Music Education in England, 1950-2010 The Child-Centred Progressive Tradition
John Finney examines the child-centred progressive tradition to create a fresh way of evaluating ideas and practices that have evolved since 1950, that have shaped the lives of music teachers and their pupils, and that have now become disfigured, residual and altogether lost in the light of social, cultural and political change. The book is a critique of the present situation with an intention to expose the dangers in our current pursuit of future gains that are thought to serve the making and sustaining of the social order. The project draws in major debates of the period, along with their protagonists, counter-pointed by the voices of teachers and pupils. At the same time, the structuring voices of policy and governance become ever louder as we reach the present time. Finney presents a compelling, analytical account through a series of six episodes, each seeking to capture the spirit and fervour characteristic of a particular phase within the period studied. In the concluding chapter the narrative developed is reviewed. From this the idea of music education as an ethical pursuit is proposed. Finney argues that classroom relationships can be thought of as playfully dialogic, where teacher and pupil remain curious, and where there is serious attention to what is to be taught and why. This will always need to be negotiated, with the expressed and inferred needs of children working together to find a critical approach to what is being learnt. Finney's book provides fresh inspiration for practitioners and new challenges for researchers, and as such is a landmark in the field of arts and music education.
'Make no mistake, this is a very important book which deserves the widest possible readership. Ashgate Publishing are to be commended for yet another impressive addition to their catalogue... This should be compulsory reading for all those in and all those entering the profession. This book is full of powerfully good ideas which could substantially improve the teaching and learning of music in our schools.' http://www.teachingmusic.org.uk 'This is a book distinguished by original thinking and fresh ideas... required reading for anyone - everyone - involved in music education and its future.' Music Teacher 'This wonderful book - wise, provocative and passionate - interweaves an account of classroom-based music education in England since the 1950s with Finney’s own professional autobiography.' Educational Review 'This is a timely and well-written book that, although it describes music education in the UK, offers much insight into Australian practices. Too often we are unaware of the ideas and forces that have shaped our daily practice. The more we are aware of our past, the better we are prepared and supported in our present.' Australian Journal of Music Education 'The ’ownership’ of music education continues to be fluid and contested. Finney’s achievement in this book is in revealing the significance of this. In giving us some mechanisms by which to consider - and even, perhaps, influence - the shape of things to come, he has enabled us to try to answer the question he poses at the beginning of his account: ’The future of class music! There was one, but what was it to be?' Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland