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The role of negative emotions in learning music: qualitative understanding of Australian undergraduate students’ listening experience of unfamiliar music

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 September 2022

Koji Matsunobu*
Affiliation:
The Education University of Hong Kong, 10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong
Robert Davidson
Affiliation:
School of Music, University of Queensland, QLD 4072, Australia
Khin Yee Lo
Affiliation:
The Education University of Hong Kong, 10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong
*
*Corresponding author. Email: kmatsunobu@eduhk.hk

Abstract

This paper examines the experience and role of negative emotions in facilitating university students’ learning in world music courses. Based on a review of literature in music psychology and music education, we posit that negative emotions can engender a meaningful learning context. In this project conducted in an Australian university, we created a condition in which students were engaged in repeated listening to recordings of music from cultures different from their own, which they reported as sounding “unpleasant.” We then analysed how they overcame emotional responses through a listening exercise. The findings suggest that the students developed enhanced motivation and cognitive reflection by facing their own negative emotions through repeated listening. The article finishes with a discussion about the positive side of negative emotions and the negative side of positive emotions as they relate to music education.

Type
Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press

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