Bringing Drumsticks to Funerals. Jamming as Learning

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This ethnographically inspired field study employs social practice theory in analyzing New Orleans jazz and funk musicians' jamming as learning. Through analysis of participant observation and qualitative interviews the study argues that the musicians' participation in collectively improvised musical practices such as jam session is characterized by the iterative discovery of new action possibilities in pursuing a collectively negotiated 'common third': the good music.
The study further argues that the musicians’ perpetually changing participation in the jam practice and the development of the improvised music itself are inseparable and interdependant. Learning to jam is argued to be situated in the social practice of jamming, thus prototypically presenting learning to be analyzed as improvised development of practice per se.
A discussion of the findings' potential for developing teaching environments for improvised music concludes the study.
TidsskriftNordiske Udkast
Udgave nummer2
StatusUdgivet - 2012


  • jam
  • New Orleans
  • legitimate peripheral participation
  • social practice theory
  • learning