Researching community music
James Moriarty is a tutor for Greenwich Music School, a composer and a music leader, interested in sharing music with all members of society.
Community Music is a term that remains open to interpretation. What is community music? Who is community music for? What is the value of community music? These are questions to which different people will give different answers; whenever discussing two concepts as immaterial as ‘community’ and ‘music’ ambiguity is to be expected.
My own practice includes a healthy dose of what one could call Community Music and, whilst the precise meaning of this term may be elusive, I consider myself a community musician because of the values that I hold dear. I believe that everyone is capable of meaningful music-making. I believe that everyone has the right to access musical experiences. Most importantly I believe that music takes place between people, that it is a form of social interaction that enriches our lives.
Recently I presented a paper at the International Centre for Community Music’s Student Research Symposium at York St John University. During a day of inspiring presentations I spoke about what it means to become a community musician and how, as a sector, we might best support the development of future community musicians. Reflecting on my fellowship with the Royal Academy of Music’s creative learning and participation department ‘Open Academy’ I discussed the unique features of community music training through the lens of my own experiences.
The paper was, thankfully, well received and Bethan and Ed asked whether I might consider making it available through the Greenwich Music School blog. It’s unabashedly academic in style but I hope that this brief introduction has whet the appetite sufficiently to encourage you to read on!