M y  v i e w  o f  m u s i c  e d u c a t i o n

Music education is an education in community.

People need the opportunity to experience something bigger than themselves.  Through communal music-making, students get the chance to do something that reinforces important concepts such as cooperation, sharing and acceptance of others.  Furthermore, they are allowed to participate in something that is truly impossible without the aid of others.  After all, a choir of one voice isnt really much of a choir!

 

Music education is an education in individuality.

While building community, music education also celebrates the individual contribution of each person.  Music is one of the rare disciplines that values and even demands the uniqueness of each childs' gifts.  Students are able to witness how their own voice, style, and technique color an overall musical product.  Participation in a musical ensemble is an intersection of individual creativity and team responsibility.

 

Music education is an education in growth. 

The definition of success in music education is as varied as the people we teach.  While some students are born musicians, others struggle with the most basic musical concepts. Music education celebrates progress as much as it lauds the results.  In that way, success is constant.  Music education affords students invaluable opportunities in the development of their self-esteem and confidence.

 

Music education is an education in discipline. 

Achievement in music does not come without hard work.  Music education provides a wonderful opportunity to teach concepts of determination, fortitude and drive.  Unlike many other disciplines, the rewards of diligent work in music education are often immediately apparent to both performer and audience.  A self-made product of fine music is itself a very fulfilling incentive.

 

Music education is an education in doing. 

Students spend an overwhelming amount of classroom time stuck behind desks.  Music education provides students with wonderful opportunities to dance, sing, and play. Music-making of any kind, from vocalization to the strumming of a guitar, is structured physical activity, and as such, is a very effective way to supplement a traditional cognitive teaching style.  In addition, musical activities reinforce physical dexterity, control of one's body, and even develop endurance and strength.

 

Music education is an education in listening.

In order to evaluate musical activity, we teach students to assess the sounds they produce, as well as the music of other performers.  We encourage our student-musicians to listen as often as we energize and motivate them to sing and play.  Teaching students the art of listening has far-reaching results beyond its musical context. It promotes a general increase of perceptive ability and develops their musical intuition and personal taste.

 

Music education is an education in thinking. 

Similar to math or science, music affords students many cognitive opportunities.  From the physics of sound to the organizational structure of meter and harmony, there are countless avenues of cognitive exploration within music education.  Music education sparks as much thought or debate as any chemistry or literature course.  The study of music reinforces critical-thinking skills, which bleed into other disciplines, resulting in more insightful musicians and thinkers.

 

Music education is an education in feeling. 

Human beings are an inherently expressive species.  Music is a primal recourse for expression... in essence, we are hard-wired to be musical.  Through music education, we give our children the opportunity to engage and learn about this universal form of expression.  We allow them to experience with full force the power and potential music affords.  

Copyright M. Erpelding, 2020