Tuesday, December 25, 2007

of music education

Despite that school teaching and I mutually agreed we weren’t a good fit, since graduating with an undergrad music ed degree I have maintained an interest in music education - admittedly, sometimes only because I find myself so critical of how it is done.

Anyway, a Christmas gift I got this year was the first volume of Choksy’s “The Kodály Method”. Apparently this was the modern genesis of the idea that music is integral to education.

I have at times thought this idea to be overly “romanticizing” music’s importance. After all, does being able to clap rhythms get any non-musicians a job? If you were stranded on a desert island and had to survive, would music be of much assistance there?

But the more I have thought about it, the more I arrive at ideas like, “if I were stranded on a desert island, there is very little that I ever learned in school that would help me to survive.” Knowing multiplication tables does not provide food or shelter any more than singing a scale in tune does!

I guess the question really is, “what is the purpose of school education?” In the sense that school education is designed to inculturate children, then music education certainly is integral to a curriculum, as are PE and all those other “easy” classes that so many found to be a warm refuge from the oppressiveness of, say, math and literature.

I think Spe salvi hit on a topic that ought to be discussed far beyond the subject of religion: what, precisely, constitutes this idea of “progress”? I love technology, and if it helps us to live longer and/or to mitigate physical pain or to communicate more easily, then great, but why are those things termed “progress”?

Progress toward what?

As to music education, I have “re-become” a convert to the idea of its integrality in a school curriculum, insofar as music is part of our culture, and we owe it to future generations to teach it to them.


At Thursday, December 27, 2007 12:22:00 PM, Blogger Dad29 said...



Education should be all about the permanent things.

The mis-definition of "progress" is the Mythology/Philosophy of the Darwinists.

At Thursday, December 27, 2007 3:38:00 PM, Anonymous Klaus der Große said...

To expand on dad29's point....

The materially useful is always a subordinate category; the freedom of man to pursue true happiness by contemplating and participating in the eternal things is a much higher value. In this world, of course, the material needs of man are not obtained without effort, hence Aristotle's famous dictum (in the felicitous formulation of Josef Pieper): "We are not-at-leisure [i.e., we work] in order to be-at-leisure." Work is by no means denigrated, yet it is not the highest value.

Education properly understood is the intellectual formation of a person, considered as a whole and without limitation to one specific goal or task. It considers both one's ability to work at a job, contribute materially to society, and obtain the means for living, and also one's knowledge of the paths that lead into contemplation of the eternal things. Music is, quite obviously, one of the latter, and is absolutely necessary to true education.

At Friday, December 28, 2007 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Dad29 said...

Jah, mein Herr.

See also the article in NRO featured by Fr. Zuhlsdorf, in which B-16 elaborates on the necessity of Art in worship.


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