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ERIC Number: EJ804698
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 31
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 84
ISSN: ISSN-1545-4517
Musical Improvisation as Action: An Arendtian Perspective
Kanellopoulos, Panagiotis
Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, v6 n3 p97-127 Nov 2007
A basic premise of this essay is that music education practice is a form of--a broadly conceived notion of--political practice insofar as it creates situations where specific meanings are produced, attitudes built, identities shaped, and hierarchies of musical and social values constructed. Every music education practice expresses, and at the same time constructs, particular conceptions of the meaning of music, of concrete musical practices and their interrelationships. It also plays a significant role in the construction of particular relationships between music and wider cultural practices. Music education teaches children how to "order" sound by "ordering" the body. It creates a wide range of hierarchical relationships among participants in the educational processes; among different modes of musical experience; among various forms of musical knowledge; and among different musical practices. But music education "transforms social hierarchies into academic hierarchies" not only through its various institutional configurations, but also through the minute actions that constitute learning, creating, and performing music. Adopting this perspective as a starting point, the author addresses the political character and the political role of improvisation as a vehicle for constructing particular modes of human agency, of human relationship, and of relationships among children, music, and knowledge. This essay seeks to construct a view of improvisational practice as a kind of political or communicative "action," in the sense given to these terms by Hannah Arendt (1906-1975). Drawing parallels between improvisation and Arendt's "revelatory and aesthetic concept of action"--describing, in other words, the experience of improvisation as a practice that is based on principles that parallel those of Arendtian action--might help construct a theoretical perspective on the role improvisation might play within music education practices actively concerned with the advancement of the democratic imperative: practices committed to the pursuit of freedom, equity, and plurality. (Contains 24 notes.)
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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