We made this song : the group song writing processes of three adolescent rock bands : a thesis submitted to the New Zealand School of Music in the fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Music in History and Literature of Music, New Zealand School of Music

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Massey University
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In garages, practice rooms and classrooms, young people are composing music in rock and pop bands; engaged in working together in the shared enterprise of group music making. This study aims to contribute to scholarly knowledge through describing, analysing and interpreting the collaborative compositional processes (song writing) of three teenage rock bands. A theoretical model was developed and is applied to an analysis of the compositional processes of each group. Communication within each of the bands is analysed in terms of musical, nonverbal and verbal communication. The teaching and cooperative learning that occurred within each of the bands is presented, and each band is described in terms of a community of practice. An analysis of the compositional processes reveals that the three bands employed similar methods to generate ideas and construct their songs. However, when the data are viewed from a number of other theoretical perspectives, it is clear that two of the bands composed collaboratively, working together within mutually supportive, highly focussed and respectful communities; and that the third band’s songs were the work of a single composer, achieved through the cooperation and participation of the other band members. The young people in all three bands were highly engaged in selfdirected music learning, finding meaning and identity in the process.
Song writing, Collaboration, Music composition