Academic journal article Contributions to Music Education

The Musical Participation and Consumerism of Two Non-Music Majors Enrolled in a University Men's Glee Club

Academic journal article Contributions to Music Education

The Musical Participation and Consumerism of Two Non-Music Majors Enrolled in a University Men's Glee Club

Article excerpt

Introduction and Review of Literature

Members of university-based Men's Glee Clubs choose to participate for a variety of reasons. They are variously experienced and arrive to the ensemble from a spectrum of family, community, school, and social settings. As music participants, they are distinguished from audience members and have been defined as professionals, apprentices, amateurs, hobbyists, recreationalists, and dabblers (Gates, 1991). Defining who is a novice and who is trained can be problematic (Smith, 1997), but all musicians can find a place in community, educational, semi-professional and professional ensembles that serve the respective needs of their members. The attitudes and enculturation of young adults who extend music learning from school to college allow opportunities for understanding recreational music-making at this yet early stage of their development. Little is known about the experiences of students whose major areas of study lie outside the music department and who comprise a significant subset of collegiate ensemble enrollment. Two of these students are the focus of this study, which is grounded in research on the topics of musical participation and the historical status and function of collegiate ensembles over time.

Musical Participation

In comparing cultures from around the world, Turino (2008) described those in which music exists for presentation to audiences, as in Western art music or popular music. In other cultures, music is completely participatory and exists only for the musical or dancing involvement of everyone present. Turino described presentational music as "a field involving one group of people (the artists) providing music for another (the audience) in which there is pronounced artist-audience separation within face-to-face situations" (p. 51).

The role of the audience is significant, of course, and Small (1987) included the audience as prominent players in the broader and encompassing socio-musical phenomenon of musicking. Gates (1989) described participation in the context of music-makers in presentational cultures and claimed that studying the outcomes of music-making is key to motivating such participation, referred to by ensemble leaders as recruiting. This theory of participation applies the previous work of Stebbins (1996), who ascribed such categories as professional and amateur to sports teams. Gates excluded the audience primarily as a research function in order to emphasize the aesthetic benefit of participating in music-making and to define the participant roles listed above. The aim of this paper is to examine the musical participation of collegiate non-music majors.

Collegiate Ensembles

Campus-based ensembles represent an important opportunity for music-making, even for students whose majors lie outside music concentrations, and they represent a unique place for young adults to begin or to continue music participation. Franklin (1993) presented a modest history of the development of nonselective university concert bands in an effort to define the motivation and benefits of the nonselective nature of such courses. Over two thirds of responding universities offered a nonselective band and the majority of members of these bands were "nonmajors." Participation in musical experiences after high school has been expressed as a hope of music educators and as an aim for music education. Conductors most frequently cited the desire to "encourage instrumentalists to be active performers after high school without the pressure of auditioning."

A variety of collegiate singing organizations have existed since 1807 or earlier (Duchan, 2007) and have come to exist in various formats including student-led a cappella groups and single-gender Glee Clubs, which have existed since the mid-1800's. Duchan cited the "a cappella craze of the 1930s and '40s" (p. 481) as the most recent contributing movement to collegiate singing clubs, - many of which were nonselective - and noted the inclusion of popular music at the Tanglewood Symposium in the 1960s (The Tanglewood Declaration, 1967). …

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