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Angels and ogres - online discourses of adult music learners, a corpus-based study

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paperpeer-review

Publication date2016
Number of pages1
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventISME Commission for Research in Music Education -
Duration: 18/07/2016 → …


SeminarISME Commission for Research in Music Education
Period18/07/16 → …


The purpose of this study is two-fold – to explore the potential of linguistic analysis techniques in music education research; and to use these techniques to investigate the discourses of adult learners in music, specifically those around learners and their teachers. Although music education research often uses text (interviews, autobiographical accounts, survey responses), linguistic analysis has barely been used in this area. Equally, the internet has become a source of support and expression for learners, using blogs and forum discussions, but these are an untapped data resource in music education research. Corpus linguistics techniques, which enable semi-automated analyses of databases of text, are increasingly being used in other discipline areas to identify patterns in large sets of textual data, and thus investigate recurring discourses, but have not yet been exploited in music education research. In this study I use corpus techniques to investigate discourses of adult music learners using text from online sources. I begin by summarising current literature on adult music learners, which identifies them as an under-researched group, and the background to corpus-based discourse analysis. I discuss the ethical challenges of using online data, how corpus linguistics techniques may provide solutions, and my approach to these challenges. I use a corpus-based approach to explore the discourses around learners and their teachers, looking in particular at metaphorical language. Discourses around teachers suggest that the learner/ teacher relationship is crucial, but can be problematic - issues around control are evident, but there is a feeling that learners welcome some level of control. I conclude that corpus-based discourse analysis has the potential to enrich music education research, and suggest other ways in which it might be used. In the area of adult music education, this research has the potential to inform teachers, training and community organisations and exam boards, to help them better meet the needs of this group which often ‘falls through the gaps’.