Personal Philosophy of Music Education
Music is innately human. In every human culture, throughout every period of history, and across every geographical location, music, in one form or another, has been an important part of human expressivity and cultural identity. An education in music provides students with an experience that will help them connect to and stimulate their expressivity, augment their aesthetic understanding, and create more empathetic individuals. Musical experience can enable children to further appreciate, explore, and perform music in their personal lives outside the bounds of the classroom. No child should be denied the opportunity to experience music throughout his/her public school education; doing so would hinder the opportunity for a child to experience significant growth across many dimensions of their life.
Music is everywhere. Beyond expression and aesthetics alone, in our modern culture of ubiquitous music, encountered in grocery stores, on the radio, on television, in movies, on personal listening devices, or even greeting cards, music education allows students to better comprehend what they are perceiving, therefore creating more discerning consumers and producers of music. As a result, these students will be able to better articulate the principles of music, and even more importantly, the value of music and the arts to the world, with the hope of preventing the creation of a culturally ignorant society. Being able to comprehend and interpret music is a gratifying tool that all students can utilize throughout their entire life, regardless of their future vocation.
The value of an education in music extends far beyond any band, orchestra, or chorus room, or any practice room or concert hall. Students generally perceive and recollect information through a variety of learning styles: visual, kinesthetic, and auditory. Music presents ideals found within all components of a school curriculum within a different context and through a different medium, incorporating a combination of the three major learning styles in the process. The combination of an aesthetic environment, bodily engagement, and note reading and pattern recognition with focus on accuracy and detail provides students with a truly unique opportunity for cognitive development, and, additionally, the prospect to become more efficient and organized learners.
In group settings, music requires students to be individually accountable for the success of others. If they are not musically proficient or prepared for what they are responsible for in a lesson, rehearsal, or for a performance, the ensemble as a whole will suffer. Participation in music also provides opportunities for personal musical growth due to the individual musicianship that is necessary to be a contributing member of an ensemble. Furthermore, if the student does not arrive to rehearsal on time, or at all, the ensemble suffers, therefore reinforcing ideals of punctuality and dependability, which are skills necessary in the workplace. In addition to ensemble participation, solo performance and study is equally as beneficial for a student’s musical development. Both group and individual settings require students to be conscientious of the numerous facets in music that occur simultaneously, such as dynamics, tone quality, blending, rhythm, phrasing, breathing, historical background, amongst others. These will help students become detail-oriented, a trait which will aid students immensely in the professional world. Additionally, a great performance can reinforce the concept that unyielding effort ultimately enhances the skills of a lifelong learner. All of these experiences within the overall musical experience can be applied to life in general. With that said, it is the responsibility of the music educator to guide students toward understanding, identifying, self-discovering, and utilizing all of these musical concepts, as well as the concepts of commitment, dedication, and dependability. As a result of these experiences, music creates well-rounded, creative-minded, and more expressive individuals who will be more successful in his/her future endeavors.
Students of music should be curious, imaginative, observant, and consistently striving to improve every day in some way, shape or form. Students should be curious about the purpose of music and its place in history and society, and foster the ability to create, improvise, or compose music. Most importantly, students should be curious and understanding music and formulating their own educated interpretations on how to perform music. Students should be observant internally and externally, monitoring every marking on a piece of music, the directions from a conductor, and their role in the ensemble as a member of their section, and furthermore, their sections role in the ensemble. Students should understand the value of music and the ideal that any effort made to improve musically will come back to them in the form of a spectacular and gratifying performance for themselves, friends, family members, their community, and the world in which they live in.