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Becoming HIP: discovering musical identities through engagement with music


Lang, M, Becoming HIP: discovering musical identities through engagement with music (2017) [PhD]

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Musical identities and musical engagement are inextricably entwined. Investment in musical pursuits leads to the formation of self-perceptions as a musician, performer, and learner, and these perceptions govern behaviour and development in the practice room and on the stage (Hargreaves, MacDonald, & Miell, 2012). This thesis examines musical identities among students involved with the department for Historically Informed Performance (HIP) at a tertiary music institution. It looks at which musical identities were relevant, how they were manifested, and how they interacted with musical engagement. HIP arose as a reaction against modern classical performance traditions (Haynes, 2007). It is focused on musical interpretation based on knowledge gained from historical sources and period instruments, with significant creative input from performers (Haynes, 2007; Peres Da Costa, 2012). The idealism and challenge inherent to HIP gives it the potential to support strong role and group identities. In addition, its close relationship to modern style supports comparisons of identification and approach which are not possible between different genres. These factors make HIP an ideal focal point for this study.

The study consisted of 48 semi-structured interviews with 12 students in various levels of engagement with HIP. Interviews were conducted during the process of preparing, delivering, and evaluating a performance, and were situated according to activity. Through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), themes were identified and grouped into five chapters: ‘Me and Music’, encompasses individual engagement with music through life stories, possible selves, and role identities such as musician, performer, student, or instrumentalist; ‘The Musician in Me’, includes more personal components of musical identities, such as beliefs about the nature of knowledge and ability, and perceptions of skills, abilities, and personal characteristics.; ‘Music, Me, and Others’ considers identity in interaction with important others, particularly one-to-one teachers; ‘Music and Me’, is focused on significant behaviours which are influenced by musical identities; and ‘Becoming HIP’, which examines the interview data in relation to engagement with HIP, and discusses interactions of identification with HIP and musical approach.

Identification with HIP was associated with a marked shift towards more positive musical identities. The HIP philosophy and approach supported students in taking greater responsibility for learning, decision-making, and performance. Student perceptions of control and competence were improved, resulting in greater autonomy and performance confidence. Conceptualisations of being a performer became more conducive to aiming for controlled performance, rather than automated delivery of prepared material. Developmental trajectories became surer and future options as performing musicians became more imaginable. Overall, HIP-identified participants began to engage in behaviours and develop skills recognised as conducive to successful transition into a career as a professional musician (Gaunt, Creech, Long, & Hallam, 2012). Importantly, there were also participants who did not fully respond to the HIP approach, in spite of professing their devotion to the style. Reasons for limited identification and engagement could be found in misalignment of self-perceptions and beliefs with the expectations of HIP, offering a potential point for intervention.

This study highlights the importance of positive musical identities for optimal development and well-being in a music education setting, and for the greatest chance of a successful transition into a musical profession. It also suggests that greater self-awareness of the contents and effects of musical identities would facilitate positive behaviours even when self-perceptions are not in alignment with expectations. These results present a challenge to music educators; however, they also suggest a path towards improved connections between tertiary music study and the realities of professional roles. Tertiary institutions are ideally situated for supporting effective musical engagement, as illustrated by the example of HIP. Further research is required in different stylistic and pedagogical areas, and to identify pedagogical techniques towards developing positive musical identities, including greater sense of competence, autonomy, and responsibility for learning.

Item Details

Item Type:PhD
Keywords:music, performance, psychology, HIP, identity
Research Division:Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Music
Research Field:Musicology and ethnomusicology
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Arts
Objective Field:Music
UTAS Author:Lang, M (Ms Megan Lang)
ID Code:136043
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Peter Underwood Centre for Educational Attainment
Deposited On:2019-11-28
Last Modified:2019-11-28

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