Toward a Rationale for Music Education in the Public School Context Framed with both Progressive and Essentialist Considerations: Operationalizing the Ideas of William Chandler Bagley

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In music education, aesthetic education and praxial music education serve as two major, guiding philosophical frameworks, yet supporters of each often conflict with one another. Furthermore, both are slightly problematic with respect to the specific context of the public school. Each framework is primarily music-based, however, music education has existed in the wider context of general education since the 1830s. Given the recent core-status designation for music education, as part of all fine arts, in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a framework from general education that supported music education could offer benefits for the domain. However, ... continued below

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Price, Benjamin J. May 2016.

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  • Price, Benjamin J.

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In music education, aesthetic education and praxial music education serve as two major, guiding philosophical frameworks, yet supporters of each often conflict with one another. Furthermore, both are slightly problematic with respect to the specific context of the public school. Each framework is primarily music-based, however, music education has existed in the wider context of general education since the 1830s. Given the recent core-status designation for music education, as part of all fine arts, in the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a framework from general education that supported music education could offer benefits for the domain. However, the wider context of general education is messy as well. Two groups occupy most of the space there, and remain locked in a fundamental disagreement over the purpose of a formal education. The progressive educators, historically framed by Dewey and Thorndike, contend that education functions as societal improvement. In contrast, the essentialists contend that education functions as cultural transmission. Therefore, a more specific need for music education involves selecting a framework from general education that resolves this conflict. The writings of William Chandler Bagley indicate that he balanced both considerations of a formal education while also advancing his notion of essentialism. Bagley differed from the progressive educators predominately associated with Dewey over definitions and ideas surrounding a democratic education. Emergent points of contrast with Thorndike include distinctions between social efficiency and Bagley's alternative idea of social progress. Bagley also diverged from other essentialists over definitions concerning liberal and cultural education. To make these viewpoints of Bagley explicit, I describe characteristics of a progressive education, and an essentialist education separately, before introducing Bagley. Finally, I apply Bagley's ideas into the domain of music education. Ultimately, I contend that through common outcomes of creativity, competition, and literacy, the domain of music education can remain securely grounded in the values within the public schools.

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  • May 2016

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  • June 28, 2016, 4:28 p.m.

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  • July 25, 2016, 12:18 p.m.

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Price, Benjamin J. Toward a Rationale for Music Education in the Public School Context Framed with both Progressive and Essentialist Considerations: Operationalizing the Ideas of William Chandler Bagley, dissertation, May 2016; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc849619/: accessed July 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .