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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Brain pill

We - and I don't know exactly who these 'we' are - we worry about the state of music education in Dutch schools.

We say, in accordance with living in the age of measurement, that it has to become 'more': there has to be 'meer muziek in de klas' - 'more music in the classroom'.

Therefore we make an online 'Handbook for more music in the classroom' and give it as a subtitle 'THE work of reference for a sustainable place of music education at primary schools in your region'.

And if in THE reference work we have to answer the most important (and least answered) question in music education - the 'why?'-question - we write about 'measurable effects' of 'music' to childrens' development. And because we live in the age of measurement, we hire a neuropsychologist who explains that 'music' (and it never becomes exactly clear what that 'music' is, because we all know that, don't we?) is important for the development of kids' brains.

That 'music' contributes to cognitive development - children become better in maths and language. That it contributes to creativity - because the brain relaxes and then new ideas blossom. That it contributes to socialization and the development of personhoood - because empathic development is fostered. That it contributes to motor development - because even thinking of music leads to activity in the motor cortex.

The most noticeable thing: no word about music, really. Not a word about carefully thinking through what music does in human lives, and how - if at all - we might use that in education. Not a word about music education being good for musical development. And not a word about what musical development might be (because we all know that, don't we?). Not a word - apart from that it is good for the brain.

The even more noticeable thing: not a word about education, too. Not a word about 'the beautiful risk of education', about what may go wrong and about what may go right, about the miracle and the magic of teaching. Not a word about the so intricate interaction between a teacher and her pupils; about carefully and lovingly fostering the development of each individual child. About the uncertainties and the anxieties many teachers feel. Not a word - apart from that it is about more brains.

In a country where music becomes a brain pill and education the specialism of serving the brain pill so that it be swallowed, there is no true hope for music education.

Check THE reference work here (Dutch only): http://handboekvoor.meermuziekindeklas.nl/handboek-voor-meer-muziek-in-de-klas

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