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Garage band or GarageBand®? Remixing musical futures

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 January 2010

Lauri Väkevä*
Box 86, FIN-00251, Helsinki,


In this paper, I suggest that it is perhaps time to consider the pedagogy of popular music in more extensive terms than conventional rock band practices have to offer. One direction in which this might lead is the expansion of the informal pedagogy based on a ‘garage band’ model to encompass various modes of digital artistry wherever this artistry takes place. This might include: in face-to-face pedagogical situations, in other contexts of informal learning, and in such open networked learning environments as remix sites and musical online communities. The rock-based practice of learning songs by ear from records and rehearsing them together to perform live or to record is just one way to practice popular music artistry today. Such practices as DJing/turntablism; assembling of various bits and pieces to remixes; remixing entire songs to mash-ups in home studios; collective songwriting online; producing of one's own music videos to YouTube; exchanging and comparing videos of live performances of Guitar Hero and Rock Band game songs – all of these indicate a musical culture that differs substantially from conventional ‘garage band’ practices. The global eminence of digital music culture can be taken as one indication of the need to reconsider music as a transformative praxis. By examining the ways in which music is produced and used in digital music culture, we can prepare for new forms of artistry that have yet to emerge from the creative mosaic of digital appropriation. Thus, we expand and redefine our notions of informal music pedagogy. This paper concludes with consideration of several themes that Afrodiasporic aesthetics suggest to the understanding of this artistry.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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