Reflections About Performance

The Problem

In many performance-based discipline areas such as music, drama, teaching and sport the performance is the central focus of discussion. In music for example, this could be in the form of a composition, analysis of a work or the performance itself. Students tend to have enthusiasm for particular aspects of their discipline that they prioritise over others and their analytical view on these can be blurred. The process of reflection can assist in deconstructing the phenomenon and then reconstructing it in personally, socially and culturally meaningful ways.

The Context

Students select a form of performance in their discipline area that interests them and are asked to develop a mode of presenting their interaction with, analysis of and reflection on this performance. They are instructed to investigate relationships between this performance themselves and the social and cultural context in which it has been produced. This process is cyclic in that students present their findings over the semester to their peers and contribute to a blog that highlights this work and discussion. Over time the reflective progress needs to show development and depth and must include other theoretical frameworks to back up claims being made.

The Pattern

  1. Students select a ‘performance’ to reflectively analyse.
  2. Ask the students to observe this performance by deconstructing it. They should reflect on the elements of the performance by understanding what it means to them personally, socially and culturally.
  3. Students should use the 4Rs to ask questions about the performance over time (see Resource 1).
  4. Students start to build up their knowledge base and skills of reflection on what it is that performers do, how they create their product, what influences their creative processes and how this relates to their own view on the discipline.
  5. Students interact with each other via a reflective blog commenting on each other’s work around the reflections of the performance (see Resource 2 – this can assist in deconstructing the performance).
  6. Students present their reflective progress at significant signposts throughout the semester to their peers. Part of this interaction can be via a blog and formal presentations at the end of the semester can be in multi-modal format ie. iradio, ezine, short film, or another performance.

Related Patterns

Performer as Reflective Practitioner (PRP)
Reflections Around Artefacts (RAA)
Second Order Reflections (SOR)


This pattern is useful for foundation students as it introduces them to reflective practice over time. It develops their skills in being able to reflect on further assessment throughout their course.


1. 4Rs model showing questions in the music discipline
2. Meaningful Engagement Matrix


Brown, A. & Dillon, S. (2011). Sound thinking: tips and tools for understanding popular music. Exploding art music productions.
Dillon, S., Seeto, D. & Berry, A. (2011). Ezine and iRadio as knowledge creation metaphors for scaffolding learning in physical and virtual learning spaces.
Dillon, S., Adkins, B.A., Brown, A. & Hirche, K.L. (2009). Communities of sound: examining meaningful engagement with generative music making and virtual ensembles. International journal of community music, 2, (1).
Schon, D. (1984). The reflective practitioner. New York, USA: Basic Books, Harper Colophon.


This pattern was initiated by Steve Dillon (Music and Sound, Creative Industries)