COMMUNITY MUSIC: MUSIC AND SOCIAL INCLUSION
“If music be the food of love, play on . . .’’
(William Shakespeare: Twelfth Night)
This project has brought together five partners from across Europe, some with life long learning and community development at their core and others with a specialism in music and participation. (see below)
The full title of our project: MusInc: Developing a transnational quality framework and bank to use music within non-formal pedagogy to achieve social and musical inclusion to describe the job role ‘community musician’.
Together we planned a partnership programme that explored what we each thought of as the job Community Musician.
Central to the concept of the Community Musician is that of using music and arts projects tacking Social Exclusion and promoting Social Inclusion:
Social exclusion, or social marginalization, is the social disadvantage and relegation to the fringe of society. It is a term used widely in Europe and was first used in France. (Wikipedia)
- The act of making all groups of people within a society feel valued and important. (Collins English Dictionary)
- Is the process of improving the terms on which individuals and groups take part in society—improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of those disadvantaged on the basis of their identity. (The World Bank)
Modern research has shown that music makes a valuable contribution to all ages and in many areas of health and well-being, as well as being a form of entertainment.
These are just a few examples we found by searching the web:
Our aim with this website is to present resources that can help make musicians aware of ways of working as a professional that does not rely on working within the ‘music industry’ and that can contribute to healthy and happy communities.
COMMUNITY MUSIC: THE PROJECT
“Music gives a soul to the universe,
wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination and life to everything.’’
We have prepared some information sheets for you to find your own way to becoming a good Community Musician.
These are, in the spirit of non-formal pedagogy, for your guidance. There is lots of information already out there on the internet, and we have signposted you to some of it.
As this is a stand alone website, we can’t be there for you as you develop your skills and understanding, we can trust that we have set you on your way, and you know what you should be looking for.
We suggest that you join the MusInc Facebook group: MusInc - Community Musicians for Social Inclusion and try to find others and set up a dialogue as you develop your practice.This project has brought together a number of partners from across Europe, some with life long learning and community development at their core and others with a specialism music and participation.
There has been much debate about how music should be taught and the non-formal pedagogy model has been adopted by many as providing the context for learning and developing a love of playing and enjoying music with others.
Formal music education is focussed on the individual progressing on specific instruments, and formal pedagogy is defined by being ‘structured, and has learning objectives’.
Informal learning is more about the individual or small group of people learning on their own as autodidacts, allowing for great enjoyment perhaps a lack of know what real skills and techniques are required.
The Non-formal model however allows for the freedom of the individual within the framework of group learning with guidance from professional music leaders.
The resources on this site are set out to reflect a non-formal pedagogical way of working. Although the reader/student will be self-guiding themselves as a Community Musician, we have set out some basic guidelines for them to explore and develop into their own practice
We have based our resources from observing others’ practice through Sample Projects, and have reflected and reviewed each others work, compared it to our own and finally we have come up with a Quality Framework Checklist for aspiring Community Musicians to measure their own skills and effectiveness against.
Through sharing our projects we have learned from each other, and for some partners who are new to the concept of community music we have provided constructive feedback.
Through presenting the descriptions of projects, session plans and peer reviews we are demonstrating what we as a partnership have defined as best practice in action.
"I don’t sing because I’m happy;
I’m happy because I sing."
For the purposes of this project we have used the examination of Sample Projects carried out by the partners to help illustrate what to look for when working in or commissioning a Community Music project.
The MusInc partnership brought together partners from Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Romania and UK, representing a broad geographical representation of the European union, and the organisations all brought particular strengths to the partnership.
Some organisations have lots of experience with using music to achieve social outcomes, whilst others specialise in musical and development whilst others social and community development, so we all larnt something from each other.
Read about our partners here:
As the partnership comprises organistions with varying levels of experience of this type of work, the aims of including descriptions of the Sample Projects within this project are:
- To present a taste of an organisation’s ongoing work with music and people, at whatever level of development
- To use the opportunity for some action research in developing their practice
Sample projects are in the areas:
- Working in with old people in residential settings
- Community choirs/ensembles
- Folklore dance events
- Working with socially excluded groups
- Working with all abilities
Within each section you will find:
- Descriptions of the ongoing work and action research elements of the project
- An individual case study
- Peer reflections from practicing musicians from other partners
- Descriptions of similar projects from partners
If you are a musician seeking to develop your practice as you go through this section:
- Read the project descriptions
- Pick up some ideas
- Decide what is useful for you
- Apply your own reflection to the work described
- Think bout how to adapt the type of project to your own situation
If you are a potential commissioner of musical inclusion projects:
- see if any of the projects could be replicated in your setting
- know how to brief/evaluate the musicians who may work for you