The influence of culture on instrumental music teaching: A Participant-Observation case study of Karnatic and Queensland Instrumental music teachers in context.

Barton, Georgina (2003) The influence of culture on instrumental music teaching: A Participant-Observation case study of Karnatic and Queensland Instrumental music teachers in context. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This thesis aimed to investigate the unique relationship that exists between music and

culture. More specifically, the purpose of the research was to determine to what extent culture is reflected in music teaching and learning. Understanding the effect that culture has on music knowledge transmission processes will assist in developing a framework for current music education practices to address the cultural diversity that is present in contemporary teaching and learning environments. An exploration of how music teachers teach, and how the cultural and social surrounds influence

these practices in various contexts provided important information in developing such a framework.

As such, a participant observation case study of ten music teachers who taught either the South Indian music tradition known as Karnatic music in Tamil Nadu, India, or Queensland, Australia, or who taught predominantly Western music in the

Queensland instrumental music context, was carried out. Through a comparative study of these teachers it was observed that there were more similarities than differences in the methods of teaching used by the teachers. Both aural/oral and written modes of communication were used in each context albeit at varying levels. It was also discovered that the surrounding cultural rules and rituals, that were

practised, significantly influenced the meaning attributed to the music teaching process for each of the teachers.

In the main, for teachers of Karnatic music a strong spiritual attachment to both the gods and goddesses associated with the Hindu religion and the teachers' own teacher/guru was evident. Conversely, in the Queensland instrumental music

teaching context, powerful economic forces affected the approach that these teachers

implemented. It is argued that with an awareness of these findings, music teaching and learning practices may more effectively meet the needs of students (a concern consistently raised in the literature) in the contemporary music education context.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 15859
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Thomas, Adrian
Keywords: music and culture, Karnatic music, music teachers, music education, context
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Department: Faculty of Creative Industries
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Georgina Barton
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 03:51
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2017 14:40

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