'I drum therefore I am' :a study of kit drummers' identities practices and learning
AbstractDrummers have largely been neglected in scholarly literature on music and education, despite being active in large numbers in popular music and having an increasing presence in the music education arena. The study explores the identities, practices and learning of kit drummers in the UK from an emic perspective, using a mixed methodological approach with a focus on qualitative sociological enquiry drawing on interpretative phenomenological analysis and grounded theory. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 teenage drummers and 12 adult drummers; both age groups were interviewed to allow for consideration of whether adults' reflections on their formative years differ greatly from those of teenage drummers today. Secondary data were gathered from a brief questionnaire conducted with 100 more drummers to support and contextualize the richer interview data. Data were also taken from relevant biographies, audio/visual media and journalistic sources. A review of relevant literature was undertaken, looking at sociology, sociology of music, education, music education, psychology, psychology of music, ethnicity, and gender. The literature review leads to the proposed new model of the Snowball Self which incorporates the constructs of identity realization, learning realization, meta-identities and contextual identities. The thesis then explores the empirical data. It analyzes the data in relation to the central research focus of identities, practices and learning, and also examines to what extent the data support or refute the suggested model of the Snowball Self. Findings describe a rich variety of roles and identities in drummers' relationships with musicians and non-musicians. Participants exhibit eclectic musical tastes, and tend as they grow older to feel a stronger sense of what is 'their' ethnic music. Drummers learn in multi-modal ways, usually with a keen awareness of exemplars of their art and craft. The world of kit drumming is highly masculine, which presents a range of opportunities and challenges to drummers of both sexes. Kit drummers' identities, practices and learning are found to be intertwined as drummers each exist quasi-independently in a web of interdependence. Drummers drum; therefore they are, they do, and they learn — in a rich tapestry of contexts and ways.