Philosophies of Music and Music Education
I believe that music is vital to human existence, so much that we are actually born to be musical creatures. Our lives would lack much richness without music. Music is so significant to humans that all people in all times and in all cultures have had music in some form. Music helps humans to express, feel, and be, in ways that we cannot through any other medium. We use music to express ourselves when we can find no suitable words. The ancient Greeks found music to be so important that they included it as one of their seven required educational subjects. People who do not invite music into their lives are not living as full and rich a human existence as they are meant to.
The role of music in the life of a human being is incredibly significant. How easy is it for a person to spend twenty-four hours away from all music? In American culture, it is close to impossible. In America and all over the world we use music to help us get through our work days, to communicate with one another, to soothe children, to entertain, to rehabilitate and heal, to express that which has no words, to pump ourselves up for exercise, to help us feel sad, to help us worship our Creator, to sell items, to identify groups and teams, and to simply pass the time.
I believe that our responsibilities as music educators include providing the best quality of music, teaching, and musical experiences that we can to students. We do this to enrich the lives of our students, to help them to be well-rounded individuals, and to provide them with the necessary tools to enjoy, perform, create, or teach music themselves. We would not be able to use music so wonderfully if we did not have a large number of people highly trained in it. The more a person knows about music and other arts, the more those arts can be appreciated.
My goal as a performance studies teacher whether I am working with a flute studio or a band is to create independent, knowledgeable musicians. Some of them will enjoy music performance as a hobby for the rest of their lives, playing in community groups, churches, as part time jobs, or simply for their own enjoyment. Some will become informed audience members, music advocates, and patrons of the arts. Some will become composers, creating new music for the world to enjoy. Some will become music therapists, using music to heal others. Some will become professional performers, playing in the orchestras and bands and as world renowned soloists that we listen to in live and recorded performances. Still others will become music teachers, ready to educate the next generation of young musicians. For all of these people, I must give my very best efforts to providing high quality musical experiences to each student. For they will all, in their own ways, pass the music on to others: family, friends, children, grandchildren, co-workers, and strangers. We had better make it as good as we can.