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The nature of music itself, and the knowledge versus skills debate in music education

  • MARTIN FAUTLEY and REGINA MURPHY
Extract

Back in 2013, in the BJME editorial for issue 30(2), we considered the place of knowledge in the curriculum (Fautley & Murphy, 2013). Things have not stood still since that date, certainly in England, and other parts of the world too. What we have now is a situation where the idea of knowledge as assuming supremacy over skills is on the increase. For those of us concerned with music education, many aspects of this increasingly fractious debate are to be viewed with concern. Allied to this, we have neoliberal-leaning governments in many parts of the world, Britain included, who seem to find it difficult to understand the important role that music education has – or should have – in the education of our children and young people. Indeed, in the UK, the education secretary is on record as making this observation:

Education secretary Nicky Morgan has warned young people that choosing to study arts subjects at school could ‘hold them back for the rest of their lives’ (The Stage, 2014)

This attitude, and Britain is certainly not alone in this, is clearly going to be problematic for those of us involved in music and the arts.

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References
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CROSS, I. (2009) The nature of music and its evolution. In Cross, I., Hallam, S. & Thaut, M. (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology, pp. 313. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
FAUTLEY, M. & MURPHY, R. (2013) Editorial. British Journal of Music Education, 30 (2), 157–9.
FAUTLEY, M. & MURPHY, R. (2015) What is music education? - Editorial. British Journal of Music Education, 32 (1), 14.
HALLAM, S. (2009) Motivation to learn. In Cross, I., Hallam, S. & Thaut, M. (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology, pp. 285–94. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
PARNCUTT, R. (2009) Prenatal development and the phylogeny and ontogeny of music. In Cross, I., Hallam, S. & Thaut, M. (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Music Psychology, pp. 219–28. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
PASCUAL-LEONE, A. (2001) The brain that plays music and is changed by it. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 930 (1), 315–29.
STAGE, THE. Newspaper (2014). Available online at https://www.thestage.co.uk/news/2014/education-secretary-nicky-morgan-arts-subjects-limit-career-choices/ [accessed May 2016]
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British Journal of Music Education
  • ISSN: 0265-0517
  • EISSN: 1469-2104
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-music-education
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