Fostering Freedom: Troubling Relevance and Individualism

While most music educators likely value some form of “freedom,” historical events demonstrate that absent attention to what constitutes “freedom,” the rhetoric of “freedom” can subsume practices that are anything but freeing. The purpose of this philosophical inquiry is to investigate the nature of “freedom” and to use “freedom” as a lens for analyzing contemporary music education discourse and practice. Drawing on the work of Greene (1988) and Zerilli (2005), I distinguish between freedom from and freedom to and explain freedom as the responsible, situation-specific action of becoming. Troubling discourse that treats relevant musical practices as ends in themselves, I offer that freedom involves teachers and students engaging with relevant obstacles. Additionally, I problematize solo and small group musical endeavors that encourage individualism and disconnect students from divergent perspectives. Musical freedom necessitates enacting responsible expressions attentive to the pluralistic community at hand; it also demands that participants exhibit the responsibility of taking one another’s musical speech seriously. Rather than conceiving of freedom as something that we let ring, music educators and students might emphasize ringing freedom together.

Publication Date:
Date Submitted:
Jul 10 2019
Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education

Note: The file is under embargo until: 2019-12-31

 Record created 2019-07-10, last modified 2019-07-12

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