What Is Music and Why Does It Matter?

What is music?  What is the goal of music education?  One’s view of the former question will presuppose answers to the latter.

Does musical beauty lie solely within individual, subjective experiences; formal arrangements of the musical object; socio-cultural references or artistic metaphor; its instrumental value; or perhaps elsewhere? The philosophy of music and music education is in itself a very deep question and a field of research replete with opinions. The author, in fact, dedicated an entire dissertation to the question of grounding both musical beauty and a philosophy for music education.  This philosophical research concluded with a need for musical value to lay beyond the experience in itself and the musical object in itself. In short, “beauty” and “goodness” cannot exist in a vacuum. “Good” and “beautiful” (even “ugly” or undesirable) things or experiences must therefore point elsewhere—for example, toward rightness, objective meaningfulness, and other intuitions of value and order.

This blog intends to explore such issues in music and philosophy.  As it relates to education, the author is specifically intrigued with an interdisciplinary, liberal arts approach to teaching music, and a classical-/trivium-model of progression in learning–grammar; logic; rhetoric.  Moreover, given the author’s convictions as noted above, his interests include an exploration of how to use music education as an artistic means for teaching deep philosophical themes.  Philosophically, this blog finds particular interest in interdisciplinary, meta-musical inquiry, concerning such questions as: form vs. freedom (the Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy); music and morality; the Fact/Value split; sacred vs secular vs the grotesque; and music as worldview projection.


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