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Sonia Livingstone and Julian Sefton-Green

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479884575

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479884575.001.0001

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Learning to Play Music

Learning to Play Music

Class, Culture, and Taste

(p.190) 9 Learning to Play Music

Sonia Livingstone

Julian Sefton-Green

NYU Press

How is social capital created and enacted? We answer this question by exploring six young people’s practices of music making out of school. Examining informal music making allowed us to see how ways of learning that are developed in school may or may not be carried outside school, demonstrating both connections and disconnections in discipline and habit. While two of our young people became fed up with being made to do music, we sat in with Max’ classical piano, and we contrast this with the more progressive pedagogy of Giselle’s music making, paying particular attention to the ways that these two informal “classrooms” differ from the teacher-student relationships and attitudes toward school-based learning described in chapter 6. Our third pair of musicians tells a story of music making as (1) entirely self-taught, and (2) embedded in the Turkish community. Both cases shed further light on questions of pedagogy and connections with school, but they also challenge ideas of cultural capital being a solely middle-class property. Diverse forms of cultural capital help to nuance the distinctions evident in the class—both in terms of young people’s music learning and in terms of how parents try to equip the home so as to support school learning.

Keywords:   Pedagogy, Music, Social class, Cultural capital, Community, Informal learning, Interest-driven learning, Ethnic subcultures, Concerted cultivation, Parental pressures

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