Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

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    Parents' and music therapists' reflections on the experience of music and home-based music therapy for paediatric palliative care patients and their families, who come from diverse cultural backgrounds
    Forrest, Lucy Christina ( 2017)
    Music can be an important part of many young children’s lives, especially when a child is unwell, or dying. In recent years, the use of music therapy with children in paediatric palliative care (PPC) has become more widespread, across hospice, hospital and home settings. This qualitative inquiry investigated the experience of music, and home-based music therapy for PPC patients and their families, who come from diverse cultural backgrounds. The inquiry employed a constructivist approach and was informed by grounded theory and meta-ethnography. The inquiry examined how children in PPC and their families experience music, and music therapy in PPC, with a focus on how cultural beliefs and practices shape experience. The inquiry also identified barriers to accessing PPC, music, and music therapy for children and families of diverse cultural backgrounds. Four studies were conducted as part of this inquiry. Study One employed a repeated-interview design to interview six parents of children in PPC about their experience of music and music therapy in caring for a child in PPC. Five mothers and one father participated in an initial interview; and three of the mothers also participated in a six-month follow-up interview, to capture in-the-moment experiences and changes over time. Study Two employed a focus group design to interview three music therapists about their experience of providing music therapy for children and families of diverse cultural backgrounds in home-based PPC. Study Three employed an ethnographic approach for the author to reflect on her work in home-based PPC music therapy with 34 children and their families. Twenty themes emerged from the analysis of Studies One to Three, based around three distinct foci: the palliative care journey; the experience of music; and the experience of music therapy. Study Four conducted a meta-ethnography of Studies One to Three. The meta-ethnography provided a rich and detailed description of how children and families from diverse cultural backgrounds experience PPC, music and home-based music therapy; and also identified barriers to access. Key findings included: 1) Migration, length of time in Australia and cultural shaming can impact isolation, coping, and access to support; 2) Families want music therapy for their child, even if music is not part of their culture or family life; 3) Music can support family health and wellbeing, although the presence of multiple stressors in the family’s life can inhibit use of music; 4) Families use music to express their culture and maintain their cultural identity; 5) Music therapy can support families who have few/no family or other supports, reducing carer stress and isolation, and enhancing parental coping; 6) music therapy can uphold and support cultural and community patterns of relationship in the face of life-threatening illness; 7) child and family experiences of palliative care can be transformed in MT, positively impacting parental coping; and 8) the emotional intensity of music therapy in end-of-life-care can be overwhelming, and lead to family disengagement from music therapy. The thesis makes an important contribution to the fields of music therapy and PPC, in developing understanding of how culture impacts family experiences of PPC, music, and music therapy; and also offers insight into the complexities of conducting research with the highly vulnerable population of children in PPC.
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    The 'speculative ear': explorations in Adorno and musical modernism
    Boyd-Hurrell, Sophie ( 2017)
    Theodor W. Adorno continues to cut a controversial figure through the discipline of musicology. Against the substantial discourse that has built up around ‘what’s wrong with Adorno’ (in which his thinking tends to be presented as rigid and ossified, inadequate to the demands and complexities of contemporary music scholarship), this thesis presents a ‘speculative’ account of Adorno’s music criticism and philosophy. By both using Adorno’s aesthetic theory in speculative ways, and highlighting the speculative, open-ended qualities within his thinking, this thesis argues for the continued relevance of Adorno’s work for musicology. The thesis’ early chapters focus on musicology’s ‘Modernist problem.’ These chapters respond critically to the musicological reception of Adorno’s understanding of structural listening and aesthetic autonomy, and consider the place of Modernist music and aesthetics within musicological discourse more generally. Though structural listening and aesthetic autonomy have been widely debated within the literature, many of the nuances of Adorno’s concepts have arguably been lost. I respond to the critiques advanced by thinkers such as Rose Rosengard Subotnik, Susan McClary, Richard Taruskin and others, arguing that Adorno has been straw-manned, and unfairly tarred with a formalist brush. The thesis’ central theoretical concerns are laid down in the middle chapters. ‘Purely Instrumental’ considers Adorno’s formulation of the dialectic of autonomy and mediation. Noting Adorno’s inheritance of, and departures from, the aesthetics of Kant and Hegel, and by tracing the particular historical developments that surrounded the emergence of the idea of absolute music, the chapter argues that Adorno’s formulation of aesthetic autonomy proves an essential grounding for the modern (and especially Modernist) understanding of the work of art. Two companion ‘Killing Time’ chapters consider the place of time and temporality in Adorno’s aesthetics. Adorno’s reception of the ideas of Kant, Walter Benjamin and Henri Bergson are explored, and Adorno’s prohibition against musical repetition is considered in light of his understanding of the mimetic faculty (arguing that Adorno’s demand for musical non-repetition operates in tension with his understanding of mimesis). Furthermore, the ‘Killing Time’ chapters argue that a coherent critique of musical temporality underpins all of Adorno’s music criticism, with time operating as an important (and under-explored) unifying motif through which his most negative musical assessments unfold. ‘Adornian Mode’ considers the place of ugliness, dissonance and pleasure in Adornian aesthetics. The chapter argues that Adorno’s concept of (Modernist) ugliness stages a radical reversal of traditional aesthetics, whilst preserving the Kantian desire for universal assent. For Adorno the universalising promise of beauty and harmony have been revealed as states of domination, and he proposes that it is through dissonance that the only remaining domain of universal human agreement finds expression: suffering. The final chapters illustrate the tangible uses of Adorno’s aesthetics for music analysis and interpretation. These chapters show the flexibility and applicability of Adorno’s aesthetic categories, and offer a riposte to that pervasive criticism that Adorno failed to ‘prove’ his aesthetic theories via concrete analysis. First, the special place of Arnold Schoenberg’s Erwartung (1909) in Adorno’s work is considered, and the earlier argument for a reappraisal of structural listening is revisited. Second, Milton Babbitt’s Philomel (1964) is considered in light of the theoretical exploration of ugliness and dissonance, and the complex question of the political significance of the depiction of suffering and violence in art is examined. Finally, the possibility for using Adorno’s aesthetics for the interpretation of Postmodernist, non-score based works in explored through via the analysis of Eliane Radigue’s Transamorem/Transomortem (1973). Time, repetition and the role of the mimetic exchange are considered with reference to the work, demonstrating the enduring relevance of Adorno’s aesthetics.