Recent initiatives by for-profit corporations and funding measures instituted by governments intend to support the preparation of students for careers in computer science and technology. Although such initiatives and measures can indeed increase opportunities for students’ engagement with computer science and technology in K-12 schools, we question whose needs are being served, for what purposes, and at what cost. In particular, we ask whether music educators might be complicit in advancing technology that subordinates human needs—specifically students’ interests in making music in their own creative ways—to modes of production that benefit certain dominant commercial interests in society. After discussing how current computer technology narrows students’ choices, we counter this determinism by highlighting a music subculture that creates and appropriates music technologies for music-related purposes. Our example of the “chipscene” illustrates how music educators might reconceptualize “music making” through modification of existing music technology and thereby restore students’ freedom to “reclaim making” in the age of neoliberalism.Read More
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 applications of affinity space characteristics within formalized learning spaces. This chapter introduces characteristics of an affinity space and questions the role of the framework in relation to another framework commonly used in online music learning communities: communities of practice. This chapter concludes with a discussion on practical and theoretical applications of affinity space characteristics within formalized educational contexts.Read More
This study examined discussion forum posts within a website dedicated to a medium and genre of music (chiptunes) with potential for music-centered making, a phrase I use to describe maker culture practices that revolve around music-related purposes. Three research questions guided this study: (1) What chiptune-related practices did members of chipmusic.org discuss between December 30th, 2009 and November 13th, 2017? (2) What do chipmusic.org discussion forum posts reveal about the multidisciplinary aspects of chiptunes? (3) What import might music-centered making evident within chipmusic.org discussion forum posts hold for music education? To address these research questions, I engaged in corpus-assisted discourse analysis tools and techniques to reveal and analyze patterns of discourse within 245,098 discussion forum posts within chipmusic.org. The analysis cycle consisted of (a) using corpus analysis techniques to reveal patterns of discourse across and within data consisting of 10,892,645 words, and (b) using discourse analysis techniques for a close reading of revealed patterns.
Findings revealed seven interconnected themes of chiptune-related practices: (a) composition practices, (b) performance practices, (c) maker practices, (d) coding practices, (e) entrepreneurial practices, (f), visual art practices, and (g) community practices. Members of chipmusic.org primarily discussed composing and performing chiptunes on a variety of instruments, as well as through retro computer and video game hardware. Members also discussed modifying and creating hardware and software for a multitude of electronic devices. Some members engaged in entrepreneurial practices to promote, sell, buy, and trade with other members. Throughout each of the revealed themes, members engaged in visual art practices, as well as community practices such as collective learning, collaborating, constructive criticism, competitive events, and collective efficacy.
Findings suggest the revealed themes incorporated practices from a multitude of academic disciplines or fields of study for music-related purposes. However, I argue that many of the music-related practices people discussed within chipmusic.org are not apparent within music education discourse, curricula, or standards. I call for an expansion of music education discourse and practices to include additional ways of being musical through practices that might borrow from multiple academic disciplines or fields of study for music-related purposes.Read More
This chapter is concerned with the diverse ways that people engage with music or sound within, through, and around video games. It begins with a review of literature on games as a leisure activity and sonic space, followed by highlighting various frameworks of participatory cultures. The bulk of the chapter connects these participatory culture frameworks with examples of engagement in sonic participatory cultures and sonic participation within, through, and around video games. Although these categories of sonic participation are divided into three sections, the chapter concludes with a discussion on the overlapping nature of sonic participation and implications for leisure as sonic participation.Read More
"When considering the potential of technology for musical engagement, teaching, and learning, music educators can acknowledge a range of contexts and ways of being musical to inform their practice. Video games offer a compelling locus for musical experience and engagement. Video games are digital, interactive, and immersive multimedia or intermedia that people play, and often in a social context. Characteristics of play, interactivity, immersion, and social engagement are critical to understanding the popularity of video games in contemporary society and their potential in music education. Video games are not simply media objects, but designed experiences with rules and mechanics which create systems that often invite problem solving, creative and critical thinking, and meaning making (Squire, 2006).
Though video games are a popular and established form of media in contemporary society, scholarship addressing video games in relation to music teaching and learning is at an early stage compared to the corpus of research addressing other aspects of music technology such as music creation or performance (Finney & Burnard, 2007; Webster, 2011). Building upon existing discourse in music education, this chapter draws on scholarship beyond the immediate scope of music teaching and learning to address the following three areas: 1) video games and music education; 2) game-based learning and learning theories; and 3) music and musical engagement within video games. Throughout this chapter we refer to video games in their myriad forms along with the devices on which they are played such as console systems, computers, and mobile devices."Read More