2010 International Conference on Multidisciplinary Research in Music Pedagogy
May 26, 27, 28, and 29, 2010
Perez Hall, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Musical Values and Knowledge: Recasting Knowledge Exchange and Equity in Music Pedagogy

Knowledge exchange recognizes the ways in which particular forms of information, events or problems are framed or represented to others by knowers, and knowledge equity seeks an authentic dialogue that avoids privileging one form of knowledge over another. The aim of this symposium is to consider how we can build and sustain an equitable culture of knowers in music education and shape best practices that encourage equitable forms of participation. In Knowledge and Critical Pedagogy, Kincheloe (2008) comments that “…any rigorous knowledge work involves studying the construction of the selfhood of the knower and the impact it has on what any group of people claim to know. In this context we gain a profound appreciation of the fact that all knowledge is inscribed with temporal, spatial, ethical, and ideological factors that shape the consciousness and vision of the knower, the knowledge producer.” The purpose of this symposium is to explore and recast knowledge exchange in music pedagogy in ways that promote and sustain equity in our research and teaching practices.

Chair: Susan O’Neill (Music Education, University of Western Ontario)

Susan O'Neil
Exchanging “Insider” Knowledge Through Youth Participatory Research in Music
There is evidence that the involvement of youth as collaborators in the process of research itself contributes to the value and relevance of the information gathered. In addition, the involvement of youth as researchers can provide opportunities for positive engagement, leadership, increased advocacy, and learning opportunities. The youth, working within their own peer culture, have a perspective about which researchers can only speculate. Young people’s “insider” knowledge also contributes to the knowledge of adults involved in pedagogical planning and policy for youth music programs. However, teachers often find it difficult to tap into this knowledge and/or incorporate it into their pedagogical practices. This exploratory study involves youth as participants in their own research on the topic of youth engagement in music. This paper explores how we can use research to build and sustain a culture of knowers in music education that integrates research, practice, and engagement issues. The implications of knowledge equity and the perceived power differential between youth, adult researchers, and teachers is also discussed.

Yaroslav Senyshyn (Education, Simon Fraser University)
Creative Co-Authorship and Autonomous Youth Engagement in Music
Although there is a qualitative difference between learner and teacher, this educational differentiation, does not give the latter the hierarchical authority to abuse the ethical relationship that particularly exists between two participants in an equitable transfer and exchange of aesthetic learning. The ethico-aesthetic relationship is put into jeopardy when a piano teacher, for example, consciously or unconsciously refuses to maintain an equitable balance in the learning environment by pursuing a strategy that adulates the musical score as an absolute icon of worship. In this negative situation, the teacher acts as an authoritarian keeper of the musical score and its possible interpretative potential and, in doing so, disallows the student from progressing beyond the score as more than just a close-ended blueprint. This position usurps students' creativity and prevents an autonomous impact on and engagement with talented youth that should occur in an equitable and ethical teaching relationship between student and teacher.

Linda Cameron (Education, University of Toronto)
Knowledge Equity in the Music Classroom or Studio: Dilemmas of Pedagogy
Drawing on a foundation of research data gathered in the form of over 200 written personal narratives of experience with music learning, 31 interviews with peak performers and teachers, and questionnaire study of several hundred teachers – music specialists and generalists, we have identified 20 pedagogical dilemmas related to the central educational concern of student engagement in learning (Bartel & Cameron, 2002, 2004, 2007; Cameron & Bartel, 2000, 2002; Cameron, Bartel, Wiggins, & Wiggins 2002). The dilemmas clearly focus issues of power, privilege, or hegemony and cluster into three groups: those related to subject matter, those related to teacher position, perspective, and pedagogy, and those related to student place and personality. These can be situated further into the socio-cultural context determined by subject matter, pedagogic-emotional context created by the parent/teacher, and the socio-psychological context of the child’s genetic and acquired characteristics. In this paper we examine the reasons for teachers’ choices on these dilemmas and the implications for student engagement.

Lee Bartel (Music Education, University of Toronto)
Equity on the Podium? Implications for Pedagogical Choices
This paper first examines concepts and definitions of democracy through the lens of the symphony orchestra. Up to the end of the 18th century orchestras were relatively small, required no conductor, and were lead by a designated peer performer. The orchestra developed conceptually and practically in the context of the great imperialists and autocratic nation builders like Napoleon and Bismark. The orchestra seemed to become a microcosm of the imperialist vision. With the increase in the size of the orchestra came the rise of the virtuosic, tyrannical conductor who took responsibility for every musical decision. Orchestra members perform their specialized role and must do so excellently as a “cog in the wheel” as the conductor attempts to realize and interpret the composer’s vision. Is this a democracy in action? A community of specialized equals under the delegated leadership of the “president” conductor? What kind of leadership does a democracy require? Can there be equity between podium and chair? We examine the possibility for ideas such as meritocracy, collaboration, consensus, community, leadership, control, delegation and responsibility within the orchestra (Bartel & Thompson, 1995) and then draw implications for pedagogy.

In collaboration with:

Piano Pedagogy Research Laboratory

University of Ottawa


Université Laval


Université du Québec à Montréal

Round Table