A leading scholar in the world of community music, Lee Higgins, describes community musicians as boundary walkers who “inhabit margins, borders, limitations, and edges.” As a practice that sits between a range of different other professions, community musicians can challenge, innovate and transcend the typical boundaries of music practices (see Community Music: In Theory and In Practice, p6).
The agency of the community musician lies in her/his/their ability to look simultaneously beyond traditional and orthodox structures of music and of society – and to transcend the margins of both. Higgins’ inspiring and at times utopian take on the world of community music provides early inspiration as I read my way into the academic debates and discussions of community music. At times these discussions mirror closely the practical experiences of community music-making, at times they take different pathways into more eclectic discussions of terminology, theories and philosophical underpinnings. These deviations are to be celebrated – the edges and borders of an academic field often help to shape, shift and define its centre!
For more on Lee Higgins, visit his website