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The socio-cultural and learning experiences of music students in a British university

Dibben, N. (2006) The socio-cultural and learning experiences of music students in a British university. British Journal of Music Education, 23 (1). pp. 91-116. ISSN 0265-0517


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Research into student experience in Higher Education has largely focused on students' role as learners. However, the student experience encompasses a much wider range of behaviours and beliefs than can be captured through a focus on teaching and learning alone. I report the findings of a research project which explored student experience in the music department of a British red-brick university. Music presents a particularly interesting case study given the presence of extra-curricular musical activities, the opportunity for social interaction between staff and students outside the formal context of the lecture or seminar room, and perceptions of Western art music as a form of ‘middle-class’ culture. Analysis of survey and interview data reveals the centrality of musical performance activities, and in particular the development of a performer identity, to students' experience of belonging and achievement.

The influence of students' socio-economic background is also considered: social class was largely invisible to respondents within the departmental context, possibly because it is an invisible norm, within larger contemporary discourses in which social class is equated with financial difference rather than cultural difference. However, the research revealed an association between socio-economic background, term-time employment and academic achievement. The implications of these findings for teaching and learning in music in Higher Education are considered.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2006 Cambridge University Press. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. This file will be freely available from March 2007.
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Department of Music (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Repository Assistant
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2007
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2014 23:22
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0265051705006765
Status: Published
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1017/S0265051705006765
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1532

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