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ERIC Number: EJ1154744
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1063-5734
The Phantasmagoria of Competition in School Ensembles
Abramo, Joseph Michael
Philosophy of Music Education Review, v25 n2 p150-170 2017
Participation in competition festivals--where students and ensembles compete against each other for high scores and accolades--is a widespread practice in North American formal music education. In this article, I use Marx's theories of labor, value, and phantasmagoria to suggest a capitalist logic that structures these competitions. Marx's theories might suggest that one of musical performance's educational use-values is its function as a representation of the labor of musical learning. Competitions reward the hiding of this use-value by privileging performances that conceal the labor of musical learning. In hiding this use-value, the performance's exchange-value, or "price," is increased by gaining a higher score. In this way, competitions are phantasmagoric: they conceal learning within the performance in thrall of the exchange-value of a high score. Despite these flaws in competitions, educators and students might exploit competition festivals' value of coming together and comparing learning with others. Rather than retreating from competition festivals, educators might transform them by imagining renewed practices where students and educators come together to share their learning through performance, listening, and dialogue.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A