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Title: Changes in the teaching of folk and traditional music : Folkworks and predecessors
Authors: Price, Matthew Grenville Kean
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Formalised folk music education in Britain has received little academic attention, despite having been an integral part of folk music practice since the early 1900s. This thesis explores the major turns, trends and ideological standpoints that have arisen over more than a century of institutionalised folk music pedagogy. Using historical sources, interviews and observation, the thesis examines the impact of the two main periods of folk revival in the UK, examining the underlying beliefs and ideological agendas of influential figures and organisations, and the legacies and challenges they left for later educators in the field. Beginning with the first revival of the early 1900s, the thesis examines how the initial collaboration and later conflict between music teacher and folk song collector Cecil Sharp, and social worker and missionary Mary Neal, laid down the foundations of folk music education that would stand for half a century. A discussion of the inter-war period follows, tracing the impact of wireless broadcasting technology and competitive music festivals, and the possibilities they presented for both music education and folk music practice. The second, post-war revival’s dominance by a radical leftwing political agenda led to profound changes in pedagogical stance; the rejections of prior practice models are examined with particular regard to new approaches to folk music in schools. Finally, the thesis assesses the ways in which Folkworks and their contemporaries in the late 1980s and onward were able to both adapt and improve upon previous approaches. The research reveals how a conflict between opposing views of folk music education prior to the First World War led to an artificial polarisation of pedagogical approaches that was not fully resolved until the late 1980s, affecting the practice of several generations of teachers often unaware of constraints of the legacy they were working within. In presenting one possible solution to this dichotomy, Folkworks demonstrated a way ahead for the community of folk educators that was to prove influential.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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