Music | Engagement in Society
Music in the community, participatory practices in art or, in general, community art (the designations are various) are areas and domains of social intervention that have grown exponentially around the world. Reflecting, in their purposes and modes of action, the complexity that characterizes contemporary societies, they are consumed in a diverse set of initiatives aimed at specific population communities, with programs designed to respond to problems that are also unique and of a social nature. Poverty, inequality and social discrimination, education and illiteracy (in its most transversal or particular dimensions), sadness and demotivation, ageing are, in general, the challenges to which numerous community projects, some of them national and with great projection outside the country, such as those of Casa da Música, in Porto, have sought to intervene and respond. The experience, the fruitive experience and the aesthetic contemplation, almost always in a context of interaction, collaboration and social sharing, being seen as powerful paths for the construction and transformation of behaviors, are guidelines that cover several implemented paths, some with socially and aesthetically expressive and significant results, as is the case, by way of example, of those that have been carried out in Portugal by DeCA teachers, such as Paulo Maria Rodrigues and the Companhia de Música Teatral; or by the Educative Service of Casa da Música, in Porto. Among many others.
Even due to the expansion it has had in the field, art in social and community contexts has therefore become a scientific field in development, involving different methodologies and study paradigms, from artistic research to interpretative and phenomenological research, the latter making it possible to describe and characterize, in the light of opportune and relevant disciplinary domains (psychology, social psychology, sociology, anthropology, multiple areas of education, medicine, etc.), the different meanings of the experiences carried out.
Education | School | Society | Creativity
Looking at the school and university context (which includes polytechnic education), while there are currently some programs specifically aimed at Music in the Community, including in national academic circuits, in addition to others that are developed in the European and international space, there are still few examples of actions germinated from educational and didactic purposes, aimed at responding to teacher training needs, including in the context of artistic music teaching. The expansion of the study of didactics to the field of non-formal practices, being still restricted, in the field of Music and namely in Portugal, or to reflections on some literature, or, above all, to contexts of Basic Education, has proved, however, especially in recent decades, an emerging and probably urgent reality. The reality that is witnessed especially in urban societies, including the literacy demands it places on multiple dimensions of knowledge, strengthens the conviction that music, as well as school, cannot be removed from the social and cultural contexts in which they are inscribed. And that these increasingly demand from their actors and representatives continuous and renewed attitudes of inquiry, discovery and search. The proof of this is the diversity and breadth of emerging phenomena around both complex technological realities, stylistic approaches, disciplinary and transdisciplinary engagement processes (physical theater, video art, digital art, visual music, spatial…); and, finally, models of knowledge, relationship and social interaction. A current topic of critical and sociological reflection, it inevitably leads to educational discourses and approaches, including theories on curriculum, which have been shaped, in their diversity, in searches for improvement and transformation, even of practices and their relations with society.
Reflecting on music in schools, conservatories and universities in the 21st century is therefore, like reflection on schools and education itself, a vast field of challenges. Not only of critical research, experimentation, confrontation and involvement with reality and culture, but also of creative and imaginative potential among all its actors.
Arts | Artistic Knowledge | Creative Thinking
Regardless of the philosophies around which, in different circumstances and educational conjunctures, ways of being valued and architected are argued, in theory in practice, the literature is extensive, both of a sociological and psychological nature, looking at the arts, namely music, as a construction, not only of knowledge, but of experiences / experiences, including those of a personal and social nature, aesthetically significant. That is, in view of their functions in the curricula, more than their relevance to the development of intrinsically performative processes and skills, human, emotional, contemplativeand transformative aspects are emphasized that, probably more than any other area of knowledge, can come from them, especially when governed by practices aligned with such purposes. Community art and participatory practices in art, including those that have been developed through music, including in Portugal, are protagonists of these movements, and are reported in numerous bibliographies.
In addition, there are other enamors, namely around what artistic thinking can imply. The way in which artistic practices, such as music, especially when not delimited by the focus on technical and interpretative aspects, raise forms of questioning and seeking answers to challenges, being particularly valued in psychology and around themes such as creativity and intelligence, is a reason for unfolding its value, both in the various curricula and in political and educational reflection. Aligned with such debates are more recently created and disseminated ministerial documents, such as the Plano Nacional das Artes(2019), which includes the idea that the methodology underlying artistic thinking, when shaped by paths that cross critical inquiry, “undisciplined” intuition, creative imagination and holistic views of reality, can play a decisive role in constellating and transforming knowledge, including that which is structured on the scientific model. And so, likewise, in such a way of looking, holistically, at the world, where the school dwells. To understand it. To (re)value it. To reinvent it.
The justification, then, of making music and art travel to society – and, in this way, of the study of Paluí itself; of continuing the creation of paths and resources of realization, of imagining horizons or utopias; of giving voice to specific groups and communities; of providing means to build choices; of making accessible different ways of interpreting, feeling, contemplating, transforming and understanding the world is inevitably connected with the vicissitudes of what it is, today, to live in society. Making it a better world.