Group composing : pupil perceptions from a social psychological study

Robert Faulkner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The following paper examines pupil perceptions of the processes, effectiveness and value of group composing in the classroom. These themes emerged in a wider study of musical behaviour and meaning from a social phycological perspective of composing in the classroom. Though essentially qualitative phenomenological research, the original study employed a range of methodologies. The present article concentrates on the salience of group composing as it emerged from analysis of pupils' responses at three stages of the study; a self-administered survey, self-assessment of longitudinal video portfolios, but chiefly through reflective semi-structured interviews. The uniqueness of the local setting--a small rural school, with pupils aged 6-16, in northeast Iceland--emphasises the essentially idiographic nature of the study. Analysis reveals that pupils see group composing as enjoyable, effective and meaningful. Pupils are also able to clearly articulate processes which find resonance in constructivist and systems theories of creativity and which challenge discreet reductionist categories of musical behaviour. The study's findings have implications for the ongoing debate about the value and effectiveness of group composing, for reductionist thinking about musical behaviour, and not least, for the development of social psychological research in music education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-124
JournalMusic Education Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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