Arts based research of participation in music education


  • Sven-Erik Holgersen The Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Copenhagen



Aesthetic meaning, young children, participation, validity


In search of validity in arts based research, the present article takes meaning as the point of departure asking the following questions:

• What or who constitutes meaning?

• In which context(s) and to which extent can the meaning in question be considered true or valid?

• How can aesthetic meaning support validity?

The context for the discussion is a previous study aiming to understand children’s participation strategies in music activities. Using a phenomenological approach, the study aimed to understand in which ways participation proved meaningful to children.

After presentation of the study, the discussion focuses on concepts of meaning and validity and how they relate to arts based research in particular. Four different themes are briefly discussed: the theoretical basis supporting validity, aesthetic meaning in terms of ambiguity and recognisability, the role of aesthetics in arts based research, and finally the aesthetic attitude in aesthetic experience and research.

Author Biography

Sven-Erik Holgersen, The Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Copenhagen

Sven-Erik Holgersen, PhD in music education, Associate Professor at The Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Copenhagen.

Particular research interests are music education in early childhood and schools as well as music teacher education. Author of articles and book chapters about young children’s participation strategies, aesthetic experience, educational theory, music didactics, and musical skill learning. Currently conduction research on the singing culture in Danish Kindergartens.

For a number of years Holgersen served as editor of Nordic Research in Music Education Yearbook as well as chair of the Nordic Network for Research in Music Education, and the ISME Early Childhood Commission, and as co-founder of the European network of Music Educators and Researchers of Young Children (MERYC)