THE STUDENT-CONSUMER HEGEMONY: RETHINKING INTERPERSONAL TRUST IN POPULAR MUSIC HIGHER EDUCATION
This individual paper presents ongoing research on the impact of the student-consumer hegemony in the development of trust between teachers and students in the specific context of popular music higher education. It evaluates current frameworks of trust within that setting, which commonly utilises creative pedagogical strategies that are conducive to the development of teacher-student relationships (Hall, 2019; Hagenauer and Volet, 2014), and considers the influence of neoliberalism and consumerism in an already complex interpersonal dynamic. The relevance of this topic is further emphasised by popular music’s propensity for an overrepresentation of at-risk and non-traditional students (O’Keefe, 2013; Roberts, 2011) – including first-generation students and students with learning difficulties – groups which benefit greatly from strong and effective teacher-student relationships (Bacon and Bennett, 2012; Meehan and Howells, 2018). While there are some studies available on how trust aids these groups of students to develop engagement,
achievement, and loyalty to their institutions in business degree programmes (Jabbar et al., 2017), there appears to be a significant gap in research on how neoliberal policies have impacted trust between teachers and students in popular music. The available definitions of trust in current research provide an atomistic and insularm approach to the topic, where both interpersonal and consumer dimensions pay a role in the development of relationships in higher education. It is argued that a new, holistic and encompassing definition of trust is required to represent student relationships with faculty, and effectively develop social and cultural capital that is of value for teachers,
students, and institutions alike.
Pedro Catela is a musician, senior lecturer and member of the Research & Enterprise Committee at the BIMM Institute, and a doctoral candidate at Durham University. His experience in higher education ranges from foundational to postgraduate levels, focusing on teacher training and development of effective teacher-student relationships – the latter being the subject of his doctoral thesis. With nearly 20 years of experience in the music industry as a performer, producer, and engineer, Pedro strongly believes in the application
of critical pedagogy in higher education, in order to empower students to become empowered professionals.