1st Edition

Musical Ecologies Instrumental Music Ensembles Around the World

Edited By Leon de Bruin, Jane Southcott Copyright 2023
    256 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    256 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Community music around the world reflects the growing and diverse ways humans collectivise and express themselves in ways that articulate our cultural, social, and environmental complexity. Revisiting, redevising, and reimagining some of the field’s approaches, ideologies, and contexts, this co-edited volume investigates beyond generalist intercultural and internationalist concepts to reveal the complexity of social ways people come together to make music and to making music be central to this sociality.

    The authors explore the role community music plays out around the world and how various instrumentally based music-making communities operate as ecologies that allow notions of social, political, and cultural agency and identity/ies. Chapters cover various instrumental community music ensembles, observing how they, as social microcosms of change and stasis, provide working methods new and old, extol values, and model ethical behaviours that are fluid and dynamic, steadfast and unyielding, and that contribute to the ebb and flow of people and their agency that remains under-researched. Insights are provided on variously functioning ensembles throughout the world, showing how myriad instrumental music communities act as drivers, complex environments, and apparati for musical and social expression that accommodates the musical aspirations of their members.

    Taken as a whole, this book explores community music as local, glocal, global phenomena, critically discussing the redefinition of community music and what music-making means to people in the twenty-first century.

    List of Contributors


    1 Introduction: Redefining the Field
    Leon R de Bruin and Jane Southcott

    PART I
    Maintaining and disrupting traditions: Cultural, political, environmental ecologies of community music practices

    • Maintaining/ disrupting traditions
    • Theoretical perspectives and landscapes – re- territory/deterritorialisation
    • Reimagining the community music ensemble
    • Innovation/ stasis/ in the community ensemble

    2 Shifting the conservatory narrative: Designing university curriculum that celebrates communities’ musics
    Te Oti Rakena and John Coulter

    3 Optimising the feedback loop between community and community ensemble: A case study
    Adam Starr

    4 The Venda tshikona reed- pipe dance as community music: Mapping the ecology of a South African traditional music
    Susan Harrop- Allin and Dean Salant

    5 An inclusion strategy approach for deepening community music engagement in non- metropolitan Australia Graham Sattler and Phil Mullen

    The Rhyzomal assemblage: Interactions and localised micro-systems of individuals’ communal existence
    • Musical ecologies and ecosystems
    • Multiple participation, diverse agencies and identities
    • Individual and group agency
    • Action and intra- action in community musicking

    6 Agua! The flourishing of Latin music in Melbourne, Australia
    Leon R de Bruin

    7 Synthesis and embodiment: The Lowell String Project as complex musical ecosystem
    Elissa Johnson- Green

    8 Mount Gambier’s Generations in Jazz: The impact of community and cross- regional partnerships
    Adam Hardcastle

    9 Friends in Concert: Growing music teacher identities through community music-making
    Yan Chen Alvyn Eng, Siew Ling Chua, and James Lee

    10 Training and retaining traditions: The Grainger Wind Symphony
    Jane Southcott and Leon R de Bruin

    Wider meso- systems of social and cultural change, evolution and innovation
    • Specific practices, interactions environments, partnerships and collaborations
    • The ethics of specific instrumental community music ensembles
    • Local/ glocal/ international perspectives and movements
    • Creativities in instrumental community music – how is it different/ same between prof and amateur

    11 The Armidale Symphony Orchestra: The ecology of a regional orchestra
    Alana Blackburn

    12 Friends in music: The Chao Feng Chinese Orchestra, Melbourne, Australia
    Jane Southcott and Vicky Liao

    13 The Golden Age Ensemble: A community music partnership
    Chi Ying Lam

    14 PUBlic Choir: Facilitating an emergent musicking community
    Graham Sattler

    15 Jazz, improvisation, community: The affective constitution of social identity
    Chris Stover

    16 Postlude
    Leon R de Bruin and Jane Southcott



    Leon R de Bruin is an educator, performer, and researcher in music education, creativity, cognition, creative pedagogies, and improvisation. He is Lecturer in Music at the University of Melbourne, Conservatorium of Music, co-ordinating the Master of Music Performance Teaching degree (MMPT). He is a staunch advocate for quality music education in Australia and music teacher education, and is Australian Society for Music Education National President, and an executive of ISME Instrumental and Vocal Teaching Commission (IVMTC). He has published over 50 articles, chapters, and edited books, including Revolutions in Music Education: Historical and Social Implications, Creativities in Arts Education, Research and Practice: International Perspectives for the Future of Learning and Teaching, and Creativity in Education in the Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Education.

    Jane Southcott is a professor, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Australia. Jane researches the history of the music curriculum in Australia, America, and Europe, and she is also a hermeneutic phenomenologist researching community engagement with the arts, multicultural music education, and cultural identity with a focus on lifelong education. Jane teaches in postgraduate programs and supervises many postgraduate research students. Dr Southcott is co-editor of the International Journal of Music Education, a member of the editorial boards of international and national refereed journals, and a life member of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Research in Music Education.