Children, popular music, and identity

Sharon G. Davis

in The Child as Musician

Second edition

Published in print September 2015 | ISBN: 9780198744443
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191805776 | DOI:
Children, popular music, and identity

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  • Music Theory and Analysis
  • Developmental Psychology


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This chapter will consider the nature of the learning processes involved when children engage with popular music, privately and in school music settings. The opening section addresses sociocultural roles of popular music in children’s lives and how it provides avenues of shared experiences with family members, and a platform for shared understandings and cultural capital between peers. Popular music styles play a predominant role in the listening environment for many children, and the chapter highlights some of the ways children participate in popular music informally and how this engagement works to affect their conceptual and emotional views of music, which emerge in formal learning situations. Listening is not a passive activity for children, but rather forms the basis for musical engagement and identity construction. Highlighted throughout is children’s use of informal and holistic processes, which inform the development of their musical identities.

Keywords: popular music; musical identity; children; listening; cultural capital; informal learning

Chapter.  10897 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis ; Developmental Psychology

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