Music dissertation proposal

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We deliver one well-written paper that perfectly fits your needs. Our clients success is vitally important to us. Writers at MyDissertations. We are native English speakers who have experience in the music field as well as perfect grammar and experience with academic papers. Both my subjects and I believe that music educators have both the opportunity and the responsibility to support their adolescent students in building stronger and more resilient selves. Of my three subjects, only Martin is a full-time teacher. Brandon and Toni are teaching artists working in afterschool programs and community organizations.

There are few school music educators who self-identify as hip-hop artists, and few hip-hop artists who are school music educators. The requirements to obtain licensure as a music teacher require either a classical or jazz background. Therefore, licensed teachers who wish to learn about hip-hop must do so on their own time, as Martin does. My study began informally some time ago, without my realizing it. My early professional and social encounters with Martin, Toni and Brandon made strong impressions on me, and I began documenting them immediately for my own personal and professional benefit.

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These interactions helped to shape the parameters of the present study. Some of my most important data collection therefore took place before my dissertation work officially began. I will continue to carry out observations, interviews and musical study through the summer and fall of For Martin, there will be a marked contrast between his work during the school year and outside it. Brandon works both inside and outside of school settings, so there is some continuity across the summer. Martin is a music teacher at Harvest Collegiate High School in downtown Manhattan, and most of my observations of his work take place there.

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Toni is a community educator, so I have observed her in a variety of settings, including New York University and the Ableton Loop summit in Los Angeles. I conduct additional interviews and conversations wherever and whenever it is convenient. Some of my richest discussions with Brandon have taken place on the subway. Finally, Martin, Toni and Brandon each maintains an active presence online.

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Martin frequently writes personal and political posts on Facebook and Twitter; Toni publishes writing and music on her personal site and on social media platforms; and Brandon posts beats and videos on SoundCloud and Instagram. All data is stored on my personal laptop, and backed up on my password-protected Dropbox account.

Toni and Brandon rely on self-promotion for their professional and creative lives, and I am happy to support them with my posts as much as I can. My musical life has taken place within Afrodiasporic vernacular traditions: blues, country, rock, funk, jazz, and electronic dance music. I have produced and performed hip-hop music as well, though not extensively. I grew up in New York City, and do not remember a time when I was not at least passively hearing rap around me. However, I am very much an outsider in hip-hop settings, due to a combination of my race, class, age, and sensibilities.

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This experience is emblematic of my role in hip-hop spaces. While I am a sophisticated musician generally, I am a novice in hip-hop contexts. I have spent a great deal of time among rock, jazz and country musicians, who are alike in their broad contempt for rap.

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I do not want the lingering effects of my enculturation to prematurely color my understanding of hip-hop practice. I therefore make a conscious effort to counterbalance preconceptions I learned from my musical and cultural history, in order to be open to experiences that might challenge those preconceptions.

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I declined, in part because it felt inappropriate for me to do so as a middle-aged white person, but mainly because I was too nervous—I do not, as the rappers say, have bars. It is an aspiration of mine to be willing and able to freestyle in front of a classroom, both for my own future pedagogical practice, and for my own satisfaction as a musician. I approach my research project with a particular ideological agenda and an activist mission: to challenge the Eurocentrism of American music education, to confront its lingering white supremacist elements, and to make a case for a wider embrace of the African diasporic forms and practices that drive our popular and vernacular music.

My activist stance attracts me to critical theory, with its emancipatory imperative, social justice motivation, and interest in uncovering hidden power relationships Freire, Researchers who have an activist agenda can have no pretense of detachment, much less objectivity. It is natural to accuse critical researchers of bias. Martin Urbach, the most overtly political of my three subjects, makes such arguments often. Critical researchers aim to influence their subjects, to help them improve their conditions, and to rectify power imbalances.

I have identified a specific group of people whose needs are not being met within the current system: a large percentage of young people in school, particularly those young musicians and would-be musicians whose identities and goals lie outside of the Western classical tradition. Eurocentric music educators and scholars are not necessarily the oppressors in this context; we might also regard them as oppressed as well.

Music teachers may have cultural authority, but they do not generally consider themselves to be either ideological or powerful Bradley, A liberatory and student-centered approach to music education that enables students to free themselves might, in so doing, also free their teachers Freire, , p. My own experience has shown that liberatory pedagogy has empowered my own creative work, and vice versa, in a beneficial feedback loop.

I was challenged by another doctoral student to subvert my own white male gaze. To do so, I will adopt the practices of feminist scholars, who urge researchers to attend to the emotional aspects of their work, and to the relationships it entails. My educator subjects are not shy about sharing their feedback about my work. Sometimes they go beyond approval, and enthusiastically promote my materials themselves. This kind of affirmation reassures me that I am on the right track. My major data collection methods are participant observation and interviews.

I am conducting some audio recording, but am substantially relying on note-taking for documentation. I also examine music created by and with my subjects, along with cultural materials commercial music releases, SoundCloud tracks, YouTube videos, books, articles, and the like that inform their work. I attended a talk that she gave at a music education conference, and ended up volunteering to beatbox onstage while she freestyled. When I attended her cypher workshop at the Ableton Loop summit, I had to put my notebook aside in order to get on my feet and engage in theatrical improv games with the rest of the attendees.

Maintaining a formal and detached researcher stance would be socially inappropriate in these contexts, and therefore counterproductive. In these pages I will present some formal analysis of rap music.

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However, much of my understanding has come not from reading similar analyses—as yet, few even exist. Instead, my main education in rap has come from social interactions, and from my own embodied and affective response. In plain language, I learned the music by dancing to it. Watching other people dance or nod their heads is instructive as well. It has been even more instructive to re-enter formal music education spaces, and to observe the conspicuous lack of affective response to music among students and teachers alike. After spending time in hip-hop spaces, this suppression of body movement is striking, and calls out for explanation.

My interview protocol is largely improvisational, proceeding from broad themes more than a specific checklist. For example, I have asked each of my subjects about their own music education, formal and informal, and how they came to be interested in hip-hop. As a followup, I have asked specific artists or tracks were important entry points or influences. Discussions about music naturally touch on other autobiographical, cultural and political subjects, and I have allowed those connections to play themselves out, as information of value often emerges from such tangents.

Weidenbaum observes that recording never sounds like what he heard—listening is a process of focusing and filtering, of selective attention and interpretation, not direct transcription. Recording playback is a new sensory experience unto itself, one that might be far removed from the one the recordist meant to capture or convey.

My data coding and interpretation has followed an intuitive and idiosyncratic process informed by my practice as a music producer. I often find myself hearing a song and wanting to listen to it and dance to it repeatedly, without initially knowing why. Only after remixing does the importance of the song reveal itself. My research questions have similarly emerged in response to preliminary data, gathered because I had an intuitive sense of its importance that preceded my ability to verbally articulate it. There is some similarity in this process to grounded theory, but I am not developing arguments entirely from observations.

Instead, my questions and hypotheses are in constant dialog with the results of interactions and observations. Because my subject is the most dominant form of popular music in the United States, such observations happen almost continually. I use digging the crates metaphorically to describe a mode of reading, listening and observing, a way of assessing observations, texts, and music for its possibilities as raw material.

In my data analysis, I treat my interviews and recordings as a sample library.