Musicing in Context
Thus far the philosophy put forth in this book has proposed that MUSIC is a diverse human practice and that musical practices pivot on musicianship. Musicianship is directed toward the practical end of constructing musical works overtly and covertly. Musical works are multidimensional artistic-social constructions. Musicers/ listeners can achieve self-growth, constructive knowledge, and optimal experience when their musicianship matches the challenges presented by a given musical work (or musical "thought-generator"). And because the dominant forms of knowing that constitute musicianship are essentially nonverbal and situational, the development of musicianship is intimately related to the authenticity of the musical situations in which it is taught, learned, and used; that is, musical action and musical context work together to coproduce musical understanding. 1
Because it displays these several characteristics in combination, MUSIC is a highly social and situated form of human practice. But there are additional characteristics that need examination. Indeed, a fuller understanding of the contextual nature of MUSIC, MUSICIANSHIP, and MUSICAL WORKS is essential to a fuller understanding of the nature and values of music education.
In this chapter I revisit musicing to examine the interdependencies among and between composing, performing, conducting, improvising, and arranging.
The musicianship of every musical practice is learned through interactions with musically significant "others": with teachers and, in a more distanced way, with the community of practitioners who have established, maintained, and advanced the musical domain a novice wishes to learn. When the musicianship of a practice is complex, a variety of people become involved in the teaching-learning enterprise, both directly and indirectly. Even a person who is largely self-taught inevitably makes use of past and present practitioners directly (through personal advice) and indirectly (through books, concerts, recordings, and videotapes). Alasdair Mac-