University of Tasmania
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Guitar tuition in Australian tertiary institutions : impact of contemporary music pedagogies

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posted on 2023-05-28, 12:51 authored by Lee, DA
This study investigated the pedagogical approaches and curricula of contemporary popular music (CPM) courses delivered by Australian higher education institutions with a specific focus on guitar tuition. The scope of the study included Australian Qualifications Framework Level 7 (AQF7, Bachelor Degree) courses in which a student could choose to major on performance with the guitar as their primary instrument. Twenty-five courses were located fitting the study's scope. Data were collected via surveys (n=86) and interviews (n=32) with affiliated students, alumni and educators, and documentary data in the form of unit descriptors (n=364). The research questions examined pedagogies in use by Australian tertiary institutions, how they are relevant to twenty-first century music industry practices, and how they influence the Australian voice in guitar communities, and individual performance styles of graduates. A phenomenographically oriented, ethnographic approach was developed for the study blending aspects of distance, online, multi-sited, and comparative ethnographies. Data were analysed using the processes of Inductive Thematic Analysis (ITA). Five themes were generated from the data. The inductive process generated a topical perspective of cultural perpetuation informed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) conventions for arts education and safe-guarding cultural heritage, and by industry concerns for the 'care-taking' of Australia's voice in local, glocal and global guitar communities and the CPM industry. The study found students of AQF7 CPM courses are encouraged to develop their own unique voice. It also found globalisation, via twenty-first century technologies, has had a profound influence on the nature and definitional boundaries of the subject and content of Australian CPM education. As a result, AQF7 CPM courses frequently incorporate jazz content, world music, and other genres with associated pedagogical practices. The implications of these findings are discussed from the inductively produced cultural perspective of the study. Australian tertiary institutions delivering CPM courses were found to embrace the eclectic nature of modern guitar in their pedagogical approaches and curriculum content. The discussion of the findings incorporates perceptions of cultural perpetuation via hidden curriculum and cultural palimpsests, as well as cultural self-preservation via Dawkins' (1976) Meme theory.


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