Music Education, Social Justice and the ‘’Student Voice’’: Addressing Student Alienation Through a Dialogical Conception of Music Education

Spruce, Gary (2015). Music Education, Social Justice and the ‘’Student Voice’’: Addressing Student Alienation Through a Dialogical Conception of Music Education. In: Bendict, Cathy; Schmidt, Patrick; Spruce, Gary and Woodford, Paul eds. The Oxford Handbook of Social Justice in Music Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 287–302.

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Abstract

This chapter considers issues around ‘student voice’ social justice and the alienation and disengagement from school music education. It begins by arguing that the subtle and problematized accounts of student voice found in much of the literature has generally failed to influence the implementation of student voice initiatives in school. Rather ‘student voice’ has come to be a tool for the furtherance of performative and managerial agendas. Moving on, the argument will be made that despite a disposition towards inclusion and participation, music education in England has often failed to ‘hear’ the student voice in the discourse of curriculum, pedagogy and musical value, resulting in the disengagement of many young people from formal music education in school. In the final section a dialogical approach to music education will be posited as one way in which the voice of the student might be heard within music education discourses.

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