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Research Shorts: Climate-conscious popular music education

3rd June 2024

This week, as our This Is Not A Rehearsal campaign continues, I’m excited to be talking to Dr. Linus Eusterbrock about his recent work around climate conscious music education. His work argues that ‘music education can, and should, contribute to a cultural transformation towards sustainability and climate justice’. (For more about what climate justice is, see this helpful overview.) Linus draws on his own pedagogical experience, as well as philosophies of music education to do this work.

A photo of Linus Eusterbook, he is wearing a light blue shirt and standing in front of shelves. He is smiling at the camera. He has blue eyes and some facial hair.Linus’s background is as teacher, ‘I worked at a secondary school and in non-formal music education. When I came to music education research, it made me curious that “green” topics have hardly played a role there. But that is currently changing, which I find exciting. Apart from sustainability, I’m interested in music technology and popular music.’

In his most recent article, ‘Climate-conscious popular music education: Theory and practice’ Linus’s key findings were that ‘Music educators have a range of opportunities to work towards climate protection, for example by reducing the carbon footprint of what they do and cultivating a connection to nature. However, it is important to also treat climate change as an issue of ecological justice.’

The research bridges ‘philosophies of music education for social justice and eco-literacy’. Linus explained that ‘I also analysed cases from my own pedagogical practice, including a community music ensemble that addressed, among other things, transportation in the neighbourhood, songwriting that allowed young people to express their experiences with climate change, or the “sonification” of climate data.’

I asked who his research would be useful for and Linus explained:

‘Music educators could integrate methods promoting climate consciousness into their work. Music as a sensual, imaginative and collective aesthetic practice has a special potential in this respect. It would be helpful if institutions and associations could network and support the various initiatives that already exist. To establish a future proof music education, universities and policy-makers should include education for sustainable development in music teacher training and school curricula.’

Interview by Dr Sarah K. Whitfield – Research Lead for Music Mark

Read more:

Read the article here: “Climate-conscious Popular Music Education: Theory and Practice”. Journal of Popular Music Education 6/3, pp. 385–401. DOI: 10.1386/jpme_00098_1

Find out more about Linus’s work here and here.

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