When the notes aren't enough: Communities of practice for the music sector
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This presentation will share the process of developing a unique community of practicefor the music profession, and will introduce virtual musician Clari, who was 'born'during my 2003 Flexible Learning Leaders program.Clari characterises a typical classical instrumental musician in that she is based uponexisting research into musicians, for instance: Attrition amongst performance-based musicians occurs typically in the midthirties,as career mobility decreases. Clari is 25 years old. 60% of orchestral musicians in Australia are injured at any one time. Clari hasa right shoulder repetitive strain injury, which is particularly common amongstupper string players. The injury doesn't currently prevent her fromperforming. Clari graduated from a conservatorium of music, and as such she has aportfolio of advanced practical skills and few music sector networks or smallbusiness skills. 75% of performing artists work outside of the arts industry either full time orpart time, and performing artists are more likely than other artists to work inlow skilled service industries. Clari works as a waiter three days each week. Only 0.4% of musicians earn their income solely from performance work.Teaching is the most common secondary income for classical musicians, andso Clari teaches violin for three hours each week. Clari is female, and as such provides opportunity to examine gender issueswithin the music profession.What does this have to do with communication and communities of practice? First ofall, what is a musician? It is interesting that the specialist music dictionaries don'tcontain the word musician, whilst general dictionaries describe a musician as beingone who performs. If this definition is correct, a portfolio of performance skills isperfect. But what if it isn't? In fact, this year's Flexible Learning Leaders program hasencountered a desperate need within the music profession for industry mentors(especially female mentors), and for ongoing communication between the key groupsof practitioners, educators, students and Government to facilitate the pro-activemanagement of change.Project Goals and OutcomesThe goals of this program were to research the need for, and to establish theknowledge to facilitate a community of practice that would bring together the keygroups on an ongoing basis. The results are a new community with bases in bothAustralia and the United States of America, and links with both contemporary andclassical music throughout the world.The program and the resulting community of practice have significance for manydiscipline areas, and it is hoped that the presentation will lead to comment anddiscussion that may enhance and inform this and other projects. It is hoped that thecommunity's launch will take place during the Net*Working 2003 conferencepresentation.
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