Monash University

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From seed to song: a case study exploring collaborative songwriting

posted on 2017-02-16, 02:47 authored by Hollingsworth, Claire
Music pervades the lives of children. While we hear it in songs, advertising jingles and soundtracks aimed at children, rarely do we hear music composed by children. Through diminished opportunities in many schools and homes, children have been encouraged to be consumers but not producers of music. This not only limits children's relationship with music directly, but their socialisation, the development of identity and other aspects of education which may be accessed, enabled or understood through music. Advances in computer technology have revolutionised the music world, providing tools and creative music opportunities for children and adults alike. Using some of this technology, this case study observed how two sisters, aged three and five, wrote and recorded authentic musical stories in collaboration with the researcher-participant. Over two sessions, the girls participated in drawing, storytelling and discussion, ukulele, singing and recording through a laptop with Garageband. Video footage, audio of the songs, screen shots, graphs, diagrams, written reflections and photographs were analysed and discussed in relation to the themes explored in the literature review. These included: flow, creativity, self-efficacy, thought, agency, collaboration, imagination, technology and play. In order to integrate the audio, visual and written components of the study, the thesis is presented in a website. This study provides us with a glimpse into the remarkable possibilities offered by intergenerationally generated music. Through play, dialogue, creative tools, multi-modal processes and relationships, such music has the power to transform the lives of children and those with whom they collaborate, their families, education and culture. Through hearing these songs and observing the processes that led to their creation, we are invited to consider, or re-consider: "What is the role of music in the lives of children?".


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Peter de Vries

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Monash University. Faculty of Education. Education


Master of Education

Degree Type



Faculty of Education

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