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Music as aesthetic communication in the Swedish curriculum?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Centre for Teaching and Learning in the Humanities (CeHum).
2013 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

As of autumn 2011, Sweden has had a new curriculum for the compulsory school system. The syllabuses as well as the general curriculum (Lgr11) have been revised thoroughly in order to make them more concrete and the education more easily assessed through the distinct distinction between educational content and methods. Teaching methods are seen as tools through which the teacher communicate content knowledge. The syllabus for Music has been revised within a curriculum where the term “aesthetic” appears frequently and where music is described as belonging to a communicative set of practices along with other modalities. This paper analyses the syllabus for music within Lgr11 from a pragmatist perspective inspired by Deleuze, Dewey and Spinoza, with the aim of understanding how music is being (re)constructed as school subject as well as what discourses of Music that are hegemonic. The syllabus will also be analysed in relation to the previous syllabus from 1994. The paper will also speculate upon what consequences the views on music and Music mightl have in a school where teachers are considered qualified to teach music with no more than half a year of studying music.

Music is a complex phenomenon, and the learning of music even more so. Learning of music takes on an amazing variety of forms in different cultures and practices, whilst in the western school tradition of music teaching, music education seems to be mostly about developing skills in music and knowledge about music strictly within the borders of the music classrooms. This is particularly true for older students. Aesthetic experience and communication, which in this presentation is considered the core of music, are often neglected or assumed to come as side effects of the teaching of skills and knowledge. Studies show that some pupils feel an alienation of the school subject music – that there is a gap between school music and the music that is of existential value to them outside school, and also a gap between music and other forms of communication, knowing and learning: Outside of the school context music is being used for personal fulfilment, social interaction, identity creation and personal and social reflection where the borders of music towards other forms of expression and communication is of no inherit importance.

The primary empirical material for the analysis is a comparison between the two latest curricula for the Swedish compulsory school. Aesthetic communication is often understood as multimodal communication where multiliteracy is needed to be able to be an active citizen and participant in your own life. However, in addition to the multimodal and multilitacy aspects, the term aesthetic communication implies aspects of existential opportunities and possibilities. In a formalised educational setting that means facilitating for learning that involves presence, representation and imagination, reflection and emotions, and where knowledge and skills are being treated in particular context with bearing for the individual in their social contexts. In the current Swedish curriculum such teaching practices could be possible because of the absence of methods in the curriculum in favour of learning outcomes, and the frequent reference to aesthetic values in the formulations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Curriculum, aesthetics
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Music Education; Aesthetics
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-86974OAI: diva2:600257
18th annual conference of the Nordic Network for Research in Music Education (NNMPF), Bergen, Norway, February 27-March 1, 2013
Available from: 2013-01-23 Created: 2013-01-23 Last updated: 2013-10-31

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Thorgersen, Ketil
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