Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ClassRockED (Rocking in the Midwest: Transmitting and Performing Social Class in Rock Music Education)
Reporting period: 2019-09-23 to 2021-09-22
1) symbols and representations of social class in rock music
2) ways in which these symbols are performed and transmitted in rock music teaching and learning
3) key differences between private, fees-based popular music education and other available types of music learning
4) potential applications for policy making
A literature review at the beginning of the project revealed that very little research and writing exists on private, extracurricular, fees-based popular music schools, despite their rapidly proliferating global presence. As such, this project represents a significant step forward in academic knowledge, illuminating a new, previously unexamined area for study and analysis. Due to travel constraints and uncertainties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the researcher received approval to relocate the field research from its original planned location in the United States Midwest to the location of the host institution in Dublin, Ireland. In-person research commenced with local organization Rock Jam’s music camps for children and teenagers in Dublin in summer 2021. Interviews with adults involved in Rock Jam began shortly after.
As a crucial component of this analysis, Dr Rush is currently developing the notion of riff capital. Rooted in sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of ‘cultural capital’, riff capital provides new language with which to describe and analyse the social value of riffs within popular music settings. Importantly, riff capital theorises and calls attention to the ways in which musical riffs and instrumental knowledge impact and are impacted by gender, race, and ethnicity. In so doing, it argues that musical knowledge is never neutral, but instead interacts with and is shaped by individual musicians’ social positions and identities.
Findings and analyses related specifically to social class, the main focus of this project, are still emerging. Initial results in this sphere show great promise for abilities to speak to, interact with, and expand upon existing theorisations of social class and education within sociology, music education studies, anthropology of education, and ethnomusicology. In particular, this research provides new insight into
1) the role of middle-class fathers in their children’s music education
2) re-configurations of value within cultural capital for twenty-first-century middle- and upper-middle-class families
3) shifting understandings of the social class of rock music
4) notions of workforce preparation in contemporary educational settings
To date, this project has resulted in 1 published peer-reviewed journal article, 1 peer-reviewed book chapter (currently in press), 2 invited talks, 4 conference presentations, and a short media piece for a general audience. A variety of further outputs – scholarly writings, presentations, and creative outputs – are currently being developed.