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Education exists to provide children with the knowledge and skills necessary to be able to survive and thrive in the world as adults. I agree with the ancient Greeks that the purpose of education is to develop citizens capable of actively participating in society. By finding and developing talents as you educate the child and individual, you enable and empower the child and individual to thrive, survive and hopefully contribute to society. Along the way the child should learn to think, reason, troubleshoot, adapt, and accommodate. 

One of the philosophies of education that resonates with me is Pestalozzi’s philosophy of education (Hodges, 2017), which stresses the development of the student’s natural abilities and pacing instruction to follow the gradual unfolding of the child’s development. This philosophy is how I teach. 

I teach one-on-one music lessons to people of all ages. The customization of instruction makes sense because every student is different, and I meet them where they are. Even when working with my choirs, I meet my private students or choirs where they currently are and we progress from there. Equipping the student to participate and thrive in society is the main goal of education, and personalized instruction—to the place and the student—is my philosophy of how to give my students and choral singers musical experiences which are rich in responding, creating, performing, and connecting to the music studied. 



The role of music in society is complex. Music is created by individuals expressing an idea, emotion, or mood in sound. Music is consumed as entertainment, functions as an accompaniment to social interactions, and touches people deeply. Emily Dickenson said regarding beauty, “Beauty is not caused. It is."  To an auditory person like me, that quote could be changed to “Beauty is not caused. It is music.” Music and the sound world which makes music happen have captivated me from an early age. Tolstoy said, “Art is that which makes beauty manifest". Music is beauty manifest in the world. Music is a vehicle for expression. Music accompanies our lives, and through all our milestones in life. Music connects to the emotions like nothing else. My passion for music drives me to educate others on this subject that touches human lives in so many ways.  

In my philosophy of music education, aestheticism (the effect and response to music) utilitarianism (focusing on the benefits gained from music), and praxialism (the doing of music) come together in my philosophy of music education. My blended philosophy encompasses the complete musical experience—the student creating, performing, responding, and connecting to music. It is precisely this possibility of a complete musical experience that makes music unique. 

How each student responds to a musical experience will always be different from other students who are participating in the same musical experience. The unique responses, resultant creations, and individual connections will all be different in some way. In other subjects like mathematics or history, this individualized and unique response is not possible. Equations always have a correct answer and historical events have definite dates. Music is the only subject with this fluidity of uniqueness to each student’s experience. 

My Blended Philosophy

My current teaching situation is private studio teaching and choral education. My students and choristers come to me because they want to do music-a praxialist approach. I teach applied lessons, helping the students to gain the skills they need to create, respond, and perform. 

My students and choristers also need aesthetic focus—finding ways to express the true Beauty in the music they study. People go to concerts and make music to have the aesthetic experience that comes from making and hearing music. My students are invited to reflect on their performances in self-assessment and writing. As my students work their way through studying pieces of music, we talk about aesthetics based on performance practice and historical context. The students get to apply aesthetic thought in performance. 

In conclusion, my music education philosophy is a blended philosophy firmly rooted in robust music-making, with a focus on beauty and critical thinking having their own place in the mix. Following only one way of thinking is limiting because one loses the values and truths found in the discarded modes of thinking. A hybrid, blended philosophy of music education allows me to use and apply the wisdom from each philosophy and is a better match for me in this 21st-century technological world—resulting in musical experiences for my students which include creating, responding, performing, and connecting to the music they experience.