Exploring a virtual music community of practice: Informal music learning on the Internet | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN: 1752-7066
  • E-ISSN: 1752-7074


Over the past ten years, online communities of practice have evolved in cyberspace formed around different folk music genres, including Bluegrass, Irish Traditional, and Old Time (OT) music. Using Wenger's (1998) social learning theory as a framework, and informed by Hine's research in cyber ethnography (2000), the purpose of this article is to explore the informal music teaching and learning practices that characterize the OT music online community as a community of practice (CoP). What defines the OT online community as a CoP? What technologies including software programs do learners use and how do learners modify these to fit their needs? What practices characterize learning in this online community? Information gleaned from this article will serve a twofold purpose. First, the exploration of music learning in this online CoP will have implications for lifelong music learning and formal school music education. Second, this study will demonstrate the appropriateness of employing cyber ethnography as a method for conducting online narrative research in music education.


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