Towards the attainment of mindful bodily relations in music education

  • Cecilia Ferm Almqvist Södertörn University, Sweden


Recent studies of female guitar students in upper secondary school ensemble education suggest
that girls behave, and are encouraged to behave, in more immanent ways than boys. They seem to
receive less encouragement to stretch their bodies and become full musical human beings. Instead
they become the second musical sex. During the course of my work with the problem of how to create
space for girls playing the electric guitar in educational settings, I have continually found myself
wondering how to create educational spaces and relations in ways that let all pupils, independent of
sex, realize ideas, transcend as musical bodies, and become what they already are. If teachers and
pupils are interrelated bodies, teachers must be aware of how they use their bodies when it comes to
creating space for all pupils to develop and stretch out their bodies. The actions of the music teacher,
as a musical body, must be balanced in relation to the other musical bodies in the room, as well as to
physical preconditions, goals, visions, and expectations of the students. In this article, I want to delve
into the subject of bodily interaction, teachers’ responsibilities, and questions of intentional educational
bodily relations. The aim is to share my close reading of Young’s philosophical thinking regarding
gender structures and especially female comportment, motility, and spatiality, and develop a set of
prerequisites for intentional bodily (music) educational relations. With a starting point in researchbased
inspiration and motivation for conducting the current philosophical investigation, I share my
close reading of Young’s theories regarding female situated bodies. Continually I relate to excerpts from
two interviews with female guitar students, exemplifying musical body-relational experiences. Finally I
share and reflect upon a developed thinking about mindful bodily (music) educational relations.

Original Articles
mindful relational pedagogy, music education, female guitarists, bodily relations