1st Edition

What’s So Important About Music Education?

ISBN 9780415533683
Published January 4, 2011 by Routledge
338 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations

USD $49.95

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Book Description

What’s So Important About Music Education? presents a new philosophy of music education for the United States, rooted in history and current perspectives from ethnomusicology. J. Scott Goble explores the societal effects of the nation's foundations in democracy and capitalism, the constitutional separation of church and state, and the rise of recording, broadcast, and computer technologies. He shows how these and other factors have brought about changes in the ways music teachers and concerned others have conceptualized music and its importance in education. In demonstrating how many of the personal and societal benefits of musical engagement have come to be obscured in the nation’s increasingly diverse public forum, Goble argues for the importance of musical engagement in human life and for the importance of music in education. An ideal text for courses in music education foundations, the book concludes with recommendations for teaching the musical practices of the nation's cultural communities in schools in terms of their respective cultural meanings.

Table of Contents

1. Music as an Academic Subject in the Public Schools of the United States: An Inherent Cultural Tension  2. "Culture," "Worldview," and Pragmatism: The Philosophy and Semiotic of Charles Sanders Peirce  3. A Pragmatic Conception of Musical Practices: "Music" as a Sign of Worldview  4. Conceptions of Music in the United States  5. A Brief Historical Survey of Concepts of Music in Music Education in the United States  6. Community, Autonomy, and Music Education in the Postmodern United States: Summary and Recommendations

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J. Scott Goble is a musician, teacher, scholar, and conductor who has presented lectures, classes, and workshops and conducted choirs and orchestras throughout North America. He is Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of British Columbia.


"What’s So Important About Music Education? is a thoroughly engaging, insightful, and detailed exploration of the history, philosophy, and significance of music education . . . This is unquestionably a valuable book that every serious music student, teacher, and school administrator should read.  . . . Truly admirable and inspiring.  . . . Goble has presented a new – and perhaps even inevitable – direction for American music schools in the twenty-first century. Let us hope that the nation’s music educators, as well as the general public, will embrace and choose to strongly support Goble’s challenge. It is a positive and essential change that our democratic society truly deserves."
– Ernest Kramer, Teachers College Record

"A rich text that seeks to address some of the most difficult questions in music education. Its primary purpose of promoting intercultural understanding is deeply admirable, its superb organization and range of ideas make it a most compelling book . . . Although written for music educators in the United States, it will just as easily be of interest to readers from other countries with diverse communities."
– Leonard Tan, Philosophy of Music Education Review

"For me, dedicated to the historicity of disciplinarity, Goble’s study . . . of the intellectual history of music education in the United States . . . is exemplary."
– William Pinar, Conversations on Curriculum & Pedagogy

"Goble . . . provides a philosophical, historical, pragmatic study of the public school music curriculum as it relates to the new diverse student population.  This resource gives readers a perspective on the development of past curricula and provides them with guidance going forward.  . . . Recommended [for] graduate students, researchers, and professionals."
– V. S. Xenakis, Choice