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Communication, Collaboration and Creativity: How Musicians Negotiate a Collective ‘Sound'

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Studies of collective rehearsal for musical performance are relatively scarce; reflecting both the paucity of interest within music education research, in creative rather reproductive musical activities and the enduring emphasis on composition as a solitary rather than a collective, community-based process (Young, 2008). Furthermore, as Sawyer and DeZutter (2009) have noted, even though there has been a wave of research that has recognised how creativity is embedded in social groups (e.g. Sawyer, 2006) and how creative products emerge from collaboration (p. 81) we still have very little understanding of the processes whereby creative products emerge from groups. One of my aims in this seminar is therefore to underscore the case that we should be studying these processes – both to advance our understanding of the nature of collaborative music making and ‘imagining’ and collaborative creativity more generally. A second aim is to suggest the suitability of sociocultural theory and discourse analysis as the basis for making such analyses, with the emphasis on the shared historical knowledge of communities (in this case, of musical genres and practices) and the importance of language and other communicative tools for pursuing and achieving common goals. To this end, in this session I will exemplify how sociocultural discourse analysis can shed light on: (1) the processes by which musicians negotiate musical common knowledge; (2) the significance of disputes and conflicts in the pursuit of common goals; (3) how influences are fused and connected to produce a distinctive and unique ‘sound’ and (4) how language is used in conjunction with other modes to produce a persuasive ‘discourse’ in joint preparation for musical performance.

This talk is part of the Psychology & Education series.

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