Music Matters. Materiality, Knowings and Practices in Performing Arts


Perspectives from Music Education

Christoph Khittl

Looking at the keywords in the topic of this sdp we will all remember D. J. Elliot’s Music Matters (1995). Elliot has influenced music-education research in a worldwide way, but not in an unequivocal way. His studies can be understood as a change of paradigm, as a “praxial turn” (Elliot) within music education. But there are still a lot of desiderata in research 25 years after the first publication of the ideas of a “paraxial” music education. The different ways of its impact for instance in continental music education and especially music education in Austria, Germany and Switzerland could be the subject of research. How do aspects of praxial music education correlate with continental concepts of Handeln”, “Tätigkeit or the Aristotelic terms praxis-poiesis” etc.? And do they even correlate at all?

For some years, music education research (especially in German-language music education) has discovered and borrowed theories of praxeology. In this connection the question is how materiality influences processes of music learning and how theories of materiality can overcome the gaps between objectivity und subjectivity in processes of learning, teaching or just making music. We are not asking for a further empirical videographic study on the analysis of music lessons, but we want to go deeper into aspects of epistemology and theories of knowledge in music education.

How are the following keywords knowing, practices and materiality connected to one another in sequences of music learning and teaching, but also in non-educational settings of wild (= non-formal) learning?? We do not know exactly whether there is a valid connection, therefore we should research in this direction.

Another possibility for dealing with our sdp keywords leads to the problem of relations and polarities between materiality and immateriality (in music and music education). Knowing as a consequence and as a result of practices and materiality? Are our learning theories correct or should they be challenged? Is there a way to construct new theories of music learning and education and to de-construct former (pedagogical as well as neuro-psychological) theories which seem to be indubitable?

Last but not least, music education and the performing arts can be connected: in a more traditional way, music education contributes to the performing arts as a basic prerequisite. But why not put forward and research the thesis that in its practices music education is not just a matter of learning and teaching, but is in itself something like a performing art: music education and performativity could lead to innovative theories in music didactics as a special form of art.

The selected academic references reveal fundamental differences between research in European (or German) music education (Musikpädagogik) and music education in an Anglo-American sense. To bridge these differences and to discuss the epistemology of music education in the 21st century would be an innovative challenge and should be targeted in the sdp in order to establish a new mutual understanding of music education itself as well as in the context of other fields of study.

(Selected) References:

Abel-Struth, S.: Grundriß der Musikpädagogik. Mainz 1985.

AMPF (ed.): Arbeitskreis Musikpädagogische Forschung. Tagungsbände jährlich seit 1980 (Die Blaue Eule). Seit 2013 (ab Bd. 34) im Waxmann-Vlg.: online:

Benedict, C./Schmidt, P. (ed.): The Oxford Handbook of Social Justice in Music Education. Oxford 2015.

Brophy T.S. (ed.): The Oxford Handbook of Assessment Policy and Practice in Music Education. Vol. I. Oxford 2019.

Clausen, B. Cvetko, A.J. et al. (ed.): Grundlagentexte wissenschaftlicher Musikpädagogik. Begriffe, Positionen, Perspektiven im systematischen Fokus. Münster 2016.

Colwell, R. (ed.): MENC Handbook of Research Methodologies. Oxford 2006.

Colwell, R. (ed.): MENC Handbook of Musical Cognition and Development. Oxford 2006.

Colwell, R./Webster, P.R. (ed.): MENC Handbook of Research on Music Learning. Vol-1: Strategies. Oxford 2011.

Colwell, R. /Webster, P.R. (ed.): MENC Handbook of Research on Music Learning. Vol-2: Applications. Oxford 2011.

Dartsch, M., Knigge J., Niessen A. et al. (ed.): Handbuch Musikpädagogik. Grundlagen – Forschung – Diskurse. Münster 2018.

Ehrenforth, K.H.: Geschichte der musikalischen Bildung. Eine Kultur,- Sozial- und Ideengeschichte in 40 Stationen.... Mainz 2005.

Gruhn, W.: Geschichte der Musikerziehung.... Hofheim 1993.

Gruhn, W.: Der Musikverstand. Neurobiologische Grundlagen des musikalischen Denkens, Hörens und Lernens. Hildesheim 2005 (überarbeitet Aufl.).

Gruhn, W./Röbke, P.: Musik Lernen. Bedingungen-Handlungsfelder-Positionen. Innsbruck u.a. 2018.

Kertz-Welzel, A.: Globalizing music education: a framework. Bloomington 2018.

Khittl, C.: Musikdidaktische Konzeptionen als Garant musikalischer Bildung? In: Comploi, F./ Mitterrutzner, E. (ed.): Musik und Schule – Musica e Scuola. Bozen – Bolzano/Bozen 2013, S. 91 – 119.

Khittl, C.: Musikpädagogik: Vom „Anything Goes“ über disziplin-loses Durcheinander zur (anthropischen) Trans-Disziplin? In: Bailer, N./Enser, G. (ed.): Insel-Bilder. Musikdidaktische Konzeptionen im Diskurs. Innsbruck u.a. 2017, S. 9 – 29.

Lehmann-Wermser, A.: Musikdidaktische Konzeptionen. Ein Studienbuch. Augsburg 2016.

McPherson, G./Welch, G.F. (ed.): The Oxford Handbook of Music Education. Vol. I & II. Oxford 2012.

Motte-Haber, de la (ed.): Psychologische Grundlagen des Musiklernens. (= HB der Musikpädagogik Bd. 4). Kassel 1987.

Panaiotidi, E.: Paradigmen in der Musikpädagogik. In: Kornmesser, Stephan/ Schurz, Gerhard (ed.): Die multiparadigmatische Struktur der Wissenschaften. Heidelberg 2014, S. 145 – 180.

Ruthmann, S.A./Mantie R. (ed.): Oxford Handbook of Technology and Music Education. Oxford 2017.

Schatt, P.W.: Einführung in die Musikpädagogik. Darmstadt 2007.

Schmidt, H.C. (ed.): Geschichte der Musikpädagogik (= HB der Musikpädagogik Bd.1). Kassel 1986.

Richter, C. (ed.): Instrumental- und Vokalpädagogik. 1-Grundlagen. (= HB der Musikpädagogik Bd. 2). Kassel 1993.

Richter, C. (ed.): Instrumental- und Vokalpädagogik. 2-Einzelfächer. (= HB der Musikpädagogik Bd. 3). Kassel 1993.



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