Orchestrating Social Competence: On the Transformative Work of Musicking in Two Ugandan NGOs (M-LISADA and Brass for Africa)
Kagumba, Andrew Kalyowa
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This dissertation provides a critical examination of music as a pedagogical and transformative tool for building social competence among disadvantaged young people in the city of Kampala, Uganda, through the cultural work of two NGOs; Brass for Africa (BfA) and Music, Lifeskills, and Destitution Alleviation (M-LISADA). The findings provide some evidence on a micro level, that music can indeed function as a tool, and musicking can function as a pedagogical process for the teaching of social skills and enhancing social competence, thus empowering disadvantaged young people and giving them a sense of agency. I argue that both M-LISADA and BfA conceptualize social competence as an ongoing process of transformation, strengthened as a set of specific ways of behavior, and that these behaviors can be learned and consolidated through musicking. The study was guided by the following research questions: (1) How does M-LISADA and BfA rationalize social competence through musicking? (2) What skills associated with social competence are afforded to recipients of M-LISADA and BfA’s aid through musicking? In response to these questions, I explored the pedagogical process through which behaviors, values, knowledge, and skills associated with social competence are taught and strengthened through musicking. I discovered that the two organizations use musicking as a pedagogical process for fostering relationships and building a sense of community among their participants. The organizations then use the musicking community as a model for social life and as a medium through which the social skills they aim to impart in their participants are synergistically negotiated, performed, and embodied. I have discussed the following as the social competence skills which the two organizations seek to build in their recipients through musicking: communication skills, self-confidence, teamwork, leadership, resilience, grit and perseverance, and problem-solving. This inquiry reveals the pedagogical process, applications, and implications of using musicking as a pedagogical tool for teaching social competence in order to expand perspectives and enrich existing discourses in music educational pedagogy, practice, research, policy, theory, and curriculum development.