The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Music Education

By Vogt-Corley, Christy | American Music Teacher, December 2012 | Go to article overview

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Music Education


Vogt-Corley, Christy, American Music Teacher


The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Music Education, edited by Wayne D. Bowman and Ana Lucia Frega. Oxford University Press, 2012. www.oup.com/us; 544 pp., $150.00.

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The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Music Education is a collection of 26 essays organized into six sections. As stated in the introduction, the purpose of this collection is to help demonstrate that philosophical inquiry is both unavoidable and fundamentally important to the responsible practice of music education (page 4). They also state that the goal of philosophical inquiry is to provide the ability to ask better, more useful questions rather than to provide questions and answers.

With this goal in mind, the authors wisely chose to include essays by contributors of various cultures, backgrounds and experience levels. Because of the differing perspectives of the contributors, philosophical questions are asked differently and discussed differently, providing an opportunity to broaden one's perspective on music education. This in itself makes The Handbook quite valuable.

Within the six sections, the essays are organized by their approach or viewpoint toward music education. The sections deal with philosophy in music education; the nature and values of music; the aims of education; curricular and instructional concerns; and the challenges to philosophical practice in music education. The editors provide the bookends for the collection, with an introduction and an afterword.

Our experiences, musical, educational and personal, are enhanced and our vision broadened when we consider the views of those from other cultures and viewpoints. …

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