yielded five relatively distinct answers to the central research question: (1) Stovell’s musical competence and vast musical experiences allow him to inspire, motivate, and provide practical opportunities for his students. These practical opportunities include connecting his most promising students to the professional world. (2) Stovell’s practical pedagogy allows students to gain vital hands on experience and enables him to meet unique needs of individuals within the classroom environment. (3) A consistent, dedicated approach to education over the last 50 years has allowed Stovell to provide a productive learning environment for a relatively large group of students. Students gain a sense of safety and confidence from Stovell’s predictable approach, and his example inspires them to tackle their own development in a consistent and dedicated manner. (4) Stovell has a unique capability for developing authentic and productive relationships with students. These relationships allow him to meet the individual needs of his students and inspire them to connect with music in deeply personal ways. (5) Stovell’s extraordinary commitment to extra-curricular activities enables his students to gain authentic and practical musical experiences outside of the classroom.
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