Network jamming: Can music technology and collaborative music making work to improve Indigenous health and wellbeing?
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The need for concerted action to address the predicted increase in chronic disease and to improve health and well-being within Aboriginal communities is increasingly recognised and the school community is an important setting for these efforts. Aims: This project examines how music technology can work to improve Indigenous health and wellbeing by creating a sustainable program for Indigenous youth to engage in collaborative music making activities using interactive music technology. Methods: Network jamming using the collaborative audio-visual performance software ‘GarageBand’ allows Indigenous youth to engage in music making activities using interactive music technology based on iPads. Used as a musical instrument, this software enables students to build basic skills of exploration and improvisation and encourages performance. The project is being conducted at a school administered and managed by the Indigenous community in Brisbane, Australia. Outcomes: Our work operationalises the concept of ‘meaningful engagement’ and its relationship with acts of music composition. The pleasure and satisfaction of making music is acknowledged as having the potential for expressive development and an intuitive connection with the school world of knowledge and meaning generation. Teachers have adopted the project with enthusiasm, seeing it of value in its own right and also as a pathway to promote learning in other curriculum areas. The project uses a pre-/post intervention study design using quantitative and qualitative approaches across the whole school, with surveys, informant interviews, observation using a ‘Meaningful Engagement Matrix’ and capacity-building framework, and video footage. Implications: Achievement of the project purpose should contribute to building evidence for a best practice model, using computational automation, for increasing and retaining Indigenous students in an education program, and for building self-confidence, self-esteem and resilience.
Setting the Tempo: the need for a progressive research programme on Music Health and Wellbeing