Sociomusicology and Middle School

middle-music-400What an interesting selection of musicology disciplines!  I chose sociomusicology for my “jumping off point.”  What is Sociomusicology?  I had actually never heard of the term.  It is also referred to as Music Sociology.  Sociomusicology is basically the role of music in society.  How is music a social activity?  How does music help us interact with each other?  How does it make people behave?

When I came across this discipline, I immediately thought about adolescents in music education classes and how young people not only learn how to play an instrument but also develop better social skills by participating in music ensembles.  I am not sure this could constitute as a form of sociomusicology but here is the angle I went for using some previous exploration I had done before.  In the bibliography course I took last semester I did some research on the positive effects children encounter while partaking in a music class.  One was their need for social interaction and social acceptance.  In particular, I wanted to highlight how being in a music class can help alleviate the effects of bullying and provide a safe place for students.  Bullying has always been an unfortunate social issue and is common in our society.  With recent advancements in social media (twitter, Instagram, snapchat, etc.), bullying seems to be more prevalent and can now be more easily accomplished.  Music teachers/music classrooms provide a safe place for students by teaching kids how to work as a team and communicate not only through performing music but by having students interact with each other to reach the same goal.  Students develop a bond with their group (much like a sports team).  In this case music can bring people together that would have otherwise never met.  The interaction involved can create an alliance between young people that can help them ward off bullying situations.  If they should encounter some sort of harassment outside of the classroom, these music students know that they have a safe place to go and socialize with others that share the same musical interest.  Not only does music provide an escape for these kids but also a skill to be proud of.  Playing an instrument can also be an activity that allows students to feel their value in society (society being their school and how important their role is to the group).  The hope is that they focus on their good qualities/talents (example: I am a great trumpet player) that way they can be strong enough (high self-esteem) to ignore a bullying situation.anti_bullyin_posters

Below are some of the articles I found regarding sociomusicology and education.

Elliott, David J., and Marissa Silverman. Music matters: a philosophy of music education. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Keil, Charles. “Applied Sociomusicology and Performance Studies.” Ethnomusicology 42, no. 2 (1998): 303-12. doi:10.2307/3113893.

Lundquist, Barbara Reeder. “Sociomusicology : A Status Report.” College Music Symposium 22, no. 1 (1982): 104-11.

McCarthy, Marie. “Music Matters: A Philosophical Foundation for a Sociology of Music Education.” Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, no. 144 (2000): 3-9.

-Laura Aguirre


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