Tuesday, 31 October 2006

22: The Danger of Music Education Advocacy (by Bennett Reimer)

Bennett Reimer

Emeritus Professor, School of Music, Northwestern University, Chicago

To advocate is “to plead in favor of; support or urge by use of argument.” Given the widespread enjoyment, even fulfillment, music provides to people all over the world and has provided throughout history, it would seem that there would be little if any need for advocacy for it, especially now when it is so easily available to all who choose to be engaged with it in whatever ways they prefer. Yet those whose profession it is to teach music in schools have always had to plead in favor of it, to offer whatever arguments they could imagine to gain support for their endeavors. Why would something so widely regarded as a valuable component of human life, particularly among youngsters of school age, need such intense, ongoing efforts to plead its cause as being a worthy school subject?

One answer to that question is that music is often regarded to be essentially different from those subjects requiring the development of the intellect—of intelligence. The “core” or “basic” or “serious” subjects, like mathematics, sciences, languages, history, and social studies, require ongoing, focused tuition. Music, on the other hand, in this view, is a matter of talent rather than intellect, of expression rather than intelligence. And everyone can enjoy it just by “doing what comes naturally,” without the same need for systematic study the basic subjects require. So why would people want to use up precious school time for music unless strong advocacy arguments for it were offered? We may call this answer to the question of why we need advocacy the “intellect versus talent” answer.

Another answer to the why-the-need-for-advocacy question, related to the first, is that very few students have the talent to do something with music that requires serious, long-term study, such as make a living from performing. Talent for performing likely falls on a normal curve. Those few with a high level of talent cannot expect schools to provide for such a very special need, except, perhaps, as an elective after the core subjects have been attended to. And even that is very expensive to provide, in teacher salaries, special equipment and facilities, and student time away from the basics. Let those who want and deserve such service find it outside the schools, from the many available and eager musicians/teachers in the community. Strong advocacy, music educators argue, is necessary to counteract this issue of “why in the schools?”

Still another reason often given for the need to plead the cause of music in the schools is that the deeper values of music, including but going beyond easily obtained entertainment, are poorly understood by many. Philosophers and others in history and in the present have clarified that music is so basic to the human condition, so foundational for a life well lived, so humanizing in its powers to deepen and widen what all people can experience, as to be not only worthy of inclusion as a basic school subject but essential if all people, including youngsters, are to realize the potentials their humanity affords. Not to make music study available to all in the schools, as seriously provided as every other important subject, is to abrogate a fundamental responsibility of education—to enable lives to be as full as they can possibly be. This argument about the deep values of music is difficult to elucidate, especially to lay people. Professional expertise is needed in order to convince people that music is as important to support as everything now considered basic in education, perhaps even more important in that it balances attention to intellectual pursuits by attention to the inner life. The need for such arguments to be made may be identified as “getting to the depths.”

Each of these arguments (and others) for the need to advocate for school music is valid, I believe. I have no quarrel with the music education profession doing all it can to offer reasons that might persuade those not already devoted to music education to come around and offer their much desired support.

But lurking beneath each of these needs for advocacy, and all the other arguments that have been and continue to be made in answer to the questions about why music should be taught in schools, is a danger seldom if ever identified as connected to—perhaps even to some extent the result of—all the many, intense, even frantic efforts we in music education make in support of our cause. The danger stems from the prevalent belief among music educators, seldom if ever doubted, that what we actually offer in the schools 1. does in fact develop musical intelligences, 2. does in fact serve the needs of the great majority of students who do not have or do not choose to cultivate musical performance talent, and 3. does in fact help students gain the deepest satisfactions music can offer. We do not examine our unswerving belief that our actual music programs are in all these respects entirely adequate if not exemplary, and that doing what we do is entirely sufficient to obtain the benefits we so vociferously and often eloquently advertise. That is, we advocate for what we do when the question begging to be asked is whether what we do is validly and optimally connected to what we claim.

The dangerous side of this situation is the tendency to blame our plight, of insecurity, lack of full respect, misunderstandings of our value, the ever-present threat of being dropped, on forces outside rather than inside our professional actions. Advocacy efforts have a way of replacing self-examination. We spend a great deal of time and effort thinking up ways to persuade people to accept our status quo, based on our very special values and traditions, rather than on how we can more realistically and effectively serve the musical needs of our culture as being our guiding aim. We tend to protect and defend and proselytize when we more fruitfully need to critically examine who we are and what we offer. We need to look inward rather than outward for the causes of our uncertain status in education.

This is not to argue that we do not offer a great deal of value to our cultures. Of course we do. But the gap between what we do and what our cultures want and need from us is often perilously wide. We need to examine everything we teach, both in general music education settings and electives, as to whether it is a viable way to be involved with music outside the schools and when schooling ends, or whether it exists only as “school music,” separate and distinct from the realities of our musical cultures. Some of our present teachings are likely to be valid, while many are likely to be irrelevant, thereby making us irrelevant. To put it directly, there is a positive relation between the efforts we have to expend on advocacy and the level of irrelevancy of what we offer.

Parents, students, non-music professionals in education, our wider communities, all have the right and responsibility to ask hard questions about whether and how we fulfill the often grandiose arguments we offer as advocacy. We have the obligation to bring our programs fully in line with our cultures' desires from us, using our expertise in music and in education to satisfy those desires while also enlarging and deepening them. We need to do less persuading by claiming all sorts of wonders for music learning when we still don't offer—don't know how to offer—their magnificent beneficences. We need to look clearly at who we are and who we need to become, at what we've done and what we haven't yet done. The better we do this the less need there will be for advocacy, for needing to persuade people to buy what we are selling rather than to make what we are selling so valuable and pertinent to their musical lives that they are delighted to get as much of it as they can. The degree of our success in fulfilling our communities' musical needs will, to that degree, relieve us, and them, of the necessity to advocate. We will have gotten closer to the maturity, in our principles and programs, that music, students in schools, and each culture in which we exist, should reasonably expect from us. And that we should expect from ourselves.

14: Why Does Our Profession Need Advocacy? (by Michael L. Mark)

Michael L. Mark

Emeritus Professor of Music, Towson University

The most eloquent statement I have seen about advocacy for education was made by former United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: "Knowledge is a form of capital, much of it formed by government investment in education. . . . Politics has become a process that deliberately seeks to effect such outcomes as who thinks, who feels how." Senator Moynihan has pinpointed the reason that the music education profession needs to advocate on its own behalf.

Why is it important that music education advocates serve as a voice of the profession to civic officials? Why do we need anybody to advocate for us? The answer is simple: we cannot expect policy makers, at least not all of them, to understand why the work that we do as music educators is important to our students, our communities, our nations, and to civilization. We music educators are musicians as well as teachers. We know inherently the importance and value of music. We feel it deeply and we believe it. If policy makers who have the authority to control education do not know these things, then we must not only tell them, but persuade them as well.

It is the responsibility of advocates to ensure that those responsible for formulating public policy do so on the basis of accurate knowledge and informed judgment.

Music education speaks to people in many ways. The most obvious voice is that of music itself. People value music and recognize the need for children to be musically educated. Students are another voice of music education. When they demonstrate their musical learning and accomplishments, they are the voice of music education as it speaks to parents and communities in a convincing manner. Another voice of music education is that spoken by advocates. Advocacy is the voice of the music education profession as it speaks to members of boards of education and legislators, and government administrators.

Most music educators are uncomfortable in the role of advocate. We have spent years preparing ourselves to become musicians and teachers of music. Our backgrounds and experiences have not prepared us to approach politicians and administration officials to explain why what we do is so important to them. We would like to think that they already know this, but we also know that just isn’t so. And so we need people to advocate for us.

I have heard music educators disparage advocacy because they feel that advocates sometimes misrepresent what we do in our professional lives. They might or might not be right, but we have to recognize that there are two aspects of advocacy: how we advocate, and what it is that we advocate. These are separate issues. If advocates do not represent our interests accurately, then we must correct them. The issue being addressed in this paper, however, is not what is advocated, but the fundamental need for advocates to represent us to policy makers.

Advocacy is a form of lobbying. Virtually every professional and vocational interest, whether the arts, business, industry, or labor, needs to be represented to policy makers. Otherwise, policy makers neither know why our work must be supported, or what we need to continue serving the public interest effectively. And we need a lot. We need recognition by governing officials that music education exists for important reasons. When we persuade them that we serve important needs of the greater community, then they can perceive the relationships between public policy and music education and can make decisions that are critical to our profession. Should portions of funding for school programs be designated for arts education? Should education laws recognize that curricular decisions must include music education? Should those laws support industrial issues that affect musical instrument manufacturers, music publishers, uniform makers, retailers, and other interests? Should our education laws dictate that every child must have a musical education in the interest of equal educational opportunity? As we analyze the myriad issues that connect music education to public policy, it becomes apparent that we need to be represented by advocates who are knowledgeable about our professional needs and who are capable in matters of public policy.

The Music Educators National Conference provides a model of effective professional advocacy at the national level in the United States. Over the years, MENC has developed its advocacy capabilities by identifying issues that need to be brought to the attention of policy makers. It has also coalesced with other education associations to increase the numbers of people represented by arts education advocates. This is especially important because our clout increases as the numbers of people who are represented increases. Although the United States government recognizes music education as a discrete discipline, much legislation has been in the name of arts education–music, visual art, theatre, and dance. MENC has also established strong ties with the music industry, which multiplies the number of people and professional interests that are represented several fold, and equally important, relates our profession directly to the national economy. Obviously, policy makers will consider our needs more readily as we establish our ties to business and industry as well as to schools.

Undoubtedly there are different models for national advocacy in other countries. I hope that music educators from other countries will share their advocacy strategies and techniques through this web site.

If we truly believe in the value of our work, then we owe it to ourselves, our students, our colleagues, and our communities to be sure that education policy makers are informed and supportive of us.

5: Music Education and Advocacy (by David J. Elliott)

David J. Elliott

Professor, New York University

My father was an amateur jazz pianist who played every night at home after his daily work and at sing-along parties with our neighbors on Saturday nights. He also composed songs for his own satisfaction and for the delight of his friends. I loved the sounds he played, improvised and composed. The joy that swirled around his music making at our musical get-togethers was infectious and transforming. I wanted to be like him; I wanted to be able to do what he did. So, after starting me out with informal jazz piano lessons, he sent me to study with a professional jazz pianist who taught at a local community music school. I was six-years-old. Soon I began to play at our musical gatherings, surrounded by supportive adults who sang and played along.

Although my elementary school did not offer a music program, I was often called upon to "provide the music" at many school and community functions, which gave me a strong identity among my peers and teachers as "the musician." During my middle and secondary school years I was taught by two excellent artist-teachers who worked diligently to involve my peers and I in all forms of music making and listening. Because of them, I became involved in band and jazz band groups as a performer, arranger, composer, conductor, and a novice teacher of my peers. These varied experiences allowed me to take leadership roles in my school music programs and in many community music groups, including my own professional dance band. And so it was that I began my tertiary music studies with a rich and joyful foundation of musical experiences and a deep commitment to music and music education.

Advocacy in Context

My point in relating my personal story is to suggest that, although verbal statements about the values of music education are necessary and fundamental forms of advocacy, the most powerful means of making our case are the processes and social settings of musical particip-action that yield deep satisfactions for participants of all ages and ability levels. For example, a parent engaged in joyful music making and listening usually means a child engaged in music making and listening. A school principal, politician, or CEO involved in joyful singing, playing, or composing tends to work hard to support school music education. So, in addition to teaching our students, I believe we need to find more and various ways to provide satisfying musical experiences for our students' parents, their friends, other teachers in our schools, and policymakers in our communities. Alternatively, we need to consider ways to help establish community music groups and school-community partnerships that provide opportunities for parents, colleagues, educational leaders, and corporate bosses to engage in joyful music making and listening and to witness our teaching expertise in action.

That said, it is imperative to consider scholarly views about the values of music and music education as a basis for evaluating advocacy statements and, perhaps, as material for advocacy statements. Our ISME Advocacy project it an excellent example. Still, we must always keep in mind that advocacy and scholarship are fundamentally different. Sometimes advocacy statements line up with scholarly research, but very often they do not. This is because advocacy is about marketing and selling music education to obtain various kinds of support. Philosophy (for example) is about critical thinking and rigorous foundation building, which advocates often dismiss impatiently as boring or long-winded because "advocating" is about the "short, fast sell." In fact, advocacy statements often "dumb down" our values and aims by means of simplistic "sound bites" or t-shirt slogans tailored to fit the latest educational or societal crisis. These "pop" forms of advocacy have the potential to mislead and/or disappoint parents, colleagues, and potential supporters, and to demoralize excellent music teachers. In short, without a clear sense of our professional values, we run the risk of misrepresenting our profession and/or skewing our curricula to match short-term goals dictated by questionable research, or the latest government edicts.

This is why it's so important to approach advocacy cautiously and critically, and to teach future music educators to do the same. How? We employ music education philosophy, psychology, sociology (and so forth) to help us critically examine and formulate our professional aims, goals, objectives, curriculum content, teaching strategies, and assessment procedures. Because these fields pivot on rigorous thinking, we should go to them to develop valid and reliable statements about the nature and value of music education.

With these thoughts in mind, I offer the following perspectives on several (but not all) values of music education, which I then connect to education in general.

Several Values of Music Education

On one hand, what music educators do is similar to what all teachers do because thinking and knowing lie at the heart of all educational efforts. Teachers in every subject area focus on the outcomes of student thinking in relation to domain-specific standards of accuracy, appropriateness and originality. At the same time, what music educators do is unique because developing musicianship and listenership is a matter of teaching multidimensional forms of artistic-cultural-bodily thinking that engage all aspects of our being in relation to auditory-social events.

Developing our students' musicianship and listenership through performing, improvising, composing, arranging, conducting, moving and listening gives our students the skills and understandings they need to participate in creating musical-cultural expressions of emotions, musical representations of people, places and things, and musical expressions of cultural and personal values. This range of opportunities for self-expression and creativity offers our students numerous ways of giving artistic-cultural form to their powers of feeling, thinking, knowing, valuing, evaluating, and believing, which in turn engage other listeners' emotions, interests, and understandings.

Of course, each different musical style-community (or practice) is also significant because the musical works produced by its music makers and listeners play important roles as unifying social artifacts. That is, cherished musical works are crucial to establishing, defining, delineating, and preserving a sense of community and self-identity for individuals and their social groups. Musical works and musical practices constitute and are constituted by their social contexts.

It follows from this that teaching and learning a variety of musics comprehensively (as music cultures) is an important form of inter-cultural education. When we initiate, induct, and guide our students in unfamiliar musics through active music making, students can engage in self-reflections and personal reconstructions of their relationships, assumptions and preferences about other people, cultures and other ways of thinking and valuing. In these ways, inducting learners into unfamiliar musical styles links the central values of music education to the broader goals of humanistic education. Since schools today are concerned with preparing students for life in pluralistic societies, and since schools in most countries are more culturally diverse than ever, it stands to reason that schools should support the rich and enjoyable inter-cultural learning experiences that school music programs can provide.

By engaging in these forms of musical particip-action under the guidance of a professional music educator, music students (of all ages) can experience the most profound values of music and music education: self-growth, self-knowledge, self-esteem, and the emotional experiences of enjoyment or "flow" that accompany these forms of growth, empowerment and transformation. How do these forms of self-growth and optimal experience occur? Stated plainly, as music teachers develop (a) students' musicianship-listenership in matching balance with (b) the challenges and meanings presented by a musical work, students achieve self-knowledge, enjoyment and self-esteem. Musical forms of self-growth and enjoyment are unique because music making and music listening involve musical "products" (works, or challenges) and auditory-cognitive-social processes that are distinct from those required for any other endeavor. Musical flow experiences are unique because artistically-and-culturally produced and processed sound is the sine qua non of music. In other words, the conditions of musical flow experiences are specific to musicing and music listening. Accordingly, the conscious contents of musical experiences -- their cognitive and affective qualities, the way they feel while they last, their short- and long-term effects -- differ from other forms of experience, including other kinds of artistic experience.

Music Education and General Education

How do the values of music education connect with education and advocacy in general? The most essential, long-term task facing our profession involves enrolling parents, colleagues, administrators, policy makers, and politicians in the quest to make our schools more educational. By more educational I mean that our schools should aim to develop students as people, not just job-fillers for today's marketplace mindset. As many scholars have insisted in different words, education is for life: education ought to be conceived for life as a whole, not just for one aspect of life, such as work. Put another way, much more is involved in the full and beneficial "development" of a child than the acquisition of literacy in the simple sense of job skills and academic knowledge, or the so-called basics. What more? Worldwide, human cultures past and present pursue a common set of "life goals" or "life values" including happiness, enjoyment, self-growth, self-knowledge, freedom, fellowship, and self-esteem, for oneself and for others. These life goals are so basic to human beings that people seldom ask, "Why do you want happiness, enjoyment, self-growth, wisdom, freedom, fellowship, and self-esteem?"

Schooling should enable learners to achieve life goals in school and beyond school, in working life, family life and social life. If so, then music education should have a secure place in the school curriculum from kindergarten through secondary school because musicianship-listenership is achievable by all students and because musical skills and understandings can be developed early in life, thereby giving most children early access to the life goals of self-growth, self-knowledge, enjoyment, flow, and the happiness that arises from being involved with others in musical ways of life.

In summary, music education is a unique and major source of many fundamental life goals. By actively supporting the aims of music education, school systems increase the likelihood that students will learn to make a life as well as a living both inside and outside school.

Advocacy Revisited

Why is advocacy a necessary part of our professional work? A major reason is the huge difference between education and schooling. On one hand, most Western nations make strong rhetorical commitments to providing a balanced curriculum for the whole child, which they state in official educational policy documents and curriculum guides. In reality, however, public school systems in most countries are becoming more and more focused on "testing" students in a narrow range of "academic" subjects using mechanistic measurement devices. Why? Many scholars suggest that this movement (sometimes called "Educational Reform") is part of a global effort by corporations and "marketplace educators" to shape and "manage" schools according to the needs and values of "marketplace capitalism." (This is an old story tracing back to the industrial model of the "school-as-factory" that exists to produce future factory workers). Educators have always been under pressure from the business world to devote more time and resources to the production of students-as-job-fillers by means of academic-vocational studies alone. This pressure has become more intense in the last fifteen years with the advance of globalization, which requires "standardization" in all realms of life, including schooling. Clearly, however, corporate leaders and marketplace educators are not concerned (at all) with enabling our students to make a life as well as a living.

Broadly speaking, then, we need to advocate on behalf of music education and arts education because what we do professionally is deeply connected with the need to protect and sustain the right of children to receive a balanced and comprehensive education, which means a school curriculum that makes a central place for the life values we can provide through systematic music teaching and learning.

And so, to conclude, I return to a major theme. Long before I studied advocacy statements or scholarly discussions about the nature and value of music, I experienced the powers of music through music making and music listening in my childhood and adolescent years. I believe this holds true for many people, including most music educators. If so, then our concept of "advocacy" must include but go beyond words. I think we must employ our skills and understandings as musicians, teachers and community leaders to empower our students, colleagues, supervisors, politicians, and communities with the musical skills and understanding they need to experience the potency of musical experiences and to "make a life in music" to the extent they desire. Our future strength and security depends on our ability to combine our best words about music education with our best actions aimed at wider and more varied approaches to extending music instruction inside and outside schools. We must engage more and more people of all ages, in all walks of life, in the joys of musical particip-action.

2: Brief Comments on Music Education Advocacy (by Wayne Bowman)

Wayne Bowman

Professor, Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba Canada

What are we doing when we advance advocacy arguments for music?

1. We need to remember that advocacy is a political undertaking, not a philosophical one. That means, among other things, that answers to questions about music's nature and value may not necessarily serve the ends of advocacy: it is entirely possible, in fact, for philosophical truths to undermine what advocacy seeks to achieve. The advocate has clear ends in mind and is primarily concerned to persuade others to his/her point of view. These ends thus restrict and proscribe at the outset the means to be deployed and the range of conclusions deemed admissible. They rule out from the beginning questions, procedures, and observations that may be at odds with the advocate's purposes. In advocacy, what counts is persuasion. In philosophical endeavours, on the other hand, the point is validity or truth, quite apart from any preordained end. A potential danger with the anything-goes strategies of advocacy is that we make promises on which we cannot deliver. Another is that we commit ourselves to things on which we may be able to deliver but should not. These dangers are all the more worrisome if we turn over responsibility to professional persuaders, whose interest in the aims of our instructional efforts is subsidiary to their interest in winning resources, time, recognition, or whatever else is perceived to be at stake.

2. Claims to musical value are not claims to educational value. Therefore, establishing that music is important or valued is at most half the argument that is required when attempting to justify its place in school curricula. Establishing that music is a ubiquitous phenomenon, and involved in all manner of human endeavours only states the obvious. It is music education, not music, that faces a legitimation crisis.

3. Every single one of our claims to music's educational value is contingent. Music's capacity to achieve educational ends, indeed music's power itself, always depends: upon (a) how, (b) by whom, (c) for whom, and (d) under what circumstances we engage in the processes of (e) musicking and (f) teaching. All our ambitious claims for music depend upon extenuating circumstances and contextual variables, circumstances and variables our bold claims must acknowledge because they are things over which we often have relatively little control. Music education may, under certain circumstances, indeed affect desirable educational ends. In the wrong hands, or under the different circumstances, its power might affect precisely the opposite. In short, neither music nor music instruction is unconditionally good. It all depends.

4. The need to advocate strenuously for music education it is frequently due to musical or educational failings. Conversely, where the power and value of music and of educational endeavours are evident to people, it is seldom necessary to mount advocacy campaigns. Music's meaning and potency in people's lives is what drives support for educational endeavours, not noble sounding promises.

5. Advocacy is typically conservative, in that it takes as its object the defense or justification of "what is." Put differently, advocacy efforts generally focus on convincing people of the need to support (or support more adequately) the status quo. Where change is needed, this is not necessarily a desirable state of affairs.

What are music's values?

6. Music's values are radically diverse and multiple, perhaps innumerable. They cannot be ranked hierarchically except with regard to that for which they are valuable. Nor can they be separated into categories "musical" and "extra-musical," good and bad, except in relation to human ends. Meaning and value are functions of use, which is to say they are always constituted by and relative to use. The value question, then, is a question about how music works in the human world, and how those potential "workings" relate to ends desired by people concerned. This means that such issues are always socio-political, always potentially contested.

7. To say music's value is intrinsic or inherent is to claim it is self evident: that it somehow exists without any connections to anything else. But all value is human value, and human value is value-for something. The appeal to a musical value that JUST IS, is a kind of sleight of hand – an attempt to pre-empt other kinds of value claims by establishing a value that precedes human use. Music has no value unless we confer it, just as is true of all other values. This observation need not compromise music advocacy, but it does indeed ground it in human action and in the uses to which music lends itself.

8. The preceding two claims follow from the fact that music, and therefore its meaning and value, is constructed anew by each musicking person. It follows that these are inextricably grounded in and emergent from experience. Such experience, furthermore, is always socioculturally situated – which is to say it is socially constructed. These facts both suggest important qualifications upon any claim we might wish to mount on music's behalf and point to a range of significant claims that are often neglected.

9. To say musical experience, meaning, and value are socially constructed is not, please note, to say these are socially determined. The relationship between the individual and culture is dialectical and reflexive in nature.

10. To say musical experience, meaning, and value are socially constructed is not to deny that these do not have a biological basis as well. But human bodies are minded bodies, and embodied minds are always also sociocultural phenomena.

11. These preceding observations surely point toward understandings of music as a phenomenon that is unique and uniquely important, in virtue of its location at the nexus of mind and body, individual and social, action and understanding. Music's status as intelligent action and our richest potential source of participatory consciousness (Keil, 1994) should comprise the core of efforts to explain and justify music's presence in the context of education.

To what educational ends are music's meanings and values suited?

12. Again, that depends: upon one's understanding of "education" and the kind of ends it properly implicates; upon the music in question; upon the range of sociocultural values it potentially invokes; and so on. In no way does this negate the process of advocacy. However, it does alter and qualify in important ways what we understand advocacy to be and how we go about it.

13. Among the educational ends we might wish to consider are the following: transmission of cultural heritage; the creation and maintenance of cultural vitality; enabling access to experiences and understandings that are not commonly accessible through informal means; imparting critical awareness that gives people more power and control over their lives; imparting appreciation for embodied and emergent cognition, and the severe limitations of disembodied knowledge; creating personal and collective identities; the development of tolerance, cooperation, and ethical frames for action; rendering the familiar unfamiliar; developing expertise and fluency in valued realms of human endeavour; and so on. This list, it should be clear, is potentially endless: if music's values are radically diverse and multiple, the aims of education are no less so.

14. The point to be borne in mind is that each such educational claim carries with it a broad range of personal and professional obligations: for none of these things happen necessarily or automatically, just because students have been involved in activities we regard as musical and educational. Deciding what courses of action are appropriate in light of local circumstances, present needs and resources, and the unpredictability of educational outcomes lies at the heart of what it means to be a professional music educator.

15. Because of all that has been said here, the best source of valid and reliable advocacy arguments is the qualified professional whose charge it is to deliver "the goods."

20: The Nature of Music

20: The Nature of Music

Isabelle Peretz

University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

We sense that music is much more than a pleasure technology or mere entertainment. Yet, the idea that our responses to music might be instinctual has only gained credence in recent years.

Developmental psychologists have convincingly shown that before the age of one year, infants display a remarkable and rather subtle sensitivity to music. These perceptual abilities are similar, in many respects, to those displayed by adults. Humans appear to be born with processing predispositions for music. These musical abilities develop spontaneously, by simple exposure to music. The initial trigger appears to lie in maternal vocal singing. All mothers sing to their infants, in all known cultures. Basic musical skills are not only precociously acquired and universal, they are also old in evolutionary terms. Archaeological finds show a continuous record of musical activities in all human settlements, dating back at least 50,000 years. Thus, music seems to correspond to an evolutionary adaptation.

Neuropsychologists have accumulated evidence that shows that the human brain is specialized for processing music. Findings reveal that the human brain is equipped with neural circuitries that deal exclusively with music. Such circuitry is not only independent of language processing, but also of the melody of language (intonation). Thus, the functioning of the musical brain is relatively autonomous. Given such independence, it is possible that a person may lack music competence, through either some form of congenital or developmental disorder, while having all other faculties intact; or, on the other hand, retain the music faculty in the presence of other mental dysfunction. This explains why you may find brilliant and remarkable individuals – like Che Guevara—who experienced a life-long inability to recognize music. Conversely, you may be impressed by the musical virtuosity of some autistic individuals, who are otherwise severely handicapped.

Music is unique. Musical abilities flourish independently, without much assistance from other cognitive and affective systems. One sequaela of having a highly specialized musical brain is that a slight neural deviation may compromise its functioning from birth. Individuals that experience such a deviation, like Che Guevara, are commonly called tone-deaf. And for a long time it was thought that lack of effort or musical practice was responsible for their condition. Now, we know that this view is incorrect. These individuals suffer from a genuine musical impairment. The existence of a few "deviants" is probably the price to pay for having a sophisticated machinery underlying musical sensitivity.

But why is our species so musical? Two main evolutionary explanations have been offered. The initial account was provided by Darwin himself (1871) who proposed that music serves to attract sexual partners. However, the dominant view lies at the group-level rather than at the individual-level, with music helping to promote group cohesion. This bonding effect of music may well be initialized in the mother-infant interactive pattern created through maternal singing. The individual- and group-level roles attributed to music do not need to be mutually exclusive. Individuals taking the lead in gatherings by virtue of their musical and dance prowess can achieve leadership status in the group, a factor that contributes to reproductive success.

Thus, the universal appeal of music, which used to be considered as a social construct that varies from culture to culture, might be better conceived as an adaptive response of the organism. It seems that emotional responses to music can be aroused similarly in every proper functioning human as reflexes, by being the product of dedicated neural structures. Indeed, musical emotions occur with rapid onset, through automatic appraisal, and with involuntary changes in physiological and behavioural responses. This conception fits with the fact that we often experience emotions as happening to us, not as chosen by us. And this is exactly what should be expected from the operation of a musical instinct.

19: A Music Pedagody Credo

19: A Music Pedagody Credo

Bengt Olsson

Professor i musikpedagogik, Musikhögskolan, Göteborg, Sweden

"We are living in the best of musical worlds". Never in history have so many people experienced and performed music. This new technology has made it possible to both create and distribute music all over the world. In media – newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and by Internet – the music and the artists are acknowledged, but very seldom music education is put forward. The role of music education in this marvellous expansion is often neglected although its importance is huge.

What is the essence of music education? Through our language we have words and concepts like "education", "teach", "learn", "school" etc, but they don't tell us what is really going on. A research-based definition speaks of "intentions to teach" and "intentions to learn" as two basic premises for education. Consequently, the conscious purposes to teach other people as well as the conscious purpose of people's learning are the core values of music education.

Such a definition embraces all kind of music education. The most obvious feature is traditional music education in schools, community music schools and within higher music education. But music education is much more. Community music involves, for example active participation in music making of all kinds (performing, improvising and creating). The kinds of music employed encompass a wide range and diversity of music. Music may occur with cultural events, folkways and other arts. The music may reflect the cultural life of a geographical community, recreated community, or imagined community.

Musical communities take many forms. While music making groups may crystallize into unique structures, there are certain characteristics that facilitate positive group dynamics. Procedures and structures don't seem to be fixed determinants. There may be a conductor, people may take turns leading and following, or there may be a collective.

One core issue is what are the unique aspects of music education? First of all music education leads to a spirit of community. It is through the musical performances as well as experiences of music that the social dimensions of music education are strengthened. However, the forces of music education on the individual strengthen his/her e abilities to distinguish another core issue. What is good and what is bad music? This s not only a matter of skills to decide what is good and bad music for the individual, but a matter of being able to take part of the deeper aspects of music. It is here that music education can play a role in human development.

18: The Experience of Music

18: The Experience of Music

George Odam

Emeritus Professor of Music Education, Bath Spa University College

Research Fellow at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London, England

Music is an essential life-experience and in our increasingly secular Western European society, it provides an important source of spiritual experience for the majority of children in our schools. Such musical feeding of the spirit remains an important part of my own early memories. That transcendent sense of well-being and connection with something beyond the day-by-day experience of the world could be sensed in the humblest musical activities: in nursery rhymes and singing games, in hymns and songs and in listening to music of all kinds through mechanical reproduction. I had a familial and environmental disposition towards music and was lucky enough to experience music at first-hand as well as in audience. As a youth I felt impelled to study music even though I had little formal teaching and less hope of success.

Can anything helpful be learned from that I wonder? I cannot demonstrate how much musical experience, in the home and outside, helped my studies overall but I am sure it did. I know it was my solace when things went wrong for me and that it helped me to learn to co-ordinate and develop my thinking and feeling processes, but I cannot prove it. I believe that youthful musical experience develops the brain, and there is increasing scientific evidence of positive effect, such as the evidence on brain development in musicians published in 1995 by Schlaug et al. and in 1998 by Pantev et al. in Nature.

What I think my story does underline is the importance of real musical experience in early life. It was hearing a busker on a street corner playing a popular song on the violin that first inspired me to want to try to play a musical instrument. At that age everything in music seemed equally wonderful and important to me. I loved hearing brass bands, choirs and organs, salon music, popular songs (there was no 'pop' music as such), dance and big bands, folk songs, Gilbert and Sullivan, Victorian sentimental ballads, live concerts of Britten's music (I came from the same region as he did), orchestras and jazz bands.

Formal school music education did not figure much in my early life and neither did I have many individual instrumental lessons. Most of what little I received I rejected as boring and irrelevant. Perhaps I was motivated to teach because I felt deprived of being taught well. But it has also made me healthily sceptical of the intentional effect that any individual teacher can have. Music doesn't fit easily into the timetabled security of school-life. It is an art and arts are uncomfortable, anarchic things. Arts demand time and attention and encourage individual expression. Good music teachers respond to this by finding ways to provide captivating musical experiences in spite of the mechanisms of schools. They understand the power of music and the need for it to be able to speak for itself rather than be explained. However much they plan carefully, they expect the unexpected and allow the music to work its own magic. They note the fundamental experience of music that comes through the human voice and how this underlies common musical practice in all cultures and at all time. They don't give up on this and diligently search for new vocal materials that will engage, thrill and motivate young people.

Helping pupils to find themselves through learning to play an instrument is a vital part of providing a musical environment in which pupils can learn. In some countries this can be done in school time, in others it may be through local music schools. Good teachers remain keenly aware of their individual pupils' instrumental and vocal progress and capabilities and make endless opportunities for their skills to be nurtured and developed within the school. Another way of experiencing music is by composing music of your own. Good teachers encourage inventiveness in their pupils and help them to approach musical experience with the invitation to try creating it for themselves. They provide rich opportunities for pupils to hear and experience the effect of their own compositions when it communicates with others in performance. The question "what if….? " is fundamental to all good music teaching both in the classroom and in the music studio. Good teachers keep their ears and eyes open and are always ready to test out new musical experiences to find the value in them. They share their sense of discovery and enjoyment with their pupils and make certain that their own enthusiasms and knowledge are conveyed to their pupils through making music with them whenever possible but encouraging all of them to take responsibility for their own learning.

Music is one of our earliest sensory experiences. It can be identified by babies even before birth. It can sustain us through life, providing relaxation or stimulation when needed. As we grow older, so our musical needs and tastes change. Music can be a lifeline. For all of us, well or ill, in physical or psychological pain, young or old, it provides a way of understanding ourselves and our world and of knowing about and experiencing things that otherwise cannot be fully expressed in words. Music making engages thinking, feeling and doing in a way that is unique and highly fulfilling. Above all it can provide a strong sense of well-being and a feeling of connection with things, well beyond our daily experience, that help to give meaning to our lives. Dr Colwyn Trevarthen, of the Department of Psychology at Edinburgh University recently described that power by saying that it attunes to the essential efforts that the mind makes to regulate the body. I believe that we are becoming increasingly aware of how important that internal tuning process is to our physical and mental good health and that music is a precious commodity that we must nurture and develop in ourselves and others as well as we can for the common good.

16: Why Teach Music in School?

16: Why Teach Music in School?

Janet Mills

Research Fellow, Royal College of Music, London

There is recorded music almost everywhere in everyday life, but so little music making, and so much misunderstanding of what music is all about. People think that they are 'not musical'. Or that to play an instrument you first have to learn to read music. Or that if they have tried to learn an instrument, but did not make too much progress, this was necessarily their fault. Or that you have to be Mozart to compose. Or that music teachers are only interested in classical music composed by men who are long dead.

Teaching music in school enables us to put all this right before it goes wrong. We build on the natural affinity for and joy in making music – including making up music – that all children bring to their first day at school, and help them in the early stages to achieving their full musical potential. We avoid dogmatic approaches to music teaching that constrain children, but rather guide them as they grow musically, and exceed our very high expectations of them. We make it easy for children to carry on thinking that making music is just as natural as speaking, reading and writing. We show children that there is much more to music than the 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' or 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'. We engage with the music of children's own culture, and also help them to broaden their musical perspectives. We help the children who become so passionate about music that they want a career in it to achieve their goals. And we also show all the other children that music can be a major force in their lives, if that is what they want.

We teach music in school primarily because we want children – all children - to grow as musicians. But music, also, improves the mind. While it is hard to catch the results of this in a scientific experiment, or to plan music teaching so that this will necessarily happen, no-one who has had the privilege of observing really good music teaching, and has watched children grow intellectually in front of them, can doubt that this is the case. It may be the raising of children's self-esteem through success in music making that helps them towards achievement more generally. It may be that enjoying music helps children to enjoy school more. It may be that chemical changes induced in the brain by music facilitate learning more generally. Or perhaps the thought experiments that musicians must carry out to improve their performing and composing help children to extend their thinking more generally. I don't much mind what the reason is, but am certain that it happens.

Music making is something that we can draw on to make the bad times in life more bearable. Sometimes this is just in little ways. But I know an elderly man who struggles to make himself understood in words through the fog of Parkinson's disease. The other day, he stood up from the dinner table, moved to the piano, and played the songs of his youth perfectly, and with such communication. I know a much younger man, an outstanding physicist, who has cystic fibrosis. When the frustrations of his life now, and his limited prospects, become too much, he sits down at the piano and improvises for hours and hours ……

But music is mainly about good times, and making them more frequent and even better. Music is not a gift but a right. By teaching it in schools, and teaching it as musically and as inclusively as possible, we give all children the best opportunity in the world to make the most of music for themselves as they move through life.

15: A Rationale for Music Education

15: A Rationale for Music Education

Clifford K. Madsen

Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor, Center for Music Research, The Florida State University

For those who value knowledge, the learning process is perpetual throughout life's time and includes: (1) the ability to think, and therefore, value and discriminate, (2) the ability to feel, and therefore, become sensitive to aesthetic qualities in life, and (3) the courage to act, and therefore, translate those abilities to think and feel into overt behavior. The study of music, because it includes cognitive, aesthetic and experiential participation advances these attributes.

Musical training creates a respect and desire for continuing aesthetic experiences, and the ability to react positively, listen responsively, and participate enthusiastically in an artistically sensitive manner. Music study promotes positive interpersonal attributes and participation enables one to be empathetic with people of differing social and ethnic backgrounds. Music study encourages students to demonstrate mature attitudes and positive values because of shared experiences in highly structured activities that are responsive to the emotional commonalities in life.

While music participation enhances intellectual development, it is an activity that is extremely broad in its capacity to include every child: the poor, ethnic minorities, children of the inner cities, the handicapped, and the highly gifted. It does this at all levels from pre-birth through adulthood with continuing life-long programs. Music study helps each student understand him/herself as a person. It assists in the development of positive attitudes and keener insights toward others within the world community.

In addition to advancing personal competencies in music performance, the study of music includes improvisation, conducting, composing, arranging, analysis, history, varied repertoire, as well as other skills, where students are exposed to other arts, the sciences and the humanities. The study of music helps students approach life in a positive, imaginative, and enthusiastic manner and the schooled musician evidences the personal qualities of leadership, intellectual curiosity, and social commitment.

The task of structuring and managing a musical environment in which individuals, regardless of ability level, positively experience, successfully achieve, and hence, come to value the art of music, demands a breadth of knowledge and skills, as well as high levels of perception and sensitivity. All music study should be based upon an important yet extremely simple premise—that every person involved as a learner ought to have the best and most complete instruction possible. This premise includes a commitment to the subject of music and its use with people. The strength of this commitment is evidenced by academic and social behaviors in life, both in and out of the music environment, and is characterized by diligence in the pursuit of musical and academic excellence and active dedication to the improvement of the quality of life.

The acquisition and development of these abilities requires an intellectual and experiential commitment that is realized in daily living and is maintained and strengthened during formal and informal music study continuing throughout one's lifetime.

13: Why is Music Important?

13: Why is Music Important?

Besa Luzha

University of Prishtina, Faculty of Arts, Music Department, Kosovo

I am a new music educator coming from Kosova, a small country in South Eastern Europe that is better known on the basis of the terrible conflict and war that happened here during the years 1998-1999.

Since June 1999, when the International Community through the NATO Alliance intervened and brought peace to my country, life has come back to normal and now we are trying to fulfill the necessary standards to join the European Family.

There is a lot of work to be done and many processes have already begun. Among them are a series of reforms in many segments of our life, and the most special one the Education Reform in all the levels.

I personally am responsible for the coordination of the group of experts compiling the new reformed music curriculum for all the grades (K-12), and parallel this work by teaching the students in the Faculty of Music about the exiting opportunities available in the music teaching profession.

While working in this process I have been asked many times "Why is music so important.?." And truly I have been trying to explain even to myself the reason why, and I have often thought why is it that we need to explain something very visible and evident.

In this article, I will not try to explain the scientific arguments starting from the theory of Multiple Intelligences and up to the benefits of music to the cognitive processes and results in overall tests in math and reading (as many researcher have already argued these benefits). I want to share with you a personal experience that has answered my question about the importance of music. I want to speak about another aspect of music that evoked to me the opinion of Plato and his "colleagues" from the ancient times about the opinion that "Music makes better people" or the opinion of Schopenhauer (the philosopher) that "music is the bath of the soul".

The power of music to touch our souls and evoke reactions and expression of different moods and emotions is for me the most important quality of music.

In the culture of my country, music plays a very important role. It is part of the most important moments of our lives-from birth, marriage and until death. (In our tradition when someone dies they cry-sing about the dead person by mentioning his good qualities and by describing in a form of poetry with rhymes and very unique tune and melody the pain that the members of his/her family feels).

In the most difficult times during the conflict, songs were created speaking of the freedom and the children where singing those songs all the time. It brought them hope for a better life in the future. For ten years in a row (1989-1999) the oppressive regime that administrated Kosova forbade the use of the only concert hall existing in Prishtina (the capital of Kosovo) for the population of Kosovar Albanians –majority of Kosovo population.

In the year 1999, after the peace was established my colleague musicians and I took an initiative to organize a concert of Classical Music that was the first for 10 years. It might seem so unusual to speak about the organizing of the concert in normal conditions. But the situation back then was everything but normal. I am speaking about a city coming our of war with lots of killed and massacred being found everyday in massive graves, lots of demolition and destruction and many homeless people.

Anyway, we tried and we did it. One night on a cold November where the temperature inside the hall with the broken and demolished windows was only 10 degrees Celcius, musicians from Kosova, Macedonia, Albania and their guest colleagues from Germany, USA and Italy performed to the audience of more than 600 people the beautiful orchestral pieces from Bach, Haydn, Barber, Copland and others as well as pieces from Albanian composers.

Although it was so cold, the musicians were dressed properly for the concert atmosphere and the sounds they produced created a warm environment. Thus music heated the hearts and spoke to all those people in one language-the language of love and mutual understanding. It brought courage and hope to the local people to move forward and showed the guests who had come to work in Kosovo the spirit of this people and their dreams to be treated as equal citizens as the other members of the European Countries.

Thus music established the bridges between the people in those moments and they were touched by its meaning. When the concert ended I saw something that I will never forget. All the 600 people raised and applauded and their faces were covered with tears of joy, pain and all the possible emotions that they had experienced in those moments. I will never forget this experience and I say-this is why music is so important. It enriches our lives and makes us feel human-with body and soul.

Today when we are asked to advocate for the importance of music in the schools we can say very simply and sincerely to all those who have doubts: Music is important because it helps us to educate the pupils (the people) to be sensitive and caring. So let us give this chance to music.

12: Why Study Music in School?

12: Why Study Music in School?

Paul R. Lehman

Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Past President, MENC: The National Association for Music Education

Honorary Life Member, International Society for Music Education

Why is music important? Why should every child study music in school? Almost everyone who has made a major contribution to educational thought since Plato has agreed that music should be an integral part of the basic education of every young person. So why are we still trying to answer these questions? Because some people view music not as a subject for serious study but merely as a form of entertainment. Others believe that it can be learned well enough outside school. Still others see value in music but simply don't regard it as a high priority.

Educators generally agree that there are five basic fields of study—mathematics, languages and literature, physical sciences, social studies, and the arts. No one can claim to be educated who does not have a reasonable acquaintance with all five. Every person should have the ability to perform, to create, and to listen to music with understanding. To achieve that end, every student should have access to a comprehensive, balanced, and sequential program of music study in school.

Recent research has suggested that music instruction can have a positive effect on the functioning of the brain in young people and can offer other far-reaching educational and developmental benefits. These results deserve our attention, but the most basic reason for studying music is that music is intrinsically worthwhile. It is valuable in itself. It is important.

Still, not everything that is valuable and important can be included in the school curriculum. Why should music be? There are many reasons. Here are only a few:

1. One of the most fundamental and generally accepted purposes of education has always been to transmit the cultural heritage of a group to succeeding generations. And music is one of the most powerful, the most compelling, and the most glorious manifestations of every cultural heritage. The fundamental and pervasive role that music plays in the entertainment business sometimes blinds people to the even more fundamental and pervasive role that it plays throughout human culture. Because of the central position that music occupies among the core behaviors of human beings, any student who is allowed to leave school without studying music has been cheated just as surely as if he or she had been allowed to leave school without studying mathematics or science.

2. Another purpose of education is to help students to achieve their potential. Musical potential is one of the basic abilities that exist in every person. It can best be developed if study is begun at an early age and continued through adolescence. Anyone whose musical potential remains undeveloped, which happens too often, is deprived of some of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences that life has to offer. Schools should give students opportunities to test the limits of their potential in as many domains of human endeavor as possible. The more such opportunities are available, the more likely it is that students' lives will be as full and rich as possible.

3. We are surrounded by music every day. If we are content to wallow indiscriminately in the superficiality and banality of popular culture, then there may be no need to study music. But just beneath the surface layer of trivial music, to which we are involuntarily exposed on a daily basis, there is a wondrous and incredibly diverse realm of profound and engaging music where, once the barriers of unfamiliarity and bias have been stripped away, exquisite beauty and enjoyment are readily accessible to everyone. The formal study of music can unlock this gate. It can increase the satisfaction that students derive from music by enabling them to understand and enjoy more sophisticated and more complex music. Anyone can "enjoy" music at a rudimentary level, but sequential study can sharpen students' perceptions, raise their levels of appreciation, and expand their musical horizons.

4. One of the things that schools teach implicitly is that every question has a right answer. But outside the school the most important problems facing society seldom have clear-cut answers. These problems do not lend themselves to the formulaic, step-by-step solutions that we are taught to apply in school. Music is different from the other basic disciplines in that it does not reflect a preoccupation with right answers. It tolerates and accommodates the ambiguities with which life is filled. It teaches us to cope with the subjective. In this respect music is more like life itself than are the other disciplines. Music brings a balance to the curriculum that can help to offset what might otherwise be a distorted view of problem-solving in the real world.

5. Every student should have a chance to succeed in something. Music in school can prevent drop-outs by providing opportunities for success for some students who have difficulty with other disciplines in the curriculum. For some students music can make school tolerable. Most music teachers have known students who remained in school solely because of the joy and satisfaction they received from participating in music. Only in music class were their talents appreciated, their contributions respected, and their achievements valued.

6. Most important of all, music exalts the human spirit. It enhances the quality of life. The vast and unique ability of music to improve the quality of life has too often been underemphasized or overlooked entirely in discussions of the value of music study. Music transforms the human experience. It brings joy and pleasure to men, women, and children in every society and every culture. It brings us solace in the ordinary activities of daily life, and it's an indispensable adjunct to both our happiest and our most solemn occasions. It represents one of the most basic instincts in human beings. That's why it has played such a important role in every known civilization. And that's why it will continue to do so as far into the future as anyone can see. The only question is whether we want to limit access to music knowledge and skills to an elite few or whether we want to make them available to everyone to appreciate and enjoy. I hope that the answer is obvious.

I'm tired of excuses from school administrators trying to explain why their schools can't offer good music programs. And the excuse I'm most tired of is the claim that there is not enough time in the school day for music. That's nonsense. Lack of time is a pseudo-problem. It's a false issue. A lack of will is masquerading as a lack of time. There are excellent schools all around us that have no trouble finding time for music and can serve as models. If time is not a problem in school A, why should it be a problem in school B? Of all the resources necessary to run a school, time is the only resource that is allocated with absolute equality to every school everywhere.

Another frequent claim is that the schedule won't allow music instruction. That's equally absurd. Who's running our schools anyway? Is it the schedule, or is it educators? Is our highest priority the schedule, or is it the students? Should we begin with an arbitrary schedule and then try to fit in educational experiences if and when we can? Or should we begin by identifying what we want kids to know and be able to do and then figure out how to make that possible? Again, there are good schools everywhere that have no trouble in scheduling music. We have only to look around us.

When asked to cite their most memorable experiences in school, an extraordinary number of adults as well as students cite musical experiences. They typically describe the electrifying chill that flows up the spine during an exquisitely emotional performance, the uniquely close fellowship that develops with other students in an ensemble, the friendship and mentoring of a particular music teacher, a cherished opportunity to perform a solo, or the magnificent feeling of accomplishment one experiences after overcoming daunting challenges to achieve an ardently sought musical goal. Education is what we have left over when we have forgotten the things we learned in school. Treasured musical experiences are often among the most unforgettable events of our school years and, at the same time, they lay the groundwork for a continuous flow of pleasurable experiences throughout life. Music makes a difference in people's lives.

Perhaps the greatest threat to school music programs today comes from principals and other decision-makers who did not experience challenging and rewarding music programs themselves while in school. They don't realize what a good music program can do for a child, for a school, and for a community. It would be a terrible disservice to society, as well as to the individuals involved, to deprive yet another generation of educational and political leaders of the enormous satisfaction and joy that can come from participation in a high-quality music program.

Advocacy is an activity that music teachers have never sought to engage in but must nevertheless. Our most potent allies are the parents of our students, who are well positioned to bring effective pressure on elected decision-makers. In addition, we must mobilize all of our natural allies at every level in support of strong school music programs. These natural allies include other educators, amateur and professional artists, college and university professors, sympathetic politicians, and graduates of our programs, as well as every group and every individual who considers himself or herself a supporter of the arts.

In many places, the traditional emphasis on humanistic values in education has become badly distorted in recent years as the emphasis has shifted toward short-term, narrowly mechanical objectives. Too often schools have neglected important long-term goals in seeking to achieve fashionable short-term goals. It is not the central purpose of education, for example, to help the student to get a job. A broadly educated person will find a job, but a narrow focus on job training ignores the very skills that employers most desire: the ability to think clearly and the ability to communicate effectively. Employers want workers who are familiar with the five basic fields of study; they prefer to provide their own job-specific training. And the personal skills most valued by employers—creativity, flexibility, discipline, and the ability to work cooperatively with others—are all skills emphasized in music.

Neither is it the purpose of education to prepare students for the manufacture and marketing of consumer goods. Young people must not be treated merely as pawns on the gigantic chessboard of international economic competition. And it is certainly not the purpose of education to prepare students to pass standardized examinations. The larger, true purpose of education is the pursuit of truth and beauty, the development of human capacities, and the improvement of the quality of life. And nothing does more than music to contribute to that purpose. It is shortsighted and misguided to emphasize preparing students to earn a better living at the expense of preparing them to live a better life.

A nation is judged by posterity not by the strength of its army, nor by its trade surpluses and deficits, nor by its students' scores on standardized tests, but principally by its contributions to the arts and humanities. That has been true throughout history, and it has become even more true as we expand our potential for making our beautiful planet uninhabitable through pollution and war. It is the achievements of a civilization in the arts and humanities that remain when everything else is swept away by time.

Music is vitamin M. Music is a chocolate chip in the cookie of life. There is a magic about music. It enables us to express our noblest thoughts and feelings. It engages our imaginations. It provides us with unparalleled opportunities to assert our uniqueness. These are particularly important functions in a world increasingly dominated by electronic technology. Music is not merely an adornment of life; it is a basic manifestation of being human. In insisting that every student have access to a comprehensive, balanced, and sequential program of music study in school, we are merely seeking to give students in all schools the opportunities that are presently given to students in the best schools. A democratic society can settle for nothing less.

9: Music in the Formal School Program

9: Music in the Formal School Program

Jack Heller

Professor Emeritus, School of Music, The University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA

The call for more educational time for "the basics" in schools seems to be growing louder. Of course, most of us agree with this view. But what is considered "basic?" If the inclusion of instruction in music is to be among the basic subjects taught in school, music instruction must be shown to contribute to the general goals of education. Music in the school day can only be justified if the outcomes of such instruction form a part of the overall development sought for all students. What might music education contribute to this development? I will describe three of many possible reasons one might use to justify music's role in education. The first could be labeled cognitive, the second, cultural, and the third, experiential.

In the last decade we have heard much discussion about the benefits of music study to the development of skills and knowledge in subjects other than music; to spatial/temporal intelligence; to health and mental well being; and even to creativity (whatever definition one might want to give to this construct). I believe these reasons for music instruction in the schools are somewhat specious. Even the argument of the ubiquity of music in all societies does not convince me of the need for music instruction in our schools. There are many activities ubiquitous to all societies but we do not normally consider the study of them important for the general educational curriculum. And creativity is not limited to study in the arts. Creativity is coveted by all human inquiry.

So what will serve as a catalyst for enlightening the general public to consider the study of music basic to the school curriculum? First and foremost, I believe music study is basic to the curriculum because music is basic to the human brain. Music teachers immediately embraced the research that became known as the "Mozart Effect" as a means to show how important music instruction is to education. But the research is mixed and the rationale for music's value to other subjects taught in schools is misleading. Even the multiple intelligence theories so touted in recent years (and in earlier decades, by the way) may not be the best reasons for including music instruction as part of the basic curriculum in our schools.

One way to justify the teaching of music in schools (especially in the early years of schooling) is to view music activity (listening/performing) as the Rosetta stone of human communication. Both music and speech require the brain to organize acoustic patterns. Cultures require the brain to construct and interpret rules for using these patterns. Many of these music/speech rules are implicit yet critical to successful musical and linguistic communication.

There is a learning window for certain aspects of language development that opens at birth (or even before) and closes by around the age of ten. Most researchers agree that important language rules are learned by age ten. If the same learning window operates for music (which I believe is the case), the important musical rules are learned by that same age. In speech, practice begins soon after birth. For the human brain to learn music, the practice window must be opened early in life (before the learning window closes). Early music study provides the grounding for meaningful brain pattern organization and problem solving.

Language develops as the newborn child learns to organize abstract acoustic patterns. Language in the infant quickly develops a need to become referential. Since music does not need a referential component I have argued that it (music in its most basic form) develops a capability in the brain prior to language. By "music" I mean the human brain's organization of non-referential acoustic patterns. This brain activity begins shortly after birth, and if it is reinforced (as language is reinforced) it develops into a musical brain. But this musical brain is the same brain that is required to deal with all sorts of complex problems. Early training in musical "language," then, helps the brain learn to differentiate, organize, and order abstract acoustic patterns. The musical brain's ability to solve complex abstract problems efficiently and elegantly contributes to a basic goal of education. We expect our educational system to develop such cognitive processes. This is especially so in the primary grades.

In grades 6 to 12 the study of music takes on added dimensions. First, music study in the middle and upper grades relates more to social and cultural constructs. An important goal at this level is to develop skills and knowledge that allow students to explore and to develop a perspective about great accomplishments of men and women in society (past and present). This includes, but is not limited to music. The curriculum at this level includes studies in government, literature, sciences, mathematics, and so forth. Knowledge in a wide variety of disciplines is a hallmark of the educated person. Of course, music should be part of this literacy.

Second, and perhaps more important in the middle and high school years, is the value inherent in the process of music making, both in individual and group settings. The notion of "practice makes perfect" is valuable across the spectrum of human endeavor, but nowhere is it more transparent than in the realm of music. Teaching students that consistent application and concerted effort leads to improvement and understanding is the stock-in-trade of secondary school education. Further, in a group setting, the value of working to perform together well, to function as a well-oiled machine, to meet the goals of the individual and the group, is enormous. In this way, music leads to great self-fulfillment, a very important concept for schools to teach and students to learn by doing.

Since all human activity requires the ability to construct meaningful patterns in the brain, and since music is an important way to develop such abilities, music instruction should be basic to education. Music study can also contribute to cultural literacy and meaningful participation. For these reasons music education should be central to the school curriculum.

8: The Power of Music

8: The Power of Music

Susan Hallam

Institute of Education, University of London

In 2000, I was commissioned by the Performing Right Society in the UK to undertake a review of research entitled 'The Value of Music'. The purpose of the review was to provide hard evidence of the effects of music to be used as a resource for musicians working in a range of areas who needed to justify funding for a variety of musical activities. The necessity for such a resource had become apparent as the place of music in the school curriculum, the provision of instrumental music lessons, funding for community music and the arts in general had come under threat from policy makers. On completion of the review it became apparent that the proposed title was inadequate to reflect the immense impact of music in our lives and the final document was entitled 'The Power of Music'. It is available on the World Wide Web at www.thepowerofmusic.co.uk. This advocacy statement is based, in part, on the findings of that review but also on my own experiences as a professional performing musician, a music educator, and a researcher into learning and performance in music. Outlined below are some of the key areas where music benefits humankind beyond its value in providing pleasure, stimulation and solace.

Individual skill development - Making music utilises a great many skills and elicits a wide range of responses, more perhaps than any other human activity. Participating in making music requires the development of aural, intellectual, physical, emotional, communication and musical skills in addition to high levels of commitment, motivation and organisation. The immediate time frame within which music is performed also elicits very high levels of concentration.

Responses to music - The responses of human beings to music go beyond 'sound'. Music can be experienced physiologically (e.g. changes in heart rate); through movement; through mood and emotion; and cognitively (through knowledge and memories, which may be personal, or related to the music itself, e.g. its style or period). The fact that music is processed multiply and has physical, emotional and cognitive effects may be the key to its power.

The functions of music in society - Music has an important role to play in the functioning of society and has had for many thousands of years. No human culture appears to be without music. Singing, in particular, seems to be universal. Music is invariably expressed in relation to religion, celebrations and dance. It forms a part of all major occasions and celebrations, including weddings, funerals, pageants, rites of passage and festivals. It is also involved in the human preoccupation with seeking altered states of consciousness as part of ritual, individual day dreaming, prayer, meditation or drug use.

Communication - In most cultures, music serves to assist in the process of increasing communication and enabling people to function together more effectively. It provides a means of expressing a wide variety of human feelings, love, sadness and a sense of belonging which people sometimes find difficult to verbalise. Making music and sharing its meanings within a culture or particular environment leads to cohesion and the strengthening of social unity. It can be a powerful means of maintaining the continuity and stability of societies through folk music and songs which give accounts of myths and legends and record important events.

The anti-establishment role of music – Music can allow the expression of an identity which is counter to societal norms. In some cases, it can be a powerful tool for change. It can play an important role in unifying and exemplifying solidarity in those who are challenging societal norms and practices.

Music in our everyday lives - Throughout the 20th century, the development of the electronic media revolutionised access to and use of music. We can turn on the radio, play a CD or tape, or listen to music on video or TV with very little effort. Prior to these developments, music was only accessible for most people if they made it themselves or attended particular religious or social events. Now, people 'consume' music at an enormous rate. It has become an integral part of our everyday lives in a way which would have been unthinkable 100 years ago.

Music in art - In addition to the value of music as an art form in its own right, music has always played an important role in the theatre, TV, films and video. Many great cinematic moments appear meaningless without the accompanying music.

The music industry - Music is a substantial economic generator of income in most developed countries employing many thousands of people. To sustain this requires a supply of musicians, not only to perform, but to undertake those many tasks behind the scenes which nevertheless require high levels of musical expertise.

Music and medicine – Music has been used to support health education, reduce anxiety and pain in medicine and dentistry, increase relaxation, improve recovery rates, stimulate the immune system, support rehabilitation after brain damage, help children with progressive neuromuscular disorders, improve co-ordination and difficulties in movement, reduce the negative effects of Alzheimer's disease, tend the complex physical and spiritual needs of the dying, and help people work through grief and depression.

The effects of music on early development - Music can support the development of gross and fine motor activities, language skills, some aspects of somato-sensory co-ordination, some cognitive behaviours, and encourage sucking and promote weight gain in babies, particularly those born prematurely or underweight. Musical interactions between mother and baby help develop bonds of communication and facilitate speech development.

Personal and social development - There are demonstrable positive effects of involvement with music on childrens' personal and social development, particularly for low ability, disaffected pupils and those of low economic status. There is also some evidence that involvement in music can increase social inclusion.

Music for all - Increasingly musical opportunities are being created to enhance the quality of the lives of those who have aural impairments, learning difficulties, and autism. Music has also been used to support the learning of children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Music, commerce, advertising and work - Music has always played a major part in our work activities being used to co-ordinate movement, alleviate boredom, develop team spirit and speed up the pace of work. Nowadays, the commercial and industrial uses of music constitute major industries. Music is a major component of consumer marketing. It is effective in enhancing the appeal of products and in promoting memory for them. It has also been used to manipulate consumers shopping, eating and drinking habits. The type of music we listen to may also be able to predict consumer behaviour. Ratings of the depressive content of the most popular songs in the USA have also predicted gross national product with a one to two year time lead.


Most people hear music for substantial proportions of time each day. It plays a major part in our everyday lives and has major benefits in relation to our well-being and development. It is unthinkable, therefore, that it should not be studied by young people within compulsory education systems. In addition, the demand for music continues to increase. To support this, young people need to be provided with opportunities to acquire the necessary skills to work in the music industry.

Further reading: The full report is available on the web at www.thepowerofmusic.co.uk or free in hard copy from The Performing Right Society, 29/33 Berners St, London W1T 3AB

6: Belonging, Being, and Promoting Music in Education

6: Belonging, Being, and Promoting Music in Education

J. Terry Gates

Music teachers have great influence at the community level. No other group of musicians has the motivation, the knowledge, and the "reach" in advocacy terms that music teachers have through the community's children and young people. In communities where music is diverse, strong, and vibrant, there is often a music teacher guiding the way. We should seek out these colleagues and study their approaches. And we should honor them. These colleagues are insightful about music in their community's culture and intelligent about how they use their knowledge of music from other places and times to expand the community's musical resources. What ideas make this possible for everyone to do?

This essay is about the personal and cultural values that support intelligent music advocacy. It is intended to encourage all music teachers to strengthen the musical life of their own communities by looking briefly and frankly at what we know about belonging to a social group and being individually human through music.

Some basic ideas

Music is one of the permanent, pervasive features of being human. People will always find and create music that contributes effectively to the quality of their individual and collective lives - in daily living and in the cultural rituals that are important to maintaining their societies. Weak music is easily discarded and replaced by other music when the resources don't support the need; and people everywhere have found free or inexpensive resources for making interesting, effective and satisfying music on their own.

Besides music, such things as language and quantification (number systems) are also pervasive. The specifics of language, number, and music are diverse from place to place, and they change over time in the same place. But their importance is never in doubt. The detailed characteristics of specific languages, number systems, and musical traditions become cultural markers, evidence that someone belongs to a social or ethnic group. People "belong" by claiming possession of specific cultural markers, learning to use them both naturally (simply by growing up and living in the culture) and through schooling.

Education is also a permanent part of human life, like music, number, and language. And, here, we need to define education: Education is any deliberate attempt to guide the learning of another person, regardless of where or with whom this activity occurs. Schools are special places where education can occur, and where attempts both to guide and accelerate learning are deliberate and systematic. Schooling is a special kind of education, in this definition.

Learning, however, occurs both in and beyond schools - we learn on our own as well as through the deliberate attempts of others to accelerate and guide our learning. Musicallearning occurs with and without schooling. Teaching occurs not only by professional teachers but also by family members, peers and others.

Belonging to a social group is critical to most humans. Belonging depends upon one's learning in and of the group's culture. It is the need to belong that accelerates an individual's learning of their culture's materials and processes, including the group's musical culture. In both informal and formal ways, the social group uses its culture to educate its members, and the group's leaders (including family caregivers) know how important the culture is to social unity, integration, and control.

Music belongs in the education of children and young people for the same reasons that language and number do - to expand and solidify each person's sense of belonging to the social group and contributing to the culture on which the society depends for its claim to uniqueness and unity.

Being and belonging in the information age

The information age is here, and it places new demands on the time-tested ideas above. More than ever before, people have access to the musical traditions of societies other than their own, and policy makers are concerned that music is beginning to lose its power to unify people within a society and separate them from other groups. Because people have almost unlimited access to what others value musically, they can also absorb the realization that it is human to create and to preserve music. This helps us to look past our differences because we now can know that valuing music is something that people from all societies do. Actions based on people's need for music bind us in a global village of musical people. We sense this now.

When societies were isolated from each other, schooling could be used to preserve the boundaries between societies and to certify that the graduates of the school were members of the society that supports the school. But, because we are in the information age, people now have the resources to "hear into" another person's value system through the music valued by these other people. Children sense that this is increasingly important and interesting to do. Children of the 21st century still need to take full possession of and to contribute effectively to their own musical cultures - to belong. In the information age they can also understand that other children have the same need, too.

Security in being and belonging

Here is where music teachers can focus much of their efforts. Schooling is about belonging. For most people, belonging to a specific society through its culture is what schools promote and what a broad education is all about. If a person's possession of a "home" musical culture is secure - if one's sense of belonging is strong - then a willingness to tolerate difference increases. This security is increased even more if a person effectively contributes to the diverse "home" musical culture. Through deliberate schooling in music, we can strengthen each child's contributions to the "home" culture and, in addition, to value diversity and understand it as human rather than to fear difference.

Most of the recent philosophical literature about music is about being through music, and readers can easily find such writings. That literature reminds us that a life simply includes music if it is to be more fully human.

Becoming mature, being whole, feeling fulfilled, being "wide-awake" or fully in touch with one's environment, expanding one's cognitive and physical capacities, becoming more effective and confident, expressing one's insights and affective states through music - all of these and more rely on music and other resources to contribute to an individual's sense of being. If a person were alone, making music on an island, music still provides these kinds of personal benefits.

Being fully human, however, is inherently social - we are genetically social animals. As individuals we act on our sociality in many ways, including musical ones. We "compare notes" musically by revealing our musical insights, and by sharing and receiving personal musical resources and benefits like those above we integrate our lives with the lives of other individuals. We grow from this, not only as individuals, but also as part of a collective through which our individual powers become magnified. We need other people, and being human is ultimately a matter also of belonging. Being and belonging are reciprocal, inseparable states; they are yin and yang in human life.


So … what's the problem?

If music is ubiquitous, and if we know that music is basic to being human, and if the information age is changing schooling in music, what can support teachers who need to be music advocates? And what general ideas, therefore, would help them be effective?

Advocates generally sense that there is a gap or a problem in a current set of conditions and they have an idea about how that gap could be filled or the problem solved. Conventional music advocacy (including much government-sponsored music teaching) is about providing advantages for some specific set of defined traditions with "approved" examples and "best" practices. This is understandable. Advocates logically must focus on music more narrowly than ordinary people do in their musical lives. Music's general importance is not promoted by most advocates, partly because it is assumed and partly because music advocates have to focus their efforts on specific goals rather than general ones so that their claims to success have validity.

To most music advocates the "gap" in resources seems artificial. A governing body is attempting to create an artificial culture, or is trying to preserve one that is no longer meaningful. In some parts of the world, "school music" is seen as artificial; in other parts, the musical walls of the school are (gratefully) more permeable. As we have noted above, at the grassroots, people are very good at closing any artificial gaps they see in their musical lives, and policy makers who have attempted to control musical diversity too much have been replaced sooner or later.

The mistake most music advocates usually make is to attach their proposals for improving a community's musical resources to one or two favored musical traditions, rather than to musical expertise in general. Music advocates take up the cause of a few musical traditions in opposition to the rest in order to show others that they are reaching their goals. This is an attempt to control and simplify, rather than liberate and diversify.

An advocacy program that seeks to limit musical options may have some short-term successes. But, because people (including our students) are human beings, and because they need music that contributes both to being and belonging, they will find and create musical options for themselves with or without schools, governing bodies, or music teachers if necessary.

As music teachers, we can be more powerful advocates for the community resources if we focus our advocacy on support for musical expertise in our students - effective skills, expanded cognitive capacities, well-considered values, and vibrant musical experiences. The first priority of music teachers is to create in our students a personal musical expertise that is powerful, liberating, creative, and mature so that they can contribute to their own musical cultures. The second is to be advocates for what our students need in order to make that happen, and in the current age, this includes musical diversity.

As advocates, music teachers should no longer worry whether music is important and wonderful: We should merely assume it and draw strength from that realization. Then, we can move the next generation into the rich musical life within and beyond their time and place, teaching our students powerfully and improving their communities' musical resources because our students need good resources to grow musically. If we do this well, the future will be more musical wherever we are. Our students will grow to be parents and community leaders who will create healthy musical lives in their families and the communities of the future.