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ERIC Number: EJ1016440
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Sep
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1545-4517
The Promise and Practice of Pragmatism-Based Music Education in Democratic Societies
Goble, J. Scott
Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, v12 n2 p8-19 Sep 2013
In his book, "What's So Important about Music Education?" (2010), Goble J. Scott argues from a foundation of C. S. Peirce's pragmatist philosophy that school music education that enables students to understand and engage with the musical practices (or "praxes") of different cultural communities in terms of their pragmatic efficacy--that is, taking into account their personal, social, and political effects and the way they are conceptualized by those who engage with them--could have extraordinarily positive benefits for those students and the democratic societies in which they live (264-276). He regards these potential benefits as representing the promise of pragmatism-based music education, and emphasizes that at present, music education curricula in the public or state-funded schools of modern democratic nations are not presently oriented toward fostering students' consideration of different musical practices in terms of their psychological benefits or social effects in communities. In this article, Goble explains that instruction on what makes different musics meaningful in their cultural contexts is limited in the largely performance oriented classes of most schools. Yet culturally distinctive musical practices continue to be undertaken for specific pragmatic purposes in different communities throughout the world. Religious, artistic, nationalistic, commercial, and entertainment purposes among them--and awareness and recognition of the effects of different musical practices in these contexts and exploring the way people conceptualize them there is necessary for grasping fully their human importance. By enabling students to experience and understand how different musical practices have efficacy for particular individuals and/or communities in particular places and at particular points in time, Goble suggests that people might serve to foster intercultural understanding among them. The clear benefit of such a practice would be the gradual development of a musically and culturally knowledgeable citizenry, one in which cultural differences are more broadly understood and where the social effects and societal importance of particular musics are widely recognized. Goble closes by arguing that the promise of pragmatism-based music education for fostering intercultural understanding and benefiting the health of democratic societies is extraordinary.
MayDay Group. Brandon University School of Music, 270 18th Street, Brandon, Manitoba R7A 6A9, Canada. Tel: 204-571-8990; Fax: 204-727-7318; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A