Accessing the Opportunity, Permission, and Authority to Become Creative

Juniper Hill

in Becoming Creative

Published in print November 2018 | ISBN: 9780199365173
Published online April 2019 | e-ISBN: 9780190874438 | DOI:
Accessing the Opportunity, Permission, and Authority to Become Creative

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  • Ethnomusicology
  • Music Theory and Analysis


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This chapter examines how and why individuals are granted or denied access to opportunities, permission, and authority to develop and to work as creative music makers. Musicians’ access to these enablers is affected by numerous power dynamics within their communities and societies. Learning opportunities are restricted by social inequalities at multiple levels. Systematic racial and economic oppression stemming from apartheid, colonialism, and neoliberalism leads to unequal access to resources. Gatekeepers, educators, and learners themselves can internalize prejudices and perceptions about limited potential. Professional opportunities are influenced by commercial pressures and by socialist and neoliberal governmental policies. Musical communities further allow or prohibit certain styles and practices according to their moral values, ethnocultural identities, and political agendas. Communities may also grant or deny degrees of creative authority to individuals according to their social status. The chapter discusses strategies for addressing internalized mores, the policing of idiomatic boundaries, and prejudice in assessment and curriculum.

Keywords: creativity; racism; sexism; classism; apartheid; moral values; curriculum; education; state funding; music industry

Chapter.  22974 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ethnomusicology ; Music Theory and Analysis

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