Keynote: Engaging in Community Music: Lee Higgins

The purpose of this keynote address is to situate community music as a global phenomenon.  I will begin by sketching a documented history of almost fifty years, and charting a growing internationalisation and interculturalisation of community music. Interrogating some of the field’s approaches, ideologies and contexts I will critically reflect on historical developments and current realities of how the field is conceptualized around the globe. During the presentation, I will also touch upon on the role of community music facilitators in bringing about social change and the working methods and approaches that are commonly used for such purposes.


Cultural Leadership in the UK context: What might it mean to be publically funded in the UK?: Ruth Currie

This presentation will consider my PhD research, which integrates the role of publically funded cultural leaders in a community identified as being ‘at risk’. More Music, situated in the North West of England is a community music charity who, through support from Arts Council England and other funding bodies, are the largest cultural organization in the local area. This presentation will tell the story of More Music and how the organization grew from a handful of enthusiastic community musicians into one of the most significant cultural organizations in the North West of England. Further to this, it will introduce my PhD research, which considers the implications of this growth on the way that More Music work with other cultural partners in the local area and what this might mean for community music in this community.


How do we make music together? An exploration of creative music making processes through PhD research.

This presentation will discuss some of the approaches to creative music making as undertaken with diverse groups in a Practice as Research community music PhD. It will include examples of music making with community groups such as adults facing addiction, looked after young people and primary school children. Consideration will be given to the nuances of collaborative music making processes as undertaken by participants and community musicians in the music workshop. The presentation will also share initial reflections on music making in these diverse contexts, in attempt to better understand the nature of music invention and exchange within workshop practices.


Project Management, from inception to evaluation: Ruth Currie

What makes a great music project? From building the idea, to reflecting on success, this workshop aims to explore the processes and frameworks that can support great music projects in the community. Through 2 case studies of UK projects, we will collaborate to identify the successes and challenges of projects, and through facilitated discussion will design criteria of what the stages of great music projects could be. This session will present case studies from a UK context and will aim to use these as a way to explore the contexts within our own work; specifically, how evaluation processes can support reporting, and dissemination of the value of music making in our contexts.


The development of community music in Germany through the lens of critical pedagogy: Alicia de Banffy-Hall

 In Germany Community Music has until recently been an unknown term. In my presentation I will begin by describing the emergence of community music as a specific field in Germany over the last five years, with a special focus on Bavaria. In particular I will look at the work of the Munich Community Music Action Research Group and the developments that happened as a result of their work in practice and theory.  Next I will analyse these developments through the lens of critical pedagogy. In conclusion I will explore how critical pedagogy can be a useful theoretical framework for the development of community music.


Teaching improvisation through processes: Michele Biasutti

Improvisation is an articulated multidimensional activity that involves performance and creative  actions in real-time. Practicing improvisation, participants expand sophisticated skills such as sensory and perceptual encoding, memory storage and recall, motor control, and performance monitoring. Improvisation abilities have been developed following several methodologies, and a model for designing didactic activities on the development of processes instead of products is presented in the current paper. This approach is framed under the socio-cultural theory of learning. Educational applications for the following cognitive processes are discussed: anticipation, use of repertoire, emotive communication, feedback, and flow. The challenge is to overcome the mere instructional dimension of some practices of teaching improvisation for designing activities that stimulate self-regulated learning strategies in the students. These characteristics could be used to outline a pedagogical method for teaching music improvisation based on the development of reflection, reasoning, and metacognition.


Community singing experiences of post-graduate students: Dorette Vermeulen

This study explored the academic, personal and professional experiences of post-graduate students engaged in voluntary community singing projects. Students embarked upon individual community projects where a need from impoverished communities were identified. First, students were encouraged to share their music skills and knowledge with members of the community, mostly by involving them in practical music making experiences through singing. Second, students were motivated to employ a reflective approach toward music education practices by regularly capturing their responses and consciously making adjustments sensitive to the needs of the community. Lastly, students had to plan and implement a gala event where their contribution to the upliftment of the community could be visibly displayed while offering opportunities for community members to showcase their music skills. The aim of the study was to explore the students’ experiences of Community Music Involvement, investigating various aspects of their academic, personal, cultural, social, professional and musical identities, beliefs and attitudes. Situated learning theory formed the theoretical framework of the study, as the research was based upon the notion of teaching and learning as a social practice within a cultural, historical and material context. The overarching design of the study is that of community-based research (CBR), as it includes activity-collaborative inquiry, critical analysis and social action. Semi-structured focus group interviews were held with the students before and after the process, thereby providing an in-depth perspective of their experiences. Interpretative phenomenological analysis served as the method of examining data. Analysis of student narratives brought forth the following themes: personal enrichment and professional empowerment through sharing of expertise; new insights in the way they practice music and apply theory; practical difficulties concerning cultural and language differences; financial and time constraints; and feelings of being overwhelmed by the needs of a community and inadequacy in their personal/professional capacity to meet such needs. The theme, however, which resonated from all transcripts were that students highly regarded the capacity of music to make a meaningful contribution to relevant communities.


Positioning Community Music in the Academy: community music training and transformation South Africa. Susan Harrop-Allin

In post-apartheid South African higher education, the terms “transformation”, and more recently “decolonization” are given to what has become the sector’s highest priority. ‘Transformation’ in this context implies ensuring equality of opportunity and access to education to an increasing diversity of students; building democracy and contributing to development, and fostering curriculum change and innovation in relation to the de-colonisation project and a closer responsiveness to society.

What might this have to do with Community Music?

The rationale for initiating participatory arts and community engagement activities in Wits University’s BMus degree is closely related to this transformation agenda. Internationally, Community Music’s principles of inclusivity, diversity, providing access to musicking and its participatory pedagogies resonate with the university’s transformation goals. The dismantling of epistemological hierarchies in teaching music, and teaching how to teach and perform music, for diverse purposes and participants, further speak to the curriculum decolonization project.

Using data from student reflective essays and focus-group discussions, I describe student learning outcomes of the Wits Community Music course, focusing on their service-learning experiences as both facilitators and performers. Student responses suggest that Community Music at Wits has the potential to transform the BMus from an individually focused training, to one that develops students’ applied musicianship in the service of others. Wits Community Music is working towards a more collaborative, group-orientated curriculum and pedagogy that engages directly with different communities and engenders a sense of social and civic responsibility in graduate students so they may become “agents of social change.”

The paper poses questions regarding the conceptualization of community music in South Africa, as a discipline allied to music education, and then in terms of the diverse range of community music practices, with a view to a context-based understanding of what it means to do community music in South Africa.


La Banda di via Mozart”: un’esperienza di promozione del benessere sociale attraverso la musica nel rione Firmian a Bolzano

Anna Dalle Piatte – Francesca Sordon

“A Bolzano c’è una via / della periferia / la più bella che ci sia / è speciale, è casa mia…”
L’Azienda Servizi Sociali di Bolzano presenta “La Banda di via Mozart”, progetto educativo di prevenzione del disagio e di promozione della coesione sociale, che il Distretto Sociale Don Bosco sta promuovendo da alcuni anni a favore dei minori appartenenti a una particolare realtà sociale all’interno del rione Firmian di Bolzano. Elemento chiave del lavoro è il fare musica insieme: la musica è veicolo per l’educazione personale e collettiva, strumento per la promozione dell’integrazione e dell’inclusione sociale, esperienza di convivenza e di contaminazione positiva tra diverse provenienze sociali e culturali, arte che, attraverso il piacere e la bellezza, genera benessere nella comunità.
Questa presentazione racconterà la storia e lo sviluppo del progetto, dalla sua nascita fino ad oggi. Un particolare approfondimento verrà dedicato alla fase più recente del progetto, che ha scelto il rap come strumento di lavoro con i ragazzi: un linguaggio che appartiene al mondo giovanile, che facilita la condivisione di vissuti e di emozioni e che permette di dare loro forma e senso attraverso l’espressione e la narrazione individuale e collettiva.
Il progetto è integrato nella rete di collaborazione tra i servizi territoriali e si colloca nel più ampio circuito del “Sistema delle Orchestre e dei Cori Giovanili e Infantili in Italia”.


Musician and/or Citizen: A Croatian Perspective in Search of University’s Identity

Ana Čorić

Being an musician is and should be one of the most selfless professions. Fullfilling musicians’ artistic role in the society can’t be achieved through a successfull performance alone. Their music should be used in a way to clarify and enhance the human experience, because it can be a path to transform the whole society. This is the reason why higher (third level) music education of the 21st century requires a change of paradigm of action in the direction of community advocacy and civic engagement. Perceiving the needs of society doesn’t mean lack of artistic quality; it means using of music as a basis for active participation in the society. An inclusive engagement with music in educational contexts has become a new approach to learning a specific form of citizenship – the artistic citizenship. It is an ethical way of living, making, teaching and sharing music whose aim is to have a lifelong artistic engagement and personal fulfillment (Schmidt-Campbell and Martin, 2006; Elliott, 2015; Elliott, Silverman and Bowman, 2016; Polisi, 2016). The focus of music education is widening from schools and concert halls to the community. By integrating music and music education in all aspects of social life we contribute to music greatness and profoundity, and also make music accessible to all citizens. Successful integration depends, among others, on the preparation of professionals, which is the reason why artistic citizenship and praxial music education should be a part of the university curricula and lifelong professional training. Developing social and civic competences, cultural awareness and expression becomes fundamental in music teachers’ personal and civic development. As these potentials of music are recognised in international documents of arts education (UNESCO, 2006 and UNESCO, 2010), but still unrecognised in Croatia, my research aims at exploring the concept of artistic citizenship, with a view to see whether and in what way it could be used for introducing the perspective of civic engagement to Croatian music academies. Using qualitative methodology, the paper will present results of a research made on Academy of Music, University of Zagreb in 2016/2017. in order to see the students’perspective. The focus of research on local community culture will examine the context of university music education in Zagreb and Rijeka (two cities where the Academy is located), which will explore the specificities related to the location of the study and the performance of teaching itself and give suggestions for further work.




“Ritmia practice and its effects on musical and attention skills in preschool age children”

Sara Fabri


Ritmia is a new preparatory musical practice for 3 to 10 years old children, created by the italian musician and teacher Sonia Simonazzi. The practice is based on three fundamental elements: sound, movement and symbol. During Ritmia lessons musical and cognitive skills (as attention) are trained. Body movement and food for imagination help children participate in the activities and learn without knowing it. In this investigation we present a study carried out on 67 pre-school children to whom Ritmia method was applied (experimental group) in order to observe their attention and musical skills development. The study was carried out on a control group of 67 pre-school children too. The pre and post test in the experimental group have shown evidence of a noticeable improvement in both attention and musical skills, due to the Ritmia practice training. On the contrary, pre and post test on the control group showed results not as significant as in the experimental group.




Bucket Drumming: Lee Higgins

In this practical workshop, we explore collaborative music making through rhythm. To facilitate this, we will make a bucket drum ensemble from materials provided. After ‘building’ your instrument we will layer a multitude of different grooves stopping from time to time to reflect on the workshop process. At the end of this workshop you should have be able to create your own bucket drum orchestra and have some ideas as to how you might start a rhythmic ensemble.


Creative music making: Jo Gibson

This practical session will explore approaches to creative music making in groups. During the session, we will devise new musical material using voice, body percussion and instruments. We will create new music using two approaches. First, we will explore creating material through improvisation processes. Second, we will respond to images and set themes through sound. Time will also be available to reflect on the creative processes undertaken. You do not need to play an instrument to join this session, however if you have an instrument that you would like to play please bring it. We will also have a selection of tuned and untuned percussion instruments available.

– This is based on a minimum of a 1.5 hour session with c.15 participants

– Images used for thematic starting point to scaffold language challenges that may emerge

– Tuned/untuned percussion is suggested as available (is that what they might have access to in their contexts?)… this really depends on what the participants are likely to be able to work with beyond the session. If this needs to be entirely vocal I will think of some creative approaches to support exchange between the 3 languages.


Community music workshop on Body Percussion, boomwhakers and ethnic percussions: Adriano Lasagni

“Community music” is about making music in a welcoming atmosphere, where each student can find his/her own musical interests and make new friends. This is a new music learning programme which goes beyond traditional approaches and involves both theory and practice. It is therefore important to know not only the technical skills, but also the historical context that created the music.Body percussion, boomwhackers, and ethnic percussions masterclasses generate a real “show” where free movement and rhythm fit with one another, guided by the student’s own imagination and creativity.  Expression, communication, emotions and creativity are in fact the most important skills in this process.M° Adriano Lasagni’s job is to make things easier for the class, and to guide students through exercises and rhythmic/melodic games to establish a musical relationship.When this experience is shared in a group environment, it can improve the student’s sense of collaboration by creating new sounds as a group.Such team work makes one feel that they are an important part of a far greater thing, and also encourages them to tell their own story through the music.By creating new sounds, the students will achieve “harmony” by means of improvisation and thought, while listening to each other’s sounds, and this is why every individual is an essential part of the group. During the masterclass, everyone will learn each other’s qualities and all barriers will be broken down, finally allowing them to open their minds to fully sharing the emotions.As a result of breaking down these barriers between the students, they will become more sensitive in their consideration of the diversity between them and see these differences as important resources.


Using critical pedagogy to examine community music practices: Alicia de Banffy-Hall

In this workshop we will explore how key ideas of critical pedagogy can be a basis for community music practice. Through a musical exercise we will explore community music practices through the lens of critical pedagogy. Firstly by creating a piece together, secondly by reflecting on the process and thirdly discussing the potential of critical pedagogy for the development of community music projects in different contexts.