Music, Mind, and Education

Music, Mind, and Education

Music, Mind, and Education

Music, Mind, and Education

Synopsis

Explores the psychological and sociological dimensions of musical experience and their implications for music teachers.this significant book should be in the hands of all with an interest in music education' - "TES"

Excerpt

Before embarking on the substance of this book, it seems permissible to make a brief sketch of how and why it came to be written.

At various times a musician, school teacher and a university professor, my particular good fortune has been in having opportunities to engage with music, people and ideas in lively ways, and to be constantly stimulated by the interaction of intellectual ideas and professional practice. Above all, I have enjoyed the illumination of artistic activity by philosophical, psychological and aesthetic enquiry. Even at the busiest and most engrossing times in school classrooms, or rehearsing and organizing groups of amateur and professional musicians, or embroiled in school and university politics, a necessary sense of being able to stand back, hold things in perspective and reflect upon the purpose of the 'business' has helped to preserve sanity and show a way forward.

I take it that this tendency is not unique and that everyone tries to understand the world, to make mental maps, to gather up the scattered elements of human experience. We all need to 'sort things out'.

It so happens that the job I now do in music education compels me to 'sort things out' in a fairly rigorous way. I cannot get away with looseness, vagueness or mere opinion in sessions with students or in conversation with colleagues. There is a feeling of being constantly driven on to explain, to interpret, to draw together ideas; in other words, to theorize. Not all of this pressure comes from people; some of it is exerted by ideas, theories or situations themselves. 'Come on', they say, 'sort us out.'

I think it possible to trace my personal major preoccupations, my 'sortings out', within music education as they have unfolded over three decades. During the 1960s, the intellectual magnet that drew my research interest towards it was, essentially, the problem of the nature of musical experience. The feeling that this was the central area needing to be opened up for music education was reinforced by an intuitive sense of the incredible power and mind-making potential of music, an awareness amplified by resonances in the writings of Langer and others who managed to describe and almost, almost verged on explanations of what music really is. This intellectual quest was undertaken from a 'base camp' of teaching, rehearsing, performing and composing; activities against which the ideas always were tested.

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