Interpreting the musical cultures of children in Ireland: an ethnography exploring children’s perspectives and voices in middle childhood experiences of music in Cork
University College Cork
This study focuses on musical cultures that are experienced and constructed by children in various in-school and out-of-school contexts in Ireland. Situated in the wider context of children’s rights in Ireland, its rationale is directly informed by the The National Research Strategy, Our Children –Their Lives 2000-2010 (2000) ten-year plan of action which was established in Ireland as a direct result of the UNESCO Convention of the Rights of the Child (1989). Through an examination of children’s views and perspectives on their ‘musical worlds’ (Mans, 2009) the many ways in which music plays a role in their everyday lives is documented and interpreted. The study is informed by research that considers children as active research participants and employs ethnographic fieldwork methods and a multi-method approach to carrying out research with children (Kellett et al 2004; Kellett, 2005; Moss & Clark, 2001). Drawing on cross-cultural perspectives on the musical cultures of children (Marsh, 1997, 2008; Campbell, 1998, 2010; Young, 1995, 2000; Lum, 2009; Gaunt, 2006; Emberly, 2003, 2009, 2011; Mans, 2009) an ethnography comprising a combination of observations, interviews and audio-visual recordings is carried out at three schools and associated after-school activities in the urban district of Cork. Original findings from the research indicate that children in Ireland experience parallel musical worlds; the music they encounter and engage with in formal education and other formal contexts can often be quite distinct from the music that they engage with, listen to and create spontaneously in both informal and formal contexts. A synthesis of themes from the literature and research findings lead to recommendations for the development of pedagogical approaches that support the inclusion of children’s voices in music education programmes, and that facilitate the role of child-led, unstructured spontaneous improvisations within the provision of music education activities, both formal and informal. Research findings further endorse the view that music provision for children in Ireland must be embedded into all future policies relating to children’s lives.
Children's musical cultures , Music education , Ethnomusicology
Finnerty, M. 2016. Interpreting the musical cultures of children in Ireland: an ethnography exploring children’s perspectives and voices in middle childhood experiences of music in Cork. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.