David J. Elliott

in Praxial Music Education

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780195385076
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865512 | DOI:

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In his 1995 book Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education, David Elliott offers a comprehensive challenge to traditional aesthetic philosophies of music education and an in-depth analysis of curriculum theory, daringly proposing to root music, and thus music education, in actual circumstances of musical praxis. His critique of the abstract, atomistic content and isolated skills of the conventional objectives-oriented and structure-of-the discipline approaches to music curriculum drew upon and thus reflected the most recent trends in curriculum theory in the early 1990s. This chapter examines the three dominant philosophical traditions that have had direct consequences for both general education and music education — idealism, realism, and neoscholasticism — and, in particular, for the current obsession of both with standards and for what in North America, at least, has been dubbed “music education as aesthetic education”. After mentioning certain aspects of these traditions that may have subtle echoes in Elliott's praxial philosophy, alternative philosophies of more recent vintage are considered.

Keywords: music curriculum; curriculum theory; aesthetic education; idealism; realism; neoscholasticism; praxis

Chapter.  16974 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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