Introduction and Commentary: Music Education and the Role of Music in People's Lives

Graham F. Welch and Gary E. McPherson

in The Oxford Handbook of Music Education, Volume 1

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199730810
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Introduction and Commentary: Music Education and the Role of Music in People's Lives

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This article discusses several key themes. First, individual musical abilities deepen and develop over time when humans are exposed to an appropriate nurturing environment. These experiences can be the result of formal learning environments or various kinds of informal exposure to music. Second, the article explains that music is basic to human design. Even so, musical experiences of any kind are shaped not only by sonic interactions within particular sociocultural contexts, but also by individual subjectivity, maturation, and individual life-events. Third, it shows that not all music education is positive or enabling, and that some people report negative experiences which live with them throughout their lives. Finally, and given the context that millions of individuals around the world sing or perform on an instrument in various contexts every day of the year, the article discusses how individuals come to feel competent or incompetent musically, connected or disconnected with others when engaged with music, and empowered or otherwise to take responsibility for their own decisions concerning music and the place it will have in their daily lives.

Keywords: musical abilities; musical experience; music education; human design; music exposure; empowerment; personal connection

Article.  7066 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Music Education and Pedagogy

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