Music within a prison community: A music project at a Second Opportunity School in the Correctional Facility of Corfu

Ακογιούνογλου Μίτσυ, Διονυσίου Ζωή

Προφορική Ανακοίνωση

Session Η μουσική στην κοινότητα ( Saturday, 16-Apr-22 10:30:00 EEST )


Music, as a socially constructed activity, is an act with many diverse meanings. As a non-verbal communication code, music contributes in the making of the social and cultural identity of those who engage with it (McCarthy, 2008). The design and coordination of a music project at a Second Opportunity School in the Prison of Corfu is an endeavor beyond the ordinary context of music education. In a world that constantly changes, the aim of music education is to offer opportunities for aesthetic experiences, music skills and artistic engagement to all students, and as a result, the music teacher needs to re-adjust to these conditions. In the last five years in a high security prison in Corfu, a Second Opportunity School provides the choice of education to inmates and the possibility to graduate from Middle School. 

Community music is an ambiguous term (Veblen, 2007), however it is more often used to describe a threefold action: the music of a community, an activity of communal music making, or “an active intervention between a music facilitator and participants” (Higgins, 2012: 3). The present study is guided by the third approach. It focuses on a community music education program that was implemented during the academic years 2018-19 and 2019-20 for a period of three months each year. It was designed and coordinated by the two researchers and 12 university students from the field of music pedagogy and psychology of music of Ionian University participated in the project. The group's goal was to operate a community music program with inmate students at the Prison School. Initially, the university students participated in experiential group meetings geared towards the principles of community music and ways of leading the groups.  Following this phase, during the hours of operation of the Second Opportunity School, music groups took place with more than 30 adult inmates participating from 20 to 65 years old. University students participated in this project on a volunteer basis, and they were given the chance to work on their skills as leaders of community music groups. 

In the present qualitative study we followed a dialogical procedure of dual autoethnography. Our aim was through a systematic description of the personal experiences of the two researchers, to capture the meaning of the new dimensions of the music educators’ role, in order to respond to the demands of the 21st century. For the analysis we followed three levels of discourse: a) the participation and growth of the professional identity of the university students, b) the participation and music development of the inmate students, and c) our development in terms of coordinating and implementing this project. Various themes are analyzed, such as the power of musicking in the formation of the group, the flow that generates within the music lesson, the music communication that is established, the democratic environment of the group, and the equal opportunities offered to all. The results of the project highlight the need for a multicultural all-inclusive music-centered approach, and call for the need to re-adjust the role of the music educator in society and within community music settings, as an opportunity for re-orientation in order to successfully respond to the challenges of today's world. 

  • Μουσικές εμπειρίες στο σχολείο, στο ωδείο και στην κοινότητα
  • Μουσικές εμπειρίες, δια βίου μουσική μάθηση και ευζωία
  • Η μουσική διδασκαλία-μάθηση σε τυπικά, μη τυπικά και άτυπα περιβάλλοντα
Keywords music in prisons, adult inmate students, second opportunity schools, community music, tertiary education
Language Ελληνική
Author(s) CV

Mitsi Akoyunoglou, PhD, RMT, is a senior lecturer (under appointment) in the Department of Music Studies at Ionian University. She completed her BA and MA in music therapy at Michigan State University, and completed a PhD and a PostDoc research at Ionian University. She is the representative of the Hellenic Association of Professional Music Therapists to the European Music Therapy Confederation and the representative of EEME to the Music Teacher Associations in Europe. She is a member of the scientific committee of Mousikopaidagogika journal and a language consultant of Approaches: An Interdisciplinary journal of music therapy.  

Zoe Dionyssiou is Associate Professor of Music Education at the Department of Music Studies, Ionian University, Greece. She is Director of Studies for the MA Program “Music Education in school and community” at Ionian University, and academic co-ordinator of the Ionian Summer Academy in Music Education and of the Post-graduate Training Program “Music in Early Childhood Education” (Centre for Life Long Learning, Ionian University). She coordinates a series of community music educational programs and activities organized by Ionian University (“Music Education Program for toddlers”, etc). She is co-editor of the scientific journal Musical Pedagogics (of the G.S.M.E.) and member of scientific committees in conferences and international journals. Some of her main research interests include early childhood music education, folk musics in education, interdisciplinary music and art programs, and children’s traditional singing games. Since 2012 she co-ordinates the music education performing group Aneva milo - Kateva rodi, which makes creative use of Greek musical traditions.