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date: 23 January 2022

(p. 449) Intersections


MPHIL Community Orchester, Germany (photograph courtesy of Andrea Huber)

As the field of community music continues to develop and grow, there has been an expansion of intersections between community music and other forms of music-making, as well as other fields of endeavour within and beyond the creative arts. In this section, chapters explore some of the synergies and tensions that arise in these intersections, and the ways in which these meetings of fields are pushing community music in new directions, both in terms of practice and research. In the opening chapter to this section Stuart Wood and Gary Ansdell explore the historical and current relationship between community music and music therapy—in particular the (p. 450) seeming overlap between community music and the newer sub-discipline of music therapy called ‘Community Music Therapy’ (CoMT). The chapter argues for a reimagining of certain key areas of joint concern and potential linked to the broader shared agenda of working musically with people. These topics indicate a way for community music and music therapy to align and collaborate in a relationship that can be both ‘joint’ and ‘several’—ensuring that the work remains creative, effective, responsible, and professional for people and their communities. David Baker and Lucy Green’s chapter then explores the multifaceted ‘disability arts scene’ in music worldwide that comprises visually impaired (i.e., blind and partially sighted) instrumentalists, singers, composers, producers, and others across a range of musical styles and genres. The chapter explores how members of this unique socio-musical group consider the aforesaid ‘scene’ and its integral community music, and how their interpretations correspond or clash; it introduces key matters of accessibility, independent mobility, identity, musical approach and media, notions of discrimination, and social inclusion. Patricia Lee, Donald Stewart, and Stephen Clift’s chapter then outlines recent research into the reported positive effects of community singing on health. In particular, their chapter aims to establish a quantitative model to explain how multiple attributes of choral singing interact to impact on different dimensions of health and well-being, thus exploring the intersection between music making and health.

Stephen Cottrell and Angela Impey’s chapter reflects on the similarities and differences between community music and applied ethnomusicology. The chapter introduces a number of case studies from South Africa, and focuses in particular on a community archiving project in the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park. These case studies are used to illustrate the different inflections that may pertain to the terms ‘community music’ or ‘applied ethnomusicology’, while also demonstrating the overlaps between them. Finally, attention is drawn to the risks that are always involved in cultural interventions, regardless from where they may emanate.

Roger Mantie’s chapter examines concepts of leisure, rational recreation, education, and mass leisure, and poses critical questions about the benevolent intentions and ‘innocent’ assumptions often made in the name of community music practice and cultural democracy. Following the thread of diverse intersections, Michael Balfour explores two recent projects that use community music and theatre to highlights important ways in which interdisciplinary music projects are tackling issues related to military personnel coming home from recent conflicts. The chapter highlights two recent projects in Australia: Fred Smith’s Going Home initiative, part of a larger research project focused on arts-based approaches to supporting ex-military personnel and their families, and A Soldiers Wife, developed by Sugarrush in collaboration with Legacy Australia. In particular, his chapter explores these modalities and discusses the implications for future arts and music projects.

In the final chapter of this section, Peter Gouzouasis and Danny Bakan turn the focus to research in particular, and explore the intersections of community music practice and arts-based research. Through a complicated conversation they unpack (p. 451) various forms and roots of arts-based research, meanings of community, and possibilities for doing research while engaged in community music-making. Such considerations not only transform the research agenda of community music, but in many respects, add a new dimension to considerations of community music and personal growth and social change. (p. 452)