Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Research Publications

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    The role of artistic creative activities in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia
    Kiernan, F ; Chmiel, A ; GARRIDO, S ; Hickey, M ; Davidson, J ; Hansen, NC ; Wald-Fuhrmann, M ; Davidson, J (Frontiers Media, 2022)
    During the COVID-19 pandemic some Australians turned to artistic creative activities (ACAs) as a way of managing their own mental health and well-being. This study examined the role of ACAs in regulating emotion and supporting mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, and also attempted to identify at-risk populations. We proposed that (1) participants would use ACAs as avoidance-based emotion regulation strategies; and (2) music engagement would be used for emotion regulation. Australian participants (N = 653) recruited from the general public completed an online survey, which included scales targeting anxiety (GAD7 scale), depression (PHQ9 scale) and loneliness (two UCLA Loneliness Scales, referring to “Before” and “Since” COVID-19). Participants reported which ACAs they had undertaken and ceased during the pandemic using an established list and ranked their undertaken ACAs in terms of effectiveness at making them “feel better.” For their top-ranked ACA, participantsthen completed the Emot on Regulation Scale for Artistic Creative Activities (ERS-ACA), and if participants had undertaken any musical ACAs, also the Musical Engagement Questionnaire (MusEQ). The results supported both hypotheses. ANOVAs indicated that participants ranked significantly higher on the “avoidance” ERS-ACA subscale than the other subscales, and that participants ranked significantly higher on the emotion regulation and musical preference MusEQ subscales than the other subscales. Additionally, while ACAs such as “Watching films or TV shows” and “Cookery or baking” were common, they ranked poorly as effective methods of emotion regulation, whereas “Listening to music” was the second-most frequently undertaken ACA and also the most effective. “Singing” and “Dancing” were among the most ceased ACAs but also ranked among the most effective for emotion regulation, suggesting that support for developing pandemic-safe approaches to these ACAs may provide well-being benefits in future crises. Additionally, correlation analyses howed that younger participants, those who took less exercise during the pandemic, and those with the highest musical engagement reported the poorest well-being.We conclude that ACAs provided an important resource for supporting mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia and could potentially support mental health and well-being in future crises.
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    Agua! The flourishing of Latin Music in Melbourne, Australia
    de Bruin, L ; de Bruin, L ; Southcott, J (Routledge, 2022-07-31)
    The Latin American migration experienced in the late 1970s involved numerous and diverse nationalities that found new homes in Australia. Yet, they were largely perceived and collectivised locally as ‘Latin Americans’; a homogeneous social group because of their shared language and regional proximity. Their arrival and settlement met with an already socially and musically typecast identity fashioned via early European oriented ‘continental bands’. This socio-cultural demarcation by the Anglo-European mainstream in Australia encouraged this new wave of Latin American migrants to ‘band’ together under the shared characteristics of language, culture and impromptu music-making. Following the trajectory of the first Latin band in Melbourne, Australia, this qualitative study explores the musical and social meaning-making of five foundational members of the Melbourne Latin music scene. Today’s thriving scene reflects a dynamic ecology in which a sense of community amongst musicians is central, in a city that harbours a vibrant live music scene that not only celebrates South American cultural diversity but also a diverse multicultural participation by musicians, dance studios and wider audiences. However, new immigrants and younger formally educated musicians have begun to develop unique creative voices unburdened by the politics of exile or economic hardship that defined the old-guards’ raison d'être. The perpetually disrupted and dynamic nature of the live music industry means performance opportunities for these foundational immigrants is being eroded. This study reveals interconnection between various bands and musicians that represent a diverse and complex multi-generational community that negotiate heritage and modernity; musical connectivity and Latino/a solidarity; the socio-political, cultural and aesthetic needs of the older generation; and, the changing cultural expectations of 21st century audiences and the diversification this necessitates. It offers implications to music education regarding the changing nature of Latin music, its diasporic influence and the increasing sophistication that reside in populations towards Latin music-making.
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    Jazz education: Revolution or devolution?
    de Bruin, L ; Sutherland, A ; Southcott, J ; de Bruin, L (Rowman and Littlefield, 2022-07-31)
    Jazz has long sat as a troubling concept within academia. Jazz is a dynamic and fluidly evolving set of substyles that relies on the core technique of improvisation that is all too infrequently found within the western art music curriculum. Jazz, as a predominantly improvised music, began its academic life with a fundamentally different identity within the academy that continues to put itself at odds with academic musical culture. Jazz was, and continues to be, an evolving genre that chooses improvisation over the printed page, collective democracy over ordered leadership, and freedom of expression instead of conformity and stasis. Music education was to be altered forever as jazz first became a viable option and then a defining “classical study” in its own right.
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    Organisational change for creativity in education
    de Bruin, L ; Snepvangers, K ; Thomson, P ; Harris, A (Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2018-01-01)
    Organisations routinely approach change mechanistically, identifying needs, strategies, improvements, and assessing results correlated to intended outcomes and objectives. This is a fine irony when school organisations aim to support students to become creative, flexible, and adaptable citizens and workers. This chapter proposes an alternative developmental approach by surveying distributed leadership, problematizing common assumptions and applications in school organisational practice. Argyris and Schön’s double-loop learning model (Organizational learning II: theory method and practice. Addison-Wesley, Reading, 1996) is explored as a viable and transformative construct for change that tests underlying assumptions of goals, objectives and strategies. Whilst single-loop focuses on lower-level, low-risk change and assumes common values, double-loop learning mobilises higher order change-visioning, engages reflective practice, challenging beliefs, behaviours, conventional thinking, and adaption. This chapter reconceptualises organisational thinking through developing adaptable, sustainable and democratic forms of leadership necessary in schools.
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    Creative Ecologies in Education Futures
    de Bruin, L ; Harris, AM ; Mullen, CA (Springer, 2019)
    The challenge to foster greater creativity in education systems represents a range of diverse and complex affordances and constraints. Creativity research in education spans policy, teaching, learning and assessment, as well as environments within and beyond the school that promote creative encounters. Worldwide, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills are marked as essential for effective learners and future employees. Creativity is closely linked with the development of flexible thinking and lateral problem-solving. Yet a shift is occurring from interest in creative individuals to creative ecologies in sociocultural formations of digitally networked cultures and collaborative methods of thinking. The value of attending to increasing creative sociality within and between diverse cultures and contexts is growing. Drawing on an international study of creativity in secondary schools across Australia, Canada, Singapore, and the United States, the authors argue that because creativity in education is central to lifelong learning and work satisfaction, schools must radically shift toward a more interdisciplinary whole-school creative ecology approach, and away from siloed disciplinary and individualist learning. The chapter draws on aspects of creative ecologies in education that combine science, technology, arts, culture, and industry, showing creativity as a fundamental aspect of education across all domains.
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    “If you don’t change you get left behind”: Playing in the Banda Italiana Musicale Vincenzo Bellini in Melbourne, Australia
    de Bruin, L ; Southcott, J ; Willingham, L (WLU Press, 2020-07-15)
    Community Music at the Boundaries examines how music enhances the lives of those living in what might be considered marginalized settings.
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    Beethoven, Vienna and Spain’s Trienio Liberal [Beethoven, Viena y el Trienio Liberal]
    Christoforidis, M ; Tregear, P ; Cascudo García -Villaraco, T (Comares Música, 2021)
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    Playing an Instrument
    MCPHERSON, G ; Davidson, J ; Evans, P ; McPherson, G (Oxford University Press, 2016)
    Learning to play a musical instrument is one of the most widespread musical activities for children. While much research in the past century has focused on the assessment of musical abilities and the content of their lessons, more recent research has focused on children’s interactions with their social environments and how these interactions impact their ongoing ability and motivation to learn and play music. This chapter explores these social and cognitive developments starting with how children and their parents select an instrument and negotiate the commencement of formal music learning, through to the task related cognitive strategies children use to overcome the difficulties associated with learning and practice, and the ways they may eventually become able to integrate an identity as a musician with their own sense of self. Aspects of self-regulation and self-determination theory are discussed.
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    Introduction to Fernando Sor: Cendrillon
    CHRISTOFORIDIS, M ; Kertesz, E (Editions Orphee, 2016)