This issue of the British Journal of Music Education marks a new phase in its development, as we welcome Alison (Ally) Daubney from the University of Sussex as co-editor, alongside Martin Fautley, who remains in position. In welcoming Alison we also say farewell and thank you to Regina Murphy for her work on the journal over the years she has been co-editor here, and we wish her all the best in her future teaching and research.
New editorial teams mark new beginnings, and a taking stock of what has happened, and is being planned to happen in the future. One of the developments over the past five years has been the strengthening of the editorial text as polemic. We know that authors are concerned in all journals about the time between submission and print, and we are able to use the luxury of the editorial to produce a near-print time discussion of matters of concern at the time. We know from download statistics that these editorials are being read, and we fully intend to continue to use these introductions as a way of raising attention onto pertinent, and sometimes worrying, issues which are affecting music education in the moment.
We also plan to introduce a greater number of ‘special issues’, focussed onto a specific theme. These will be both real, in other words appear in print with the familiar blue cover, but also virtual, where they exist as on-line collections of articles grouped around a particular topic. These are things we will be looking into in the near future. Ally has also recently compiled a ‘virtual edition’ of some of her favourite articles and shared the reasons for her choices in a recent blog on the
The British Journal of Music Education has long been concerned with music education from a broad range of perspectives. The foresight and leadership of the founding editors, Keith Swanwick and John Paynter, marked the start of this remarkable journey. Their inaugural editorial from 1984 states:
Fundamentally we are interested in the musical and personal transaction between teachers and students in whatever setting. The centre of our focus is the practice of music education. But this also implies a degree of reflection upon this practice, and some analysis of what is involved. In other words, there will be important theoretical considerations at every level of discussion in the pages of this journal. For without analysis and abstraction, along with a willingness to clarify our own thinking, there can be no productive interchange of ideas.
We live in a world where we are increasingly bombarded by information in the form of blogs and opinions; often these quickly become seen as ‘expert’ views, yet are lacking criticality. It is sometimes difficult to get our voices heard amongst this hubbub of noise, especially when what we as a research community are saying is sometimes at odds with what those in positions of power want to hear. This makes it even more important that we continue to maintain high standards in the work published across music education through thorough peer-review processes, and publications such as The British Journal of Music Education; and that we promote learning and questioning as something which is both healthy and necessary.
There are many ways in which music education has changed over the past 34 years, and yet the journal still seeks to draws educators together to explore, critique, reflect and learn. A significant strength of the British Journal of Music Education is that it draws scholarship and readership from across the world, bringing together a global community of people genuinely interested in critiquing and developing music education in all its forms and contexts. Indeed, this means that music education as described in the pages of the BJME covers a wide variety of types, and this enables the worldwide readership to gain a glimpse as through a window into the classrooms and studios of other people. This is both helpful and informative.
Indeed, thinking of looking into other classrooms and studios, in this current edition, we welcome articles from Catalonia, Armenia, Ireland, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Columbia.
Our first two articles relate to music education with young children. The opening article, from Jèssica Pérez–Moreno, reveals musical interactions of kindergarten children in Catalonia during the course of a day through an ethnographic participatory observation study. This article raises some particularly interesting and relevant questions about approaches to research with this age group, as well as offering an insight into the ways in which music is embedded into this particular context. In the second article, Wing Chi Margaret Lau and Susan Grieshaber consider the challenges of integrating all areas of learning within the Hong Kong Special Administration Region (SAR) kindergarten curriculum. The conclusions to this study offer practical ways in which other subjects might be integrated into the music curriculum. The article gives us a lens through which to examine the tensions between holistic learning and the emergent boundaries created by a curriculum defining specific goals, and also the place of music within this.
Jennifer MacRitchie, Massimo Zicari and Diana Blom deal with the interesting topic, ‘Identifying challenges and opportunities for student composer and performer peer learning through newly-composed classical piano scores’. This conservatoire-based study concludes that ‘. . . peer learning in educational institutions [is] desirable but also necessary, especially if prescriptive music notation on the one hand, and extended techniques on the other, are involved in the creative process.’
Turning our attention to the role of music in social reconstruction, Andrea Rodríguez-Sánchez, Oscar Odena and Alberto Cabedo–Mas share an intriguing study from Columbia. Their work demonstrates ‘contributions of sound postcards as part of life histories for capturing the experiences of displaced people in a country recovering from war’, as an evocative way of bring to life narratives and changes within and beyond a targeted programme.
Anna Adamyan's article offers an interesting overview of the changes in music education in Armenia in the post-Soviet era, providing this context as the backdrop to argue why beginner adult piano students may need to be taught in different ways to younger students and offering some practical suggestions about how this may happen.
The final article in this edition comes from Ailbhe Kenny, and considers ways in which universities can prepare students for the ‘real world’ through community engagement via a choral outreach initiative. The article focuses on the students’ experiences and offers some fascinating insights into how engagement with these kinds of projects has the potential to shape their musical and teacher identities.
As you can see from the articles in this edition, BJME continues to span the world in its endeavours to bring the best in music education research to a wide readership. We are looking forward to the next stage in its development, and we hope you are too!