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In the Looking Glass of Education: Music in the School Curriculum—When Two Worlds Meet

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Informed by socialization experiences in music from early on in their lives, music educators employed in compulsory educational settings tend to view the place of music in the curriculum from a different perspective than do non-musicians. Since the social realities of music schooling are socio-politically imbedded in the discipline of education, differences in perceptions can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings with implications for daily operations of and long-term policies for music in the curriculum. With the help of Symbolic Interactionism as a pragmatist sociological theory, Dr. Froehlich examines how music educators might benefit from understanding the world of education as a universe of discourse different from that of music but equally as strong when it comes to norms and values of conduct; symbols of belonging; and other attributes, relations, and ideas that are either expressed or assumed, implied or purposefully left unsaid. Consequences for music educators’ ongoing construction of professional identity and resultant pedagogical choices are outlined as are the social and aesthetic relevance of instructional language, repertoire, and disciplinary actions in the classroom. The need for forming socio-political allegiances in the hierarchies of power within institutional decision-making is emphasized, and possible conflict resolutions between the fields of education and music as representing two distinctly different communities of practice are suggested.

The seminar will consist of a presentation and an open discussion.

Bio: Dr. Hildegard Froehlich (PhD) is Professor Emeritus of the College of Music at the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA . The presentation is a partial reflection of her lifelong work as a music educator in higher education interested in the application of sociological theory to music teaching and learning (e.g., Froehlich, 2007; also

This talk is part of the Arts, Culture and Education series.

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