Schooling has been the main approach for transmitting knowledge and skills in both Eastern and Western cultures. The conservatory, for instance, has been the main cradle of great musicians. However, traditional folk arts in the East relied on apprenticeship using an oral approach for transmission. Applying Lave and Wenger’s theory of legitimate peripheral participation as a theoretical framework, this article reports an interview study with five Cantonese opera artists in Hong Kong, all of whom have previously served and led apprenticeships. It was evident that the master artists took on limited numbers of apprentices for the purposes of transmitting personal artistry rather than monetary benefit. The master and the apprentice build up a quasi-parental relationship while the apprentice was regarded as a family member of the field. This study supplements the aforementioned theoretical framework with the Chinese cultural element of family ethics which may imply an application of apprenticeship in artistic and non-artistic transmissions through schooling. Copyright © 2014 Pedagogy, Culture & Society.
CitationLeung, B.-W. (2015). Utopia in arts education: Transmission of Cantonese opera under the oral tradition in Hong Kong. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 23(1), 133-152.
- Oral tradition
- Cantonese opera
- Legitimate peripheral participation