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Music in Three Dimesions

A dialogic conception of music arising from situating HE Music study within the practices of Sage Gateshead, a music organisation in Northern UK which expresses its artistic programme as equally performance and participation.

Dave Camlin

on 4 July 2017

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Transcript of Music in Three Dimesions

Praxial /
Aesthetic /
Dualist - oppositional
Dialogic - creative tension
Music in
Three Dimensions

Bowman, W. (2005). The Limits and Grounds of Musical Praxialism. In: D. Elliott (ed.). Praxial Music Education: Reflections and Dialogues. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 52 – 78.
Byrne, D. (2013). How music works. Canongate Books Ltd.
Camlin, D. (2015). Whose Quality Is it Anyway? Inhabiting the creative tension between presentational and participatory music. Journal of Arts and Communities. [Online]. (ArtWorks Special Edition). Available from: http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-issue,id=2917/.
Camlin, D.A. (2015). Music In Three Dimensions. Doctoral Thesis. Sunderland: University of Sunderland.
Chernoff (1981). African Rhythm and African Sensibility: Aesthetics And Social Action In African Musical Idioms. New edition edition. Chicago u.a.: University of Chicago Press.
Elliott, D.J. (1995). Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education. OUP USA.
Elliott, D.J. (ed.) (2009). Praxial Music Education: Reflections and Dialogues. OUP USA.
Elliott, D.J. & Silverman, M. (2013). Why Music Matters: Philosophical and Cultural Foundations. In: Music, Health and Wellbeing. OUP Oxford, pp. 942–1447.
Matarasso, F. (1997). Use or Ornament? The social impact of participation in the arts. Comedia,.
Small, C. (1998). Musicking: The Meanings of Performing and Listening. First Edition. Wesleyan University Press.
Turino, T. (2008). Music as Social Life: The Politics of Participation. annotated edition. University of Chicago Press.
A perspective emerging through Action Research into my professional situation: developing undergraduate music learning within a cultural institution [Sage Gateshead] whose artistic programme is conceived as consisting equally of music performance on the one hand, and music learning and participation (L&P) on the other.
07580 078924
Dave Camlin 2017
A dialogic way of conceiving of musical practices, recognising the inter-dependence of three complementary, integrated dimensions of music:
(aesthetic) Excellence;
(participatory) Access; and
(social) Impact.
(aesthetic) excellence and (participatory) access / inclusion unified through a foregrounding of music's social impact
concerned with ‘the beauty or ‘meaning’ of [music‘s] sonorous forms’
(D. J. Elliott & Silverman, 2013)
music is, ‘a human practice that is procedural in essence’
(D. J. Elliott, 1995, pp. 247–249)
Music Performance and Participation held in a dialogic ‘creative tension’ with each other
Helps to resolve some of the philosophical challenges contained in the long-standing ‘aesthetic vs. praxial’ debate, by recognising that both of these dimensions of music are equally valid and important, and the interplay – or ‘dialogic space’ (Wegerif, 2012, p. 158) – between them helps to create a richer context of musical meaning, especially when understood in relation to the ‘social’ aspects of music, which helps embed that meaning deeply within people’s lived experience of music.
Musicality is something which has been present in all human cultures for the 60,000 year history of our species (Dunbar, 2012; Mithen, 2007) and only relatively recently separated in western cultures with the evolution of ‘aesthetic’ forms (D. J. Elliott & Silverman, 2013; Ranciere, 2003, pp. 115–133). Or, as David Byrne puts it, ‘before recorded music became ubiquitous, music was, for most people, something we did.’ (Byrne, 2012).
Quality is contingent:
Using other ‘real world’ situations as sites for undergraduate learning would result in similar epistemological developments, which might in turn support the Arts sector to develop stronger arguments about the value of the Arts in Society.
Traditional models of music education set up the professional identity of Music Educator as the '
of a professional identity as a performing musician (Bennett, 2012). 'Integrative' conceptions of music sees musicians more as
holistic agents
, with the knowledge and skills to be able to operate competently and effectively across music’s different dimensions.

When we articulate ‘real world’ practices in academic terms,
new knowledge
Situating HE provision inside ‘real world’ cultural sector practices represents a
virtuous circle
of knowledge development: the more ‘productive’ knowledge of the organisation’s practices inform the undergraduate curriculum, and the more theoretical knowledge used to critically underpin the undergraduate curriculum articulates the complexities of the organisation’s situation which, almost by definition, have evolved in more practical ways without necessarily being grounded in academic knowledge.
Musicians need more than just the traditional skills of musicianship
if they are to form and sustain long-term careers in music.
Helps to resolve dichotomous positions
of an 'integrative' / dialogic conception of music
‘active engagement with music impacts beyond the development of musical skills’
(Hallam, 2015, p. 1)
"The wealthiest, better educated and least ethnically diverse 8% of the population accounts for 44% of attendances to live music."
(Warwick Commission 2015)
Dialogical conceptions impact positively on pedagogy by foregrounding the learners' perspective, and 'voices' other than your own.
in order to understand issues of quality in music, they have to be understood first in the context within which they occur.
i.e. in order to say whether any given instance of
is 'any good', we need to know what it is 'good
Music is for listening to: it requires ‘listeners’
Musicians need to be skilled at manipulating and organising sound
Technical skills are the foundation of good music-making
Virtuosity is the benchmark of musical excellence
Music is for doing
Music is a fun social activity that brings people together and unites us in a common purpose
Everyone is a musician, and is able to participate at a level appropriate to them
The role of the musician in society is to broaden access to music and ensure as many people as possible are included
Music consists of a series of 'acts of hospitality’
Music differs around the world in terms of
Audience – consumer
Performer – audience
Composer – performer
Object – communally held memory
It is the ACT of making music that gives it value
Everyone deserves music - it’s our birthright - it helps us realise our creative potential as human beings
It has a positive impact on our psychological well-being, confidence, self-esteem, empathy, physical health, as well as facilitating increases in social cohesion and social capital (Arts Council England, 2014; Hallam, 2015; Matarasso, 1997; Neelands, University of Warwick, & Heywood, 2015; Hunter et al, 2016)
It shifts our mood, and helps us cope with life’s difficulties
It helps us develop attitudes of cooperation and enhances our social networks
c. 400 concerts a year across all genres, inc. Royal Northern Sinfonia resident chamber orchestras
c. 100 musicians working with
c. 18,000 individuals each year,
from pre-natal to end of life, in
formal, non-formal and informal situations
in and out of the building, inc.
HE programmes inc.
UK's first BA (Hons) Community Music
How do I / we
shape / control the sound
to achieve something emotionally 'affective'? What aesthetic effect am I / are we aiming for?
techniques / skills
do I / we need to deploy / develop to achieve this?
How do I
refine my awareness
to express myself clearly and effectively, whilst listening to all the other voices?
How do I
support others
to express themselves?
How do we
work together
for maximum aesthetic impact?
Who's in the room? What do they want?
What do they need / expect from me?
Who isn't in the room? Why not?
How can I make this easier / more accessible?
When do I direct? When to facilitate? When to delegate? When to just 'get out of the way'?
How do I facilitate a 'safe space'?
How do I make space for other people's creativity?
What's the purpose?
Is it any good? Do I know what it's good
Where's my comfort zone? And how do I operate outside of it?
Which dimension/s am I naturally inclined / oriented towards?
How do I strengthen the other/s?
I do? Why don't I do that?
What am I good at? What are my skills best suited for?
Who else do I want to work with on this? Whose perspective / skills / insight would be useful?
How is love - the aesthetic of relationship - manifest in my work?
What difference do I make in the world?
What change in society will this contribute to?
What do I hope will be the impact of this?
Why do I think that?
How will I know if / when we achieve that?
Why is
a good way of doing this?
Where are the boundaries?
What are the ethical considerations?
Integrative or Re-integrative?
critical reflection
: practice as an orientation toward each dimension
"An aesthetic experience is one in which your senses are operating at their peak., when you're present in the current moment, when you're resonating with the excitement of [whatever] you're experiencing; when you are fully alive." (Robinson 2010)
'Dialogue is the encounter between [people], mediated by the world, in order to name the world. If it is in speaking their word that people, by naming the world, transform it, dialogue imposes itself as the way by which they achieve significance as human beings. The naming of the world, which is an act of creation and re-creation, is not possible if it is not infused with love. Love is at the same time the foundation of dialogue and dialogue itself.'
(Freire 1970, pp. 69-70)
Cooke, D. (1959). Language of Music. 1st ed edition. Oxford University Press.
Langer, S. (1990). Philosophy in a New Key: Study in the Symbolism of Reason, Rite and Art. 3rd Revised edition edition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Meyer, L.B. (1961). Emotion and Meaning in Music. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Reimer, B. (1970). Philosophy of Music Education. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Meaning is placed in the structure of the music and is primarily intellectual.
Music is 'not feeling, but beautifully patterned sound' (Hanslick 1854, in Bowman 1998).
'Music is powerless to express anything at all' (Stravinsky, Poetics of Music 1942)
'Art is there to help us understand things which are outside of itself - The function of the art work is to remind you of, or tell you about, or help you understand, or make you experience, something which is extra-artistic, that is, something which is outside the created thing and the artistic qualities which make it a created thing. In music, the sounds should serve as a reminder of, or a clue to, or a sign of something extramusical; something separate from the sounds and what the sounds are doing’
Music as 'universal symbolic language' (Langer 1990)
Meaning is placed in the expressive qualities of the music itself. It is the personal response to the formal construction and the referential aspects of the composition that give it value.
‘The act of musicking establishes in the place where it is happening a set of relationships, and it is in those relation­ships that the meaning of the act lies. They are to be found not only be­tween those organized sounds which are conventionally thought of as being the stuff of musical meaning but also between the people who are taking part, in whatever capacity, in the performance; and they model, or stand as metaphor for, ideal relationships as the participants in the perfor­mance imagine them to be: relationships between person and person, be­tween individual and society, between humanity and the natural world and even perhaps the supernatural world’
(Small, 1998)
Music is a discourse which permeates all levels of society – we cannot understand ourselves or our society without understanding it: ‘music should be considered as a language system that is vital to the ways in which we construct meaning, culture and ideology… [we need to] engage with the complex webs of meaning which arise as part of making music’. Philpott 2012 p.27
High Art
Everyday creativity
Emphasis on technical accuracy (telic), expressivity, immersion and spontaneity (paratelic) and virtuosity
Listen attentively, don't talk / dance; appreciate virtuosity; applaud at end of performance;

classical recital


Everyone (potentially) participates, by singing, playing or dancing - focus on joining in and having fun (paratelic);
pub singalong, community celebration, drumming circle, performance rehearsal, Mandela memorial
Short, open, redundantly repeated forms

‘feathered’ beginnings and endings
Intensive variation
Individual virtuosity downplayed
Highly repetitive
Few dramatic contrasts
Wide intonation system
Constancy of rhythm / meter / groove
Dense textures

Piece as a collection of resources refashioned anew in each performance like the form, rules and practiced moves of a game
Closed, scripted forms, longer forms and shorter performances of the form available
Organised beginnings and endings
Extensive variation available
Individual virtuosity emphasised
Repetition balanced with contrast
Contrasts of many types as design
Narrow intonation system
Variability of rhythm / meter possible
Transparent textures / clarity emphasised; varied textures and density for contrast
Piece as set item (although exceptions such as small ensemble jazz and Indian classical music exist)
Presentational Performance
Participatory Performance
(Thomas Turino 2008)
The capacity for music to transform people's social experience.
David Elliott
The influence of
on contemporary music education philosophy
"Let us refer to musical doers as musicers, to musical doing as musicing, and to the musical "something done” as music in the sense of performances, improvisations, and other kinds of audible musical achievements. The term musicing is a contraction of music making. I shall most often used musicing in the collective sense to mean all five forms of music making: performing, improvising, composing, arranging, and conducting." p.40
Most of all, musicing reminds us that performing and improvising through singing and playing instruments lies at the heart of music as a diverse human practice. As the philosopher Nicolas Wolterstorff insists, "the basic reality of music is not works nor the composition of works but musicmaking." (p.49)
"All music education programs ought to be organised and taught as reflective musical practicums." (p.241)
"MUSIC is a human practice, and all musical practices depend on a form of knowledge called musicianship that is procedural in essence." (p.247)
"It is highly doubtful that there is any such general capacity as aesthetic sensitivity. To understand and enjoy music requires a specific kind of situated cognition that will not develop from the study of elements or issues across different kinds of artistic practices." (p.249)
Teaching is a matter of intentional thinking-in-action. What characterises professional teaching is the centrality of thoughtful actions directed towards bringing about learning. (p.251)
Teaching expertise is fundamentally procedural and situational. The dynamics of the teaching-learning situation inform a teacher’s actions as much as a teacher’s actions shape the teaching-learning situation. Conventional concepts of curriculum fail to understand that many of the key problems teachers must solve do not reveal themselves before a lesson begins. (p.251)
To possess teaching expertise is to possess a working understanding of teaching-learning situations. The word working emphasises the practical, situated, and improvisatory nature of teaching. (p.251)
Because teaching occurs not in isolation but in relation to students, a teacher’s knowledge-in-action is what gives meaning to the teaching-learning situation. (p.251)
Musicianship is the subject matter knowledge one must possess to be a professional music educator. The greater a teacher’s musicianship, the more he or she can enable and promote the musicianship and the musical creativity of music students. (p.252)
"Practical curriculum making hold that the best curricula arise when teachers focus on their own circumstances, rather than on the generic scripts of theorists and publishers who tend to see similarities across teaching situations that cannot be grouped together defensibly in reality. The interests of practical curriculum making lie in shifting away from the technical-rational notion of teaching as curriculum retailers or interpreters to teachers as reflective practitioners. Practical curriculum making places the teacher-as-reflective-practitioner at the centre of curriculum development." (p.254)
" 'Music,' fully understood and fully taught, involves processes and products (actions and outcomes) intertwined. "Praxial" is meant to convey the idea that music pivots on specific kinds of human doing and making (to me, listening is a doing and a "making" in the sense of a mental construction process; "music making" speaks for itself) that are purposeful, contextual, and socially embedded." (p.14)
praxial Music Education
Teaching Expertise
"Praxis implies a more informed and deliberative doing than techne, and a more useful or practical kind of knowing than theoria.
"Practical knowledge is mindful doing, action guided by attention to variable procedures, traditions, and standards. To say something is practical is to say it is somehow implicated in a consciously chosen course of action rather than being predominantly speculative or reflective; that it is concerned at once with ends and means (with "right action"), not with activity or technical execution in themselves." (Bowman p.53)
"The meanings and values of musical practices are plural, historically emergent, unstable, socially relative, and contextually specific." (Bowman p.56)
Praxis as thoughtful action, or action-embedded thought. For short: musical praxis is mindful doing. The significance of this fundamental conviction is clear and unequivocal: praxially oriented music education must steer clear of ungrounded theory and blind execution.
Praxial commitments acknowledge the situatedness and multiplicity of practices. For short, musical praxis emerges from and is embedded in diverse yet concrete human social engagements and interactions.
In order to understand musical practices one must attend to the details of what people actually do and how such doings relate to standards and traditions. For short: learning or describing musical praxis demands close attention to the details of peoples' musical doings.
Three Basic
Praxial Emphases

(Bowman pp.69-70)
"Praxialism holds great promise for the reorientation of music philosophy in its determination to keep talk grounded in what people do and believe when they are musical together, thus steering a middle course between extremes such as the technical and the theoretical, or idealism and nihilism. Equally important is its open mindedness: its conviction that music is many things and serves many functions. The pluralistic account of music this implicates, its recognition and acceptance of the multiplicity and multidimensionality of musics, is a welcome contrast to the awkward essentialism and universalism in which music philosophy has long been encumbered." (Bowman p.73)
"Music education is not just about music, it is about students, and it is about teachers, and it is about the kind of societies we hope to build together." (Bowman p.75)
"All forms of art and art making—regardless of media or the particular “messages” or meanings they embody or convey—are grounded in social endeavors and encounters."
"Art does not consist exclusively or even primarily of “works,” nor does it necessarily take the form of “fine art.” The values of art and “the arts” are numerous, diverse, dynamic, and invariably grounded in social experience. They are not intrinsic or self-contained, but functions of their service to various human needs and interests. In other words, art’s importance stems from the effectiveness with which it is “put to work” in the realization of a variety of overlapping and interwoven human values or “goods.” The notion of resident or intrinsic value is not just misguided, then, but seriously misleading (Bowman, 2013). The value of art, like all value, is a function of what it is good for, the uses to which it is put."
"If the arts are inherently social practices, they should be viewed, studied, and practiced as forms of ethically guided citizenship."
3 premises
"By “artists,” we mean to include people of all ages and levels of technical accomplishment (from amateur to professional practitioners) who make and partake of art( s) of all kinds, in contexts ranging from informal to formal, with the primary intent of making positive differences in people’s lives."
Musical Citizenship
"Because capitalism is fundamentally based on competition, ever-expanding individual accumulation and needs, and profit extraction as overriding values—to the disregard of individual, social, and ecological health—its time as a positive engine for social life is past."
"Participatory music making and dance are among a variety of activities that can be potent resources for social change and provide alternative models for citizenship precisely because:
(d) they become the basis of special social cohorts (voluntary social groups drawn together by enthusiasm for the activity and by shared, preexisting tendencies toward the broader values that underlie the activity).
(c) they are pleasurable and, for some people, downright addictive, leading to a continuity of involvement, and thus the redundancy of practice necessary for habit change; and
(b) they are voluntarily open to anyone who is interested and, by nature, engender a kind of egalitarian consensus building;
(a) they operate according to values and practices diametrically opposed to a capitalist ethos;
Camlin, D.A. (2014). Whose Quality Is It Anyway? Journal of Arts and Communities. 6 (2+3). p.pp. 99–118.
Mather, B. & Camlin, D.A. (2016). Situational Pedagogy in Community Music. In: Community Music Activity commission. 2016, Edinburgh: ISME.
Camlin, D.A. (2016a). Libraries Gave Us Power. In: Keynote speech at Student Research Conference. [Online]. 14 November 2016, York St John University: International Centre for Community Music. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310234121_Libraries_Gave_Us_Power.
Camlin, D.A. (2016b). Music In Three Dimensions. Doctoral Thesis. Sunderland: University of Sunderland.
Camlin, D.A. (2016c). Music In Three Dimensions. In: International Society for Music Education conference. July 2016, Glasgow: ISME.
Camlin, D.A. (2017b). Singing The Rights We Do Not Possess. In: Community Music: beitrage zur Theorie und Praxis aus internationaler und desutshcer Perspektive. Munich: Waxmann, pp. 137–148.
Camlin, D.A. (2016d). Whatever You Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. In: Community Music Activity commission. July 2016, Edinburgh: ISME.
Camlin, D.A. (2015b). This is My Truth, Tell Me Yours: emphasising dialogue within Participatory Music. International Journal of Community Music. 8 (3). p.pp. 233–257.
Camlin, D.A. (2015a). Be More Human - Sing! Sing Up magazine.
Camlin, D.A. (2017a). Becoming a Community Musician: a situated approach to curriculum, content, and assessment. In: Oxford Handbook of Community Music. Oxford: OUP Oxford.
Camlin, D.A. (2015c). What’s Love Got To Do With It? In: June 2015, International Centre for Community Music, York St John University.
Making Sense of Group Singing
Research Question/s
Doctoral Studies
Postdoc focus
Challenges of Cultural 'value'
Sensemaker 'distributed ethnography'
Integrative Approaches to Understanding Value
Making Meaning
A collaboration "with partners and citizens to create various global projects that aim to explore connections to people and to place, and go beyond the surface appearance to something deeper."
The project uses the rich multi-media evironment of Sensemaker® (Snowden n.d.) to guide participants in documenting their engagement with music by collecting 'micro-narratives' of their experience: fragments of text, images, audio/visual recordings, and anecdotes. These are then interpreted by the participants themselves through a process of self-signification against a set of variables determined through a critical review of literature pertaining to the field, resulting in rich qualitative and quantitative data, whilst minimising the bias associated with traditional forms of social research.
Distributed ethnography
Qual + clusters of 'quant'
Minimise bias
Cultural 'value'
"The challenge is not to assert the importance of experiences, but to demonstrate empirically the extent to which they may ground cultural value."
(Crossick & Kaszynska 2016, p.22)
"imperative to reposition first-hand, individual experience of arts and culture at the heart of enquiry into cultural value" (p.7)
"Despite the big strides made by cultural organisations in the last decade or so, in making their case for investment, there has remained a sense that we are lacking robust methodologies for demonstrating the value of the arts and culture, and for showing exactly how public funding of them contributes to wider social and economic goals." (p.4)
Dr. Dave Camlin
07580 078924
"The committee discussed the evidence on singing and noted that it is unclear whether it is the singing itself that produces the benefit, the group-based nature of the activity or
something else
. But members agreed that the evidence (evidence statement 1.1.5) demonstrated a clear benefit."
(NICE, 2015)
Research Question/s
How does the experience of group singing compare between groups of singers in different social, cultural, therapeutic or geographical contexts?
Are the perceived eudaemonic benefits of group singing a universal experience?
What conditions support the realisation of those benefits most effectively?
Communities of Practice
UK Community Choirs:
Mouthful choirs: Sing Owt! / Voicebeat / Phoenix Voices / ESOL Choir
Natural Voice Network
Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, UK
Trauma / Mental Health Recovery within UK NHS Trusts:
Northumberland Tyne and Wear
Tees, Esk and Wear Valley
Blue Light Choir (NE Emergency Services / MIND UK)
Homeless choirs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (People’s Palaces Projects)
Youth Choirs in Sao Paulo, Brazil (Guri Santa Marcelina)
Indigenous Women and Girls' Choir in Ontario, Canada (Goodhearted Women Singers)
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