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Music Matters

A Philosophy of Music Education

Second Edition

David J. Elliott and Marissa Silverman

Publication Date - June 2014

ISBN: 9780195334043

568 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Provides educators with critically reasoned perspectives on the nature and significance of music teaching and learning


Why is music significant in life and education? What shall we teach? How? To whom? Where and when? The praxial philosophy espoused in Music Matters: A Philosophy of Music Education offers an integrated sociocultural, artistic, participatory, and ethics-based concept of the natures and values of musics, education, musicing and listening, community music, musical understanding, musical emotions, creativity, and more. Embodied-enactive concepts of action, perception, and personhood weave through the book's proposals. Practical principles for curriculum and instruction emerge from the authors' praxial themes.

New to this Edition

  • Expanded introductory chapters, and new chapters on education, personhood, musical understanding, musical processes and products, and musical emotions
  • Additional principles and examples for implementing the authors' praxial approach
  • Cutting-edge research in music philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and curriculum
  • An updated website and blog

About the Author(s)

David J. Elliott is Professor of Music and Music Education at New York University. An internationally sought-after author and speaker, Dr. Elliott is also an award-winning jazz composer/arranger.

Marissa Silverman is Associate Professor of Music Education at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. A Fulbright scholar and professional flutist in New York City, her publications include discussions of urban music education, musical interpretation, and ethics and social justice.

Previous Publication Date(s)

February 1995


"Nearly twenty years ago, music education philosophy changed forever with the publication of Music Matters. The second edition is not a casual update; it is a sweepingly new and expanded text that rises to an unprecedented level of sophistication. In addition to having a fresh and contemporary feel that draws evidence from a great array of sources including science, cognition, and philosophy; this edition also celebrates critical and creative thinking and offers an enhanced concept of personhood and the development of individual meaning. The result is a powerful and convincing resource that is a must-read for anyone who takes music teaching and learning seriously."--Peter R. Webster, Professor Emeritus, Northwestern University

"Why does music matter so much in our lives? Why does it have the power to transform us? This comprehensive examination of music education answers these questions and more, presenting a new vision of the importance of the arts in our lives."--Diane Ravitch, New York University

"This landmark contribution will continue to shape the discipline for decades to come and propel music education philosophy in every corner of the globe."--Gary McPherson, University of Melbourne

"Informative and delightful, Music Matters is a highly accessible and engaging account of the role that music plays in genuine education."--Nel Noddings, Stanford University

Table of Contents

    Every chapter ends with Questions for Discussion and Review and Supplementary Readings
    Part I. Foundational Matters
    1. Introduction
    1. Some Serious Matters
    2. Preliminary observations
    3. Aims
    4. Premises
    5. Three Key Concepts: very Brief introductions
    6. Reading this Book
    7. Special Features
    8. End of the Beginning
    2. Philosophy and Music Education
    1. Philosophy: A Brief Introduction
    2. The Philosophy of Music Education: A Very Brief Introduction
    3. Philosophy and Advocacy: What's the Difference?
    4. Praxis, Praxial, and Related Concepts
    5. Conclusion
    Chapter 3. Music
    1. First Thoughts
    2. Limitations
    3. Plan of the Chapter
    4. Stage One: First Steps to a Concept of Music
    5. Stage Two: Basic Conclusions and Working Concepts
    6. Music: Two Broad Categories
    7. On the Origins and Evolution of Musics
    8. Stage Three
    9. Stage Four: Music as a Social Praxis
    10. Conclusion
    Chapter 4. Education
    1. Plan of the Chapter
    2. Limitations
    3. Stage One: Why think About Education?
    4. Stage Two: First steps to a Concept of Education
    5. Stage Three: Historical Perspectives
    6. Stage Four: Education as a Social Praxis
    7. Conclusion
    Chapter 5. Personhood
    1. Aims and Limitations
    2. Plan of the Chapter
    3. Basic Concepts and Terms
    4. A Holistic Concept of Persons and Personhood
    5. Matty and Maureen
    6. Consciousness
    7. Persons as Embodied and Enactive
    8. Brain
    9. The Brain: Perfect or Not?
    10. Is There a Musical Brain Center?
    11. Mind
    12. Body Mapping and Mirror Neurons
    13. Emotions and Feelings
    14. Implications for Music Education
    Part II. Musical Processes and Products in Contexts
    Chapter 6. Musical Understanding
    1. Musical Understanding? Common Answers and Serious Omissions
    2. Aims and Limitations
    3. Plan of the Chapter
    4. A Praxial Concept of Musical Understanding: Embodied and Enactive
    5. Musical Understanding = Musicianship + Listenership
    6. Procedural/Action Musical Thinking and Knowing
    7. Verbal Musical Thinking and Knowing
    8. Experiential Musical Thinking and Knowing
    9. Situated Musical Thinking and Knowing
    10. Intuitive Musical Thinking and Knowing
    11. Appreciative Thinking and Knowing
    12. Ethical Musical Thinking and Knowing
    13. Supervisory Musical Thinking and Knowing
    14. Musical Understanding (Revisited)
    15. Implications for Music Education
    7. Musicing and Listening in Contexts
    1. Aims and Limitations
    2. Performing in Context
    3. Musical Interpretation
    4. Expanding on Musical Interpretation
    5. Composing in Context
    6. Improvising in Context
    7. Arranging in Context
    8. Music Listening in Context
    9. Further Examples of Cultural-Ideological Influences
    10. Love, Hate, and Other Musical Matters
    11. Music as Culture
    12. Ethics of Musicing and Listening in Context
    13. Artistic Citizenship in Context
    14. Implications for Music Education
    8. Musical Products in Contexts
    1. Aims and Limitations
    2. Plan of the Chapter
    3. "Products?"
    4. Musical Form-Content Relationships
    5. Performance-Interpretation Dimensions
    6. Musical Design
    7. Praxis-Specific Style Characteristics
    8. Musical Expression
    9. Musical Representations
    10. Cultural-Ideological Dimensions
    11. Narrative Dimensions
    12. Autobiographical Dimensions
    13. Ethical Dimensions
    14. Implications for Music Education
    9. Musical-Emotional Experiences
    1. First thoughts
    2. Aims and Limitations
    3. Plan of the Chapter
    4. Theories of Musical Experience
    5. Psychological Perspectives on Musical Experience
    6. A Concept of Musical-Emotional Experiences
    7. Implications for Music Education
    10. Musical Creativity in Contexts
    1. Aims and Limitations
    2. Plan of the Chapter
    3. The Concept of Creativity
    4. Etymology and a Brief History of Creativity
    5. Originality and Significance
    6. Spontaneous Originality
    7. Creative Personality and Creative Process (Creative Thinking)
    8. Foundations of Creative Achievement
    9. Creativity and Imagination
    10. Creativity in Review
    11. Music "Good and Great"
    12. Implications for Music Education
    11. Musical Values
    1. Aims and Limitations
    2. Plan of the Chapter
    3. Self and Identities
    4. Human Tendencies and Human Interests
    5. Consciousness Revisited
    6. Self-Growth
    7. Conditions of Self-Growth and Enjoyment
    8. Characteristics and Consequences of Self-Growth
    9. Self-Esteem and Personhood
    10. Safety, Self-Esteem, and Personhood
    11. Human Tendencies and Human Interests Revisited
    12. The Values of Music Making
    13. The Values of Music Listening
    14. Musical-Emotional Experiences and Social Capital
    15. Implications for Music Education
    Part III. Music and-as-in Education
    12. Music Education and Curriculum
    1. Aims and Limitations
    2. Plan of the Chapter
    3. The Concept of Curriculum
    4. Conventional Curriculum-Making
    5. Against Conventional Curriculum-Making
    6. Teachers and Curriculum-Making
    7. An Alternative Concept of Curriculum-Making
    8. Curriculum Commonplaces
    9. Music Curriculum-Making
    10. Four stages of Curriculum-Making
    11. A Praxial Music Curriculum
    12. Stage One: A Praxial Orientation
    13. Music Teaching and Learning
    1. Aims and Limitations
    2. Plan of the Chapter
    3. The Reflective Musical Practicum
    4. Preparing and Planning the Practicum
    5. Music Teaching and Learning
    6. A Praxial View of Curriculum Evaluation
    7. The Inclusive Music Curriculum
    14. Music Education and Schooling
    1. Aims and Limitations
    2. Plan of the Chapter
    3. Education vs. Schooling
    4. The Functions of Schooling
    5. The Principles of Schooling
    6. The Corollaries of Schooling
    7. A Fundamental Problem
    8. Toward the Future: The Short-Run
    9. Toward the Future: The Long-Run
    10. Toward the Future: The Professional Music Educator and CM Facilitator
    Author Index
    Subject Index