Music education thrives on philosophical inquiry, the systematic and critical examination of beliefs and assumptions. Yet philosophy, often considered abstract and irrelevant, is often absent from the daily life of music instructors. In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Music Education, editors Wayne D. Bowman and Ana Lucía Frega have drawn together a variety of philosophical perspectives from the profession's most exciting scholars. Rather than relegating philosophical inquiry to moot questions and abstract situations, the contributors to this volume address everyday concerns faced by music educators everywhere, demonstrating that philosophy offers a way of navigating the daily professional life of music education and proving that critical inquiry improves, enriches, and transforms instructional practice for the better. Questioning every musical practice, instructional aim, assumption, and conviction in music education, The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Music Education presents new and provocative approaches to the practice of teaching music.
Bowman and Frega go deeper than mere advocacy or a single point of view, but rather conceive of philosophy as a dynamic process of debate and reflection that must constantly evolve to meet the shifting landscapes of music education. In place of the definitive answers often associated with philosophical work, Bowman and Frega offer a fascinating cross-section of often-contradictory approaches and viewpoints. By bringing together essays by both established and up-and-coming scholars from six continents, Bowman and Frega go beyond the Western monopoly of philosophical practice and acknowledge the diversity of cultures, instructors, and students who take part in music education. This range of perspectives invites broader participation in music instruction, and presents alternative answers to many of the fields most pressing questions and issues. By acknowledging the inherent plurality of music educational practices, the Handbook opens up the field in new and important ways. Emphasizing clarify, fairness, rigor, and utility above all, The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy in Music Education challenges music educators around the world to make their own decisions and ultimately contribute to the conversation themselves.