Title page for ETD etd-08252008-144731

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Van Heerden, Estelle Marie
Email emvheerden@yahoo.com
URN etd-08252008-144731
Document Title Influences of music education on the forming process of musical identities in South Africa
Degree MMus
Department Music
Advisor Name Title
Prof C van Niekerk Supervisor
  • indigenous knowledge systems
  • music careers
  • musical identities
  • music education
  • musical arts education
  • non-musical influences
  • music domains
  • professional musicians
Date 2008-04-09
Availability unrestricted

An extensive study on the influences of music education on the forming of musical identities was undertaken. Information obtained from thorough literature review, questionnaires and interviews has been analysed, collated and set out in the dissertation.

The review of literature has revealed that there remain few unanswered questions regarding the defining of both music education and musical identities. However, few studies have examined the influences music education has on the formation of identity, particularly concerning the making of music career-choices. The effects of a variety of musical and non-musical developments and/or adaptations may influence the formation of musical identities, since the individual has to develop and adapt alongside these changes. This study was conducted in a multi-cultural South African society, and investigated the influences music education has on the forming of musical identities.

The primary purpose of the study was to develop an understanding and awareness amongst professional South African musicians, in practice at the time of the study, regarding the value that music education has on the forming of musical identities. The aim in attaining the said purpose was, firstly, to examine the differences between formal and informal music education, the latter being very prominent in non-Western countries, including South Africa. In this regard musical arts education was also attended to. Secondly, musical identities were delineated so as to view their forming due to music educational influences. Finally, the study examined how prior exposure to different music educational aspects influences professional South African musicians’ career-choices.

There were two groups of respondents in the study:

  1. A group of music experts from different music spheres participating in semi-structured interviews, each lasting approximately 45 minutes, that were recorded and then transcribed; and
  2. A matched group of music experts asked to complete a questionnaire based on interview questions.

Diverse participants included academics, choir conductors, educators, ethnologists, tertiary music students, performers, psychologists, therapists, and representatives from the private sector. The results indicated that music education, continuously developing and transforming, contributes to one’s musical identities and is crucial to the development of identities, with particular consideration of one’s choice of music career.

© University of Pretoria 2007

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