Voorschoolse Muziek Educatie

Early Years Music Education

Against Effectiveness

Maart 2017

Music in preschool music education is not just for extra-music development! 

On the one side it should all be fun fun fun in the preschool years, and on the other side the fun absolutely has to have an effect on the general development (preferably language and math). The why of music education then has nothing to do with music itself and also not with art-education in these contexts.

The contrast is rather shocking. In secondary school it should all be pop-music to accommodate the children, to engage them, to motivate them according to their own preferences. To create a musical educational environment that comes totally from the teenagers themselves. To turn them into performers and composers and what have you. To engage them into music itself. But in Preschool Music Education we need to educate the little ones through music to be solid citizens in later life who are good in language and math so they can support the neoliberal agenda. 

As two of my colleagues remarked, in both cases: where is the pedagogy? Where is the actual “getting better in music itself”?

When referring to a possible “effect” of Preschool Music Education, there is also some sort of product in play. Otherwise it is not possible to establish an effect. Here we enter the area of desires, criteria, (possible) results. Having an effect could be regarded as having an effect for something or on something. The question is than: is it desirable for PME to have an effect? Why? And most importantly: does it have to do with music? 

Aiming for effectiveness in PME resulting in getting better in music - keeping in view of what is possible and what is desirable within a certain situation (and geographical location) - draws music education in a sense out of art education into an area of predetermined goals that can be generalised. This is not to say that music education or art education can be without aims and goals. On the contrary. Teachers will need a fair amount of self-assessment. Or perhaps better, self-evaluation. And most likely I will come up with a better term in the near future. Nevertheless, being without aims and or goals in a “let’s give it a go” fashion can be nice but has nothing to do with education. 

© Voorschoolse Muziek Educatie 2023

© Early Years Music Education 2023

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© Early Years Music Education 2024