Music Education and Curriculum
Music Matters has attempted to develop a philosophy that explains the nature and significance of music education. In the process, this book has also attempted to outline several basic principles of music teaching and learning.
The next main question is this: How can music educators organize music programs in ways that are congruent with the nature and values of MUSIC as a diverse human practice?
Implicit in this praxial philosophy is a distinctive concept of curriculum for music teaching and learning. Chapters 10 and 11 make this concept explicit. To anticipate, the central theme of these next two chapters is that all music education programs (general music programs and otherwise) ought to be organized and taught as reflective musical practicums. 1 Of course, the precise details of each music curriculum-as-practicum will differ according to local circumstances. Nevertheless, this philosophy holds that achieving the values and aims of music education depends on designing, maintaining, and operating music teaching-learning situations in relation to several connected principles encapsulated by the term reflective musical practicum.
The second half of this chapter explains why the practicum concept of curriculum is congruent with the nature and significance of MUSIC and, more broadly, with the thrust of contemporary research in curriculum development and developmental psychology. The discussion then proceeds to detail the nature of the reflective musical practicum.
To prepare the way for this discussion, in the first half of this chapter I scrutinize several common beliefs about the nature of curriculum and curriculum making. Since MUSIC is distinctly different from scholastic subjects, it would be imprudent to assume from the outset that the curriculum-making procedures commonly used in science, history, or mathematics education are automatically appropriate for music education. Indeed, as I argue, many conventional ideas about curriculum making are problematic for (if not inimical to) teaching and learning in general and music education in particular. Thus, and for the sake of MUSIC