University music education in Colombia

The multidimensionality of teaching and training

Authored by: Luz Dalila , Rivas Caicedo

The Routledge Research Companion to Popular Music Education

Print publication date:  February  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9781472464989
eBook ISBN: 9781315613444
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042013


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The following arguments outline some dichotomies behind higher music education in Colombia, based on the curricular construction of training programmes for teachers. On the one hand, I consider society’s educational needs; on the other I focus on the great diversity of actions and dynamics behind the music field. I am using the concept of ‘field’ as defined by Norbert Elías in figurative sociology (2006), for it allows an understanding of the social framework around individuals and collectivities, the correlational link between them and the different levels of social organization. It also allows us to place the individual by recognizing the ‘other’, and to understand individuals from a cultural perspective, where culture has an influence on the individual who, in turn, responds to the pressure exerted by culture (see also Barrett, 2011). Elías defines the term ‘figuration’ to designate the structure of interdependent people, whether as groups or as individuals. Figurations end up being constructions of intersubjectivity on both individual and collective levels, thus shaping the ‘social’ outcome. This framework reflects aspects of Colombian higher education in music, because most university music programmes educate music teachers; however, both teaching and music majors graduate and face the job market as performers, conductors, cultural entrepreneurs, arrangers and composers, among other profiles. Higher education in music and teacher training is therefore facing conceptual, theoretical, epistemological and methodological difficulties; the discussion in this chapter leads, below, to an analysis of new approaches and perspectives.

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