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Aesthetic Justifications for Music Education: a Theoretical Examination of Their Usefulness

Description: Justifications for music education have been studied only by examining historical trends in statements of aesthetic versus utilitarian values, and not from the perspective of evaluating the justifications' usefulness. A number of prominent writers in the music education field, while supporting aesthetic values as important for music education, have expressed doubts about the effectiveness of aesthetic justifications when used for convincing outsiders of the importance of music in the public school curriculum. These doubts, along with a preponderance of aesthetic justifications in the recent music education literature, led to the present study, which conducted a theoretical examination of the usefulness of aesthetic justifications for music education. The study addressed three research problems, namely: (1) the attitudes of the clientele groups of the public schools in terms of their values toward music as a subject in the schools; (2) the attitudes of the groups within the music education profession in terms of their values for music in the public schools and for the profession itself; and 3) the likelihood that justifications based upon "aesthetics" as a system of values would be accepted by the groups both inside arid outside the music education profession. A philosophical-sociological perspective was chosen for the theoretical analysis because the problems of the study concern the manner in which values are accepted or rejected by groups of people. The particular sociological theory chosen combined the symbolic interaction theory of George Herbert Mead and the sociology of knowledge as described by Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann. Conclusions: Problems arise in justifying music education using aesthetic theory because (1) the symbolic universe of aesthetic theory is complex and is not well-understood by music educators or the clientele of the public schools; and (2) aesthetic theory represents gestures of a reference group with norms and values not usually found in ...
Date: December 1988
Creator: Paul, Stephen John
Partner: UNT Libraries