musicking made easy

Published by Herman on

What is musicking and why should we make it easy? 

At the end of 2018 I was encouraged to explore the concept of musicking and actually became quite taken by it. It made sense as a concept, or verb in this case, but it also felt very familiar within an African context.

Christopher Small wrote: “To music is to take part, in any capacity, in a musical performance. That means not only to perform but also to listen, to provide material for performance (what we call composing), to prepare for a performance (what we call practicing or rehearsing), or to take part in any activity that can affect the nature of that style of human encounter which is a musical performance.” (Musicking, 2011)

What he is saying is that to music is not something that only the musicians do, but everyone touched by a musical event (directly or indirectly) are also musicking. 

How does the idea of musicking affect how, who and what we teach?

To quote an article called What’s with the k?: “Small’s concept of musicking seems to imply that the pedagogical focus can be on communality. Instead of taking music education as a set of practices that helps individual students to develop into better musicians, judged by comparing their abilities to those of the other students, it suggests that artistry can be conceived in terms of participation and sharing ideas. While doing ‘the best we can with what we have’, ‘our only responsibility is to the pleasure we and our fellow-musickers derive from our musicking’ (Small 2011). This emphasis on communality calls for pedagogical approaches that open new possibilities for all interested to join musicking communities. Music education, from this standpoint, should be inclusive rather than exclusive in its approach, promoting agency in whatever form it is found in the social-cultural situations of musicking.” (Odendaal, Kankkunena, Nikkanena & Vakevaa)

Does this mean we compromise on quality and focus when it comes to music education? No certainly not, but it does affect our attitude and perspective within that pursuit of excellence.

Will Reakopana Online achieve the goal to make musicking easy soon? Maybe not, but we will add value towards this goal every time we develop and distribute content, or create connections between students and teachers/coaches.

So our call to music educators is: if you want to join us in our pursuit of ‘musicking made easy’, contact us. Create content with us. Sign your students up for our Modules. Let’s make access to an extraordinary music education an everyday occurrence.


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