Researching the “Real” World of Music Education

  • Roger Mantie
Part of the Landscapes: the Arts, Aesthetics, and Education book series (LAAE, volume 23)


Although the value-laden, subjective nature of research is acknowledged in many disciplines (often to the point where it is yesterday’s news), music education research continues to adhere to notions of truth and meaning as if there is a “real” world waiting to be found and reported (i.e., naive realism). In this personal narrative I share aspects of critical incidents on my own journey as a researcher, and suggest that research in music education might be better served if research was taught less as methods or approaches to be learned, and more as a practice driven by impulses of control. Building on Michel Foucault’s power-knowledge and regime of truth, and Thomas Kuhn’s idea of scientific paradigms, I argue that pluralism in music education research will occur when we as a profession accept that there isn’t a “real world” waiting to be discovered, but instead a richly political world where various interests are promoted through the power-knowledge interplay embedded in each and every published study, i.e., when we recognize and accept our roles in sustaining privilege and commit to doing something about it.


Epistemology Naive realism Paradigm Power-knowledge Research methods 


  1. Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches (2nd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.Google Scholar
  2. Froehlich, H., & Frierson-Campbell, C. (2012). Inquiry in music education: Concepts and methods for the beginning researcher. New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Kuhn, T. S. (1962). The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Mantie, R. (2008a). Getting unstuck: The one world youth arts project, the music education paradigm, and youth without advantage. Music Education Research, 10(4), 473–483. Scholar
  6. Mantie, R. (2008b). Schooling the future: Perceptions of selected experts on jazz education. Critical Studies in Improvisation/Études critiques en improvisation, 3(2), 1–11.Google Scholar
  7. Mantie, R. (2012a). Bands and/as music education: Antinomies and the struggle for legitimacy. Philosophy of Music Education Review, 20(1), 63–81. Scholar
  8. Mantie, R. (2012b). Learners or participants? The pros and cons of lifelong learning. International Journal of Community Music, 5(3), 217–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Mantie, R. (2012c). Music education and avocational music making: Examining discourse using techniques from corpus linguistics. In L. Thompson & M. Campbell (Eds.), Situating inquiry: Expanded venues for music education research (pp. 119–146). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  10. Mantie, R. (2012d). Striking up the band: Music education through a Foucaultian lens. Action, Criticism & Theory for Music Education, 11(1), 99–123.Google Scholar
  11. Mantie, R. (2012e). A study of community band participants: Implications for music education. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, 191, 21–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mantie, R. (2013a). A comparison of “Popular Music Pedagogy” discourses. Journal of Research in Music Education, 61(3), 334–352. Scholar
  13. Mantie, R. (2013b). Structure and agency in university-level recreational music making. Music Education Research, 15(1), 39–58. Scholar
  14. Mantie, R. (2015). Liminal or lifelong: Leisure, recreation, and the future of music education. In C. Randles (Ed.), Music education: Navigating the future (pp. 167–182). New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Mantie, R., & Dorfman, J. (2014). Music participation and nonparticipation of nonmajors on college campuses. Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, (200), 41–62.Google Scholar
  16. Mantie, R., & Tucker, L. (2008). Closing the gap: Does music-making have to stop upon graduation? International Journal of Community Music, 1(2), 217–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Miller, D. (1999). Principles of social justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Talbot, B., & Mantie, R. (2015). Blinded by bureaucracy: The pitfalls of professionalization. In S. Conkling (Ed.), Envisioning music teacher education (pp. 155–180). Lanham, MD: Roman & Littlefield.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Mantie
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Toronto ScarboroughTorontoONCanada

Personalised recommendations