Portfolio Project

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lynn H. Blake (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site: http://www.uncp.edu/academics/library
Janita Byars

Abstract: Music is a language common to all people, in all cultures, at all times throughout history. It is a medium with the ability to unite and inspire; a form of expression that undergoes changes that reflect culture, history, and belief; and an instrument by which people can learn and grow. Music perpetuates great thought and generates profound results that connect us to who we are as a creation. The study of music connects one to a great body of knowledge that produces cultural literacy and a passageway to human understanding. Many educators and philosophers have attempted to categorize and understand the relevance of music in our society today. For example, Bennett Reinmer, in his paper, "Why Do Humans Value Music?" (2002), assigns "dimensions of musical values" to understand the needs of humans for understanding and honoring of musical skills, an extension of the aesthetic approach to music education that has dominated music classrooms for over forty years. Music educators have developed curriculum around the aesthetic philosophy, stressing the beauty and essence of music and how it affects feelings, emotions, and desire. While this philosophy has dominated music education for several decades, the demands of educational reform over the past two decades have brought the aesthetic philosophy of music under scrutiny.David Elliot presents a more practical approach to music curricula, emphasizing the importance for music educators, "to engage learners in musical actions, transactions, and interactions that closely parallel real music cultures" and making, in consequence, "the music classroom...a reflective musical practicum, a close representation of viable music-practice situations, or music cultures." (1995, p. 206). It is the praxial philosophy of music that Elliot introduced, along with the demands of educational reform that is moving music education beyond the tenants of aesthetics. Music educators are recognizing the value in making greater connections to larger bodies of knowledge through engaged learning and real music making. Multicultural music has taken on a multidimensional role in the curricula and brings with it interdisciplinary ties to other areas of learning.Aristotle is quoted as saying, It is not easy to determine the nature of music, or why anyone should have knowledge of it." The implication of his statement still bears credence today. As music educators attempt to classify, categorize, and understand the "nature of music, uncovering a viable explanation for music and the teaching of music has remained an enigma. Moving away from the pervasive aesthetic philosophy towards experiential music making is a challenge to music educators in the twenty-first century. The face of society is one that changes constantly and unpredictably. In spite of this teaching diverse students through meaningful musical experiences that infuses the learning process with depth and breadth remains the greatest challenge to music educators today.By engaging students in meaningful music making and by creating opportunities for them to connect to larger bodies of knowledge through music, educators create an immeasurable impact on the society in which we live. Music and music making are unique reflections of culture constantly changing society. Because of its unique impact, the work of music educators brings greater meaning, not only to the music, but also to life, itself. The core of this portfolio is reflective of the writer's desire to educate others through a variety of means, with music as the hub of knowledge and all other knowledge branching from it. Projects, writings, and reflections document the strong impact music has had on this teacher, this learner, this musician.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2006
Music, Language, Culture, Music Educators, Value of Music

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