>> teach // a philosophical rationale for secondary music education

When I was preparing to become a music educator, I saw it fit to put to paper what I saw as an ideal, broad-based musical education at the secondary school level. These have become my guiding principles and is in every way a flexible document that allows me to adjust certain criteria in order to meet the needs of my current students. I now post it here, with humility:

Gloria Kiester, a noted advocate of music education, stated in the summer 1990 edition of The Saxophone Symposium that in order to completely comprehend and understand the world, a combination of linear and holistic thinking is required. She claims that the study of music develops holistic thinking, which in turn leads to hypotheses, metaphors, and ambiguity, all of which are elements essential to emotion, imagination, and creativity.

Frames of Mind by noted scholar Howard Gardner discusses the theory of multiple intelligences, which supports the notion that each individual possesses distinct forms of intelligence. He suggests that musical intelligence is an autonomous process that is separate from other "intelligences". He further stated in an article published by the American School Board Journal in January 1997 that musical intelligence probably carries more emotional, spiritual and cultural weight than the other intelligences.

Paul R Lehman, professor emeritus at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor affirmed the value of a sound musical education in an article published by the International Society for Music Education. "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."

I have envisioned the following aims as necessary to maximize the benefits of a musical education for each student:

The recognition of music as a vital and necessary part of a comprehensive education.

The identification of music-making as a unique form of communication and a relevant performance medium.

The cultivation of school-wide interest in music and the egalitarian participation of the school community-at-large in musical activity.

The expansion of musical literacy as a function of life-long music-making by way of studying the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, expression, form, ear-training, sight-reading and performance.

The appreciation of music, its ability to convey meaning to our lives, its function in historical, multicultural and societal contexts, and its significance in liturgical and spiritual application.

The promotion of creative and critical thinking through the use of active musical decision-making.

The perception of music as a vehicle for personal enrichment and creative self-expression through performance, interpretation, conducting, improvisation, and composition.

The development of positive social, team, and life skills acquired as a result of the responsibility, discipline, commitment, dedication and participation required in musical activity.

The enjoyment of learning to play a musical instrument, to sing together, to laugh with one another, and to share musical experiences - in short, to have fun!

The achievement of musical excellence through the synthesis of these stated aims.


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