Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education

Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education

Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education

Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education


What is music? Does music deserve a place in general education? If so why? Music Matters ,develops new answers to these questions through a wide-ranging examination of Music as a diverse human practice. The result is a ground-breaking philosophy of music education that provides critically reasoned perspectives on the nature and significance of performing, listening, musicianship, multiculturalism, creativity, consciousness, curriculum development and more. Music Matters is exceptional for the attention it pays to many aspects of music and education that past music education philosophy either misses of ignores altogether. Following an incisive critique of conventional thinking, Elliot develops a multidimensional concept of music that explains why music-making and listening are unique forms of thinking and unique forms of the most important kinds of knowing human beings can achieve. In a richly detailed narrative that examines a wealth of recent philosophical foundation allows teachers to affirm to themselves, and others, that music deserves a central place in the education of all people. Among many working ideas of this new philosophy is a distinctive concept of "curriculum-as-practicum" that explains how music educators can fulfil their educational mandate. Through intended first as a text for pre-service and in-service music teachers, Music Matters is for anyone who takes a serious interest in music and music education.


This book examines the nature and significance of music and music education. Through the development of critical discussions and practical principles, it aims to construct a philosophical foundation for educating people toward the fullest understanding and enjoyment of music making and music listening.

The book unfolds in three parts. Part I probes past and present relationships between philosophy and music education. Part II builds a philosophy of music education based on a new way of thinking about the nature and significance of music: new in the sense that it provides new reasons to believe that music is one of the most consequential, dynamic, and practical pursuits in the human repertoire and, therefore, fundamental to the full development of the individual and the collective self. Part III proposes a new concept of music curriculum development for music teaching and learning.

Music Matters is primarily intended for senior undergraduate and graduate music education students and in-service music educators. I hope that it will encourage changes in the philosophy and practice of music education by serving as a catalyst for critical thinking and individual philosophy building. Indeed, this book offers a philosophy not in the popular but mistaken sense of a canon to live and die for, but as one possible view and, therefore, as a tool--as a means of initiating, stimulating, guiding, and supporting the efforts of music teachers (administrators, parents, and others) as they tackle the many theoretical and practical issues involved in music education. Moreover, it is my hope that this tool will be refined in the future with the help of those who use it to teach, learn, and reflect.

The motivation for this book is fourfold. First, I wish to contribute to the improvement of music teaching and learning. Second, I am discontent with conventional thinking; after studying and teaching the traditional philosophy of music education as aesthetic education for many years, I have become more and more convinced of its logical and practical flaws. Third, I have also become persuaded that a more analytic and contextual approach to the philosophical problems of music education, combined with insights from contemporary scholars in the philosophy of music, music cognition, education, and psychology, holds important opportunities to advance music teaching and learning. Fourth, having searched in vain for a text to meet my needs as a teacher of music education philosophy and foundations, I decided to write my own. In doing so, I have been encouraged by . . .

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