Boys and music education: RMXing the curriculum
Music is central to the lives of most high-school boys. However, music education is a marginalised area of the curriculum, decreasing in popularity as students approach senior school and succumb to pressures to choose subjects perceived to be more useful in the 'real world'. While this process is common for both boys and girls, the drop-off is greater among boys, who sometimes construct music as a 'feminised' subject. Attempts to engage boys in music thus often involve music teachers trying to adapt their pedagogies to what they perceive to be boys' interests and learning styles. In some cases music teachers attempt to construct a 'connected' curriculum for boys in ways which accommodate, reinforce and reproduce hegemonic constructions of masculinity. This article argues that it is critical that the pedagogical practices music teachers deploy in order to encourage boys' engagement with the subject take into account the cultural implications of globalisation, media and music technology and capitalise upon diversity rather than participate in the reproduction of dominant constructions of gender. The article further argues that music eduaction, like other marginalised areas of the school curriculum, when demonstrating such nuanced understandings of youth cultures and their relationships to various constructions of young masculinities and femininities, provides an opening for the study of masculinity and gender relations in contemporary society in ways that can benefit both boys and girls.
Pedagogy, Culture and Society