philosophy by stariya


									                                                               Music Education Philosophy 1

Running head: Music Education Philosophy

                           The Philosophy of Music Education

                                     Dan Swonger

                             Introduction to Music Education

                                        Section 1
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       Music is an important part of everyday life. Whether it is realized or not everyone is

surrounded by music. Interestingly, it does not take much hard effort for someone to be able to

effectively participate in a music group of some kind. All it takes is someone to teach that

individual what is expected of them, and they have a skill of enjoyment for the rest of their lives.

       It is important to have music in schools because of the aesthetic experience students can

experience from it. Attaining such an experience is very rare when simply listening to the music.

But when a group of young people come together to perform a musical piece, whether in

performance or practice, the experience can be one that will last with them the rest of their lives.

This experience, then, does not have to end with school. Having been taught to perform at

various levels in school opens up the opportunity for continuing to play an instrument or sing in

adulthood, which can ultimately improve their level of content in life.

       Music is also important in schools simply for the enjoyment the students receive on a

daily basis from it. At all levels of learning, participating in a music class becomes a break from

the monotony of the school day. In elementary music, it gives the students an opportunity to

work with others to accomplish the goal at hand, even if it is a simple song. In many bands and

choirs, students are presented with a challenge of a different kind than that of studying for tests.

Audition processes open students up to a level of scrutinizing much like that of an interview for a

job, which can help them prepare mentally for this real world process. What music can teach

every student is pride. At some level, students take pride in the organization they are in, and they

work together to accomplish an objective at hand.

     These two ideas, the aesthetic experience plus a stimulation of thought during the school

day, provide a very powerful reason to teach music in schools.
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                “Music touches every human being from infancy to adulthood. The power of

                musical sound can be the vehicle for expression of a wide variety of human

                emotions. And not only does music move us emotionally, it activates our

                intellect.” (Why, 2006)

This explains wonderfully the benefits individuals receive from music. At all ages, everyone can

be affected in this way towards music. It effects emotion, expression, thought, and intellect. It

expands the mind to new levels and allows you to see, and hear, things in new ways. Music is

very important in life for all people, and it is just as important for children in schools.

        Music should be taught to anyone with the desire to learn. At the elementary level, most

all students participate in a music class. It is then that they are able to decide if they truly want to

continue to participate in music. This reasoning is a strong base to teach music to younger

students. After this, there are many different levels of learning to consider. Participating in band,

choir, or orchestra is the most obvious to most people. However, it takes much dedication to be

successful in these programs, and many students decide that it is not the direction they really

want to take. However, there are a few other musical outlets for students. Music theory classes

are generally a higher level of learning for students. At the beginning level of theory, most

anyone can find some enjoyment in the ability to better understand the music that they hear in

everyday life. Music appreciation classes are ones that can be taken by anyone with an

enjoyment of music. It does not require previous knowledge of theory or literature, and the

purpose is simply to learn about music. At this level, music can be taught to anyone that simply

wants to know more about all kinds of music.

        Music needs to be taught at many different levels. Elementary school is the perfect time

to start students’ exposure to different points of music. For these younger students, it can be an
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experience that helps them in their education as a whole. Scientific studies have found that a

small amount of music education at a young age helps to stimulate brain patterns that encourage

abstract reasoning. (Music, 1997) This can help them to be more successful later in their

education as they are able to more fully understand concepts. From these music classes, students

can then decide if they want try to be involved in a musical group or not. Soon after elementary,

or at the end of the elementary years, the opportunity should exist to join a band, choir, or

orchestra. This is where they are able to learn the fundamentals of participating in such a group,

giving them the opportunity for the experience, and to decide, once again, if they want to

continue involvement. In high school, the same programs should exist, with the opportunities for

smaller groups to participate in as well. Also, practice at the solo level should be greatly

encouraged at this time, even though it should be encouraged in middle school as well. For many

individuals, high school will be the end of their journey in music, so the experience should not

only be informative, but entertaining as well. While it should be taken to a degree of seriousness,

it should not outweigh the overall experience.

       Music should be taught in an environment that is relatively low in stress that still

promotes personal advancement, and advancement as a group. An over aggressive style may

work well in some situations, but it can not accomplish what it intends to if used all the time.

Many individuals are in an organization for the enjoyment only. In order to have these

individuals succeed, and allow the organization to improve, a proper balance of a strict teaching

style and a loose teaching style must be had. Ultimately, the goal for teaching is to gain enough

respect from the students that they will want to do what you ask of them, allowing the teacher to

better inform the students and to be able to utilize time more efficiently.
                                                                      Music Education Philosophy 5

       There are many different ways in which to go about teaching music. Several different

methods of teaching music have become widely accepted today. Orff is one of those methods.

The Orff method utilizes singing and groups and playing small xylophone instruments, largely as

improvisation. Part of the idea is then that these improvisations will want to be recorded, and

there will be a desire to learn to write music. (Orff, 2006) Another popular method is Kodaly.

Some of the characteristics of Kodaly include the hand signs to represent solfege and an

abbreviated stick notation of notes. (Methods, 2004)Yet another method to teach music is the

Suzuki method. The Suzuki method is based on teaching music when still at a young age, as it

then can be learned as language is. It includes such things as attending concerts to become

familiar with music, learning the music by ear rather than reading music, and reviewing all music

learned on a regular basis. (Suzuki, 2006) All these methods of teaching are very positive, and

relatively effective at teaching music, at least to the degree that they intend to. However, it is

important to have a mixture of many different teaching styles.

       Each teaching method has its own redeeming qualities that work very well to teach the

students. However, it does not seem reasonable to believe that one method alone will adequately

teach the students what they need to learn about music. Kodaly focuses on teaching how to read

and write music, but it does not work well with music expression like Suzuki, or freedom like

Orff. Likewise, a weakness of Suzuki is the reading of music is not emphasized, or even made

necessary. The same can be said for Orff, which prefers a natural curiosity about reading and

writing music. This is why the teaching methods should be used in conjunction with each other.

They feed off each other. Each one fills in the gaps the other creates in its ideas.

       The results of teaching should differ from student to student. Obviously, it is essential to

guide more gifted students to be able to constantly improve in all aspects of their skill. However,
                                                                     Music Education Philosophy 6

this does not mean that any lower level student can be overlooked. It should also be a goal to

help these students to improve just as much as students that already stand out from the

organization, ultimately improving the entire group. The overall result desired is to simply

improve and to educate. Through proper teaching, it is possible to improve any group. It is also

important to consistently educate the student of new ideas, even in a large performance based

group. This is not impossible to do either. Rather than simply rehearse, teach them how to

improve. This is the ultimate goal, because through this, the aesthetic experiences of music can

become realized.

       There is much to be said about music education. It is just as important of a class as any

general education course is. The aesthetic experience is very important, as many individuals

would otherwise not have such experiences in life. While music can be seen as a break from

class, it is better perceived as a different way of learning, which can open the minds of

individuals and allow them to comprehend more complex thoughts. It is obvious, then, that

music should be taught to everyone. While not everyone will want to learn about music, those

that will can enjoy a lifetime of fulfillment from what they learn. The method of teaching is also

of great importance, for that can decide if a student likes or dislikes what they are learning. This

is something that must be adapted for each environment based on area, age, size of class, and

numerous different factors. But a balance needs to be found not only in the methods used to

teach, but the personality conveyed to the students and the way in which the material is

presented. This can play an important part in whether a student continues in music or not.

Ultimately, it is desired that all students continue in the learning process of music, so they can

expand their knowledge and one day encounter that important aesthetic experience that changes
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the way they look at music forever. The teacher’s desire to spread that feeling to the student

should never die.
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Methods of teaching. (2004) Organization of American Kodaly Educators. Retrieved May 10,

       2006 from

Music beats computers at enhancing early childhood development. (1997). American Music

       Conference. Retrieved May 5, 2006 from MENC database.

Orff Schulwerk. (2006). Wikipedia. Retrieved May 10, 2006 from

Suzuki method. (2006). Wikipedia. Retrieved May 10, 2006 from

Why teach? Why music? Why me? Retrieved May 9, 2006, from MENC Web Site:

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