Affinity spaces are the physical, virtual, or combination of locations where people come together around a shared affinity (interest) (Duncan & Hayes, 2012). Online affinity spaces can act as a participatory hub for music making and learning through social networking and sharing. Although music affinity spaces exist in myriad informal spaces, little scholarship explores potential application of affinity space characteristics within formalized learning spaces. This chapter introduces characteristics of an affinity space and explores potential pedagogical, curricular, and social applications of each characteristic within formalized learning environments. I then question not only the role of this framework within pedagogical spaces or places, but also the role of the framework in relation to another framework commonly used in online music learning communities: communities of practice. This chapter concludes with an example of how these questions informed classes I designed and facilitated and a discussion on future research.
O’Leary, J. (in press). Affinity Spaces and Music Education. In The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning, edited by Janice Waldron, Stephanie Horsley, and Kari Veblen. Oxford: Oxford University Press.