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How do young people find their way into music making? Researchers Anna Koppäcki from the University of the Arts Helsinki and Fanny Willmel from the Finnish Youth Research Network identified factors that had a significant impact on shaping the musical life courses of the young people interviewed in their study.

The researchers concluded that among young music makers, access to such as available music tuition or accommodation; various support networks including important motivators such as family members, peers, or teachers; And the continuum of musical activity appears to be key factors in organizing their arts participation and agency in cultural production.

Kuoppamäki and Vilmilä also created five musical pathways that are understood as ongoing processes in which learning can take different forms and intensities.

Within Pathways they identified different ways and means of participating in the arts—but also a sense of it as a mindset that is tied to both identity formation and music’s acting out in the world. Methods of arts participation varied between pathways. Also, the sense of participation in the arts has changed and thus, – Sensitive

A widely supported formal path

Interviewees on this pathway began musical training in early childhood, and their mothers were an important source of inspiration when applying to extracurricular music school.

All of them participated in several musical activities: learning one or more In music school, actively participating in school music education, singing in commercial productions, or playing in a pop or jazz band. All of them had plans for a musical career.

Kuoppamäki and Vilmilä indicate that all of these Received extensive social and financial support from their families and teachers as well as their music schools to pursue their musical ambitions.

Self-made path

Interviewees on this path started their musical activities in their primary school years. Two of them started learning an instrument with private teachers. A third applied to an extracurricular music school at age 9.

According to the researchers, all these young people were learning oriented. However, unlike the first group, their musical paths were not straight. Researchers describe their musical paths as spontaneous.

On the self-directed path, arts participation is reflected in the ability to make individual choices when authoring one’s musical life.

On the other hand, two out of three interviewees expressed how they lacked peers in primary school with whom to share musical interests. One of them, who took private piano lessons, recalled:

“It was just that no one else was interested. [classical music]. So, I was a little different from the others, and they wanted to bully me for that. [. . .] At that time it was quite heavy. “

Kuoppamäki and Vilmilä concluded that for male interviewees on this pathway, the challenges of participating in the arts came from a lack of collective meaning-making and a sense of belonging. His peer groups supported ideals of hegemonic masculinity that excluded the arts.

A family and informal activity-based pathway

A third group already participated in daily music making with their family members. . Researchers see this low-profile music-making not only as a way to engage in meaningful relationships within their families, but as an important environment for early-stage music education and cultural production as part of everyday life. See also.

For example, one interviewee saw his father as a musical role model and began playing in the same church band:

“I remember how I looked at him [. . .] How on earth could he play all these different instruments, and I wanted to be able to do the same one day. And since, when five years old. . . I started learning [to play instruments]I also started making my own music.”

Later in their youth, these young people found their way into music-related youth work.

So for these youth it was a collective effort through which cultural participation took place. Furthermore, their agency was distinctive in their enthusiastic attitude toward exploring music-making opportunities and informal musical activities, the researchers concluded.

An open access approach

A strong self-directed approach to music-making was common for young people on the fourth path—although family or music teachers were supportive.

Two of the interviewees expressed an interest in music at an early age but could not find the space or activities to make music on a regular basis. Later, in their youth, they both found a musical community at school. The third interviewee from this group started his own rock band with his classmates at the age of 10 and continues to play.

Research has emphasized the role of schools in forming bands as social spaces for sharing musical interests and aspirations and offering a variety of resources for musical exploration. This is evident in a narration from the interviewee, “Our music teacher told us that in his view, the music classroom is useless if it is not used outside of the classes. [. . .] And I took it literally. [. . .] He was so jazzed about the fact that I used it all the time. [the classroom] So active.”

Outside of school, friendships and shared musical tastes generally play an important role in young people’s ways of learning music, as was the case with these interviewees.

A peer-to-peer approach

Unlike the other pathways, interviewees on the peer-based pathway became interested in music relatively late in their early adolescence. The defining factor was their involvement with music with peers.

Kuoppamäki and Vilmilä argue that the collective dimension of musical agency was important in the peer-based pathway. Together with his colleagues, he engaged in music making through youth work.

Unlike other routes, these young people have also provided opportunities for their peers. According to them, sharing opportunities and skills complements their own.

All of the interviewees experienced their musical skills as inadequate compared to others who, for example, had studied music longer or had some tuition beyond music classes at school.

Nevertheless, these teenagers were not disheartened by their sense of being the underdog. Instead, they had to actively develop their musical skills in the settings they could access.

Researcher Anna Koppaki argues that young people should be seen as cultural agents.

Young people as cultural agents and writers

Researchers point out that access to music education is regulated by various social and cultural factors, such as knowledge of the available opportunities or types of tuition, gender, or even age. However, not all young people are interested in formal music programs, which offer limited opportunities for individual creative expression and independent art-making.

“This suggests not only that institutions need to learn and change, but that the way young people are perceived in music education needs to evolve towards a broader perspective in which they to be seen not only as music learners but also as cultural agents and writers. about their own musical lives,” he writes.

Is published In the journal Research Studies in Music Education.

More information:
Anna Kuoppamäki et al, Young People Navigating Musical Lives: Reflecting on Arts Participation as Agency in Cultural Authorship, Research Studies in Music Education (2023). DOI: 10.1177/1321103X231199965

Provided by University of the Arts Helsinki

Reference: Music education, support networks, and continuity are key factors regulating youth arts participation, study says (2024, February 16) February 17, 2024 https://phys.org/news/2024 Retrieved from -02-music-networks-key -factors-adolescents.html

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