A philosophy of music education: First Principle: No one should be denied the chance to learn music.
Any philosophy of music education should have as a first or basic principle that ANYONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND MUSIC, AND BE ABLE TO PLAY IT, TO SOME APPRECIABLE DEGREE.
The next concern of such a philosophy might be HOW GOOD CAN YOU GET? AND HOW QUICKLY CAN ONE GET GOOD?
We're going to take these matters up shortly, but first - Let's look at an example of "how good" and "how fast to get good" - Here is 12-year-old Chelsea Dock playing a Beethoven sonata:
Wonderful, don't you agree? Well, our misgivings about presenting the amazing child musicians we found was this; Wouldn't the visitor see these "prodigies" and IMMEDIATELY become discouraged?
Wouldn't the reaction be: 'SEE, IT IS TRUE - SOME HAVE IT AND SOME DON'T"??. "Only special, one-in-a-million geniuses who start playing right out of the womb can play music that way."
Well, after receiving a letter from one of our visitors, a musician and counselor, we said: LET'S ENJOY THESE PERFORMANCES! [And add this reasoning to our "philosophy of music education":
"When I wasn't feeling particularly exceptional in sports, while some of the other kids were remarkable and excellent, my first decision was to give up. BUT; I then I decided to work out what I WAS good at, and then set my OWN goals and my OWN standards to reach. I did that and have enjoyed sports and exercise ever since.
"Later on, I realized that it's the same with playing music: Just because an Olympic athlete can do remarkable things with his body, doesn't mean that YOU should give up exercise or sports. - Likewise; Just because there are unique, wonderful astounding players, does NOT mean that YOU should give up the joy of studying and playing music!"
So, we are featuring the kids on this page for the purpose of illustrating the amazing potential of the human spirit, and the human mind. Of which any philosophy of music education must, of course, take into account.
Here's another example of "How good - how fast?" - Lucciano Pizzichini at the age of ten, playing "with a technique and a maturity far beyond his years". See if you don't agree:
Are these kids something unique, special and unduplicatable? A random occurence of nature?
Or are they the result of a supportive family and teaching environment? [As opposed to an environment in which the child's aptitudes and attributes are "manipulated" for the benefit of everyone except the child himself.]
If you look at the way these kids perform, you can easily see that they appear "unforced". They all seem to be relaxed, self-possessed, at ease, and enjoying the music they are playing. For, as 3-year old Richard Hoffman's mother says in the following interview: "I found that he was more engaged by himself, rather than being pushed by anyone".
Here is the story of 3-year-old Richard Hoffman:
I imagine that, continuing in the same supportive environment, these kids will succeed splendidly as they move into adulthood and have satisfying productive lives, no matter what field of endeavor they ultimately move into, even if it's not a professional music career.
The question is: HOW MANY OTHER KIDS LIKE THESE ARE OUT THERE, WAITING FOR THEIR POTENTIAL TO BE REALIZED?
And the answer to that question is: WE WILL NEVER REALLY KNOW UNLESS AND UNTIL WE HAVE UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO GOOD QUALITY, EXCITING AND INSPIRING MUSIC EDUCATION.
We could also say: "The wind is always blowing, when are we going to raise the sails to catch it?"
We have accumulated pages and pages of great instances of genius and we'd like to show them all to you.
And we also want to know: what would be your "philosophy of music education"? Is there something you have run across in this vein which inspired you, made you laugh or made you marvel. A kid, or adult, whose creativity you enjoyed so much that you wanted to share it? If so, what is their story?
Please write, we welcome your feedback! If you'd like to recommend a video, or other resource we should include on our pages, simply type in the link in the "tell us what you think" box, and we'll take it from there.