Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tonal Tuesdays - Philosophy of Music

When I was a teacher, we didn't get too deeply into the philosophic ideas of music but just got at it.  Indeed, even during my university days we took care of the music at hand but never talked about why it was important or indeed anything like the Roman philosophy below. this comes from    http://www.choralnet.org/     

In case anyone tells you that the exclusion of music from the list of "real" academic subjects is a new invention, here's a quote from Roman philosopher Seneca:
And what of those who are engaged in composing, hearing, and learning songs, while they twist the voice, whose best and simplest movement Nature designed to be straightforward, into the meanderings of some indolent tune, who are always snapping their fingers as they beat time to some song they have in their head, who are overheard humming a tune when they have been summoned to serious, often even melancholy, matters? These have not leisure, but idle occupation.
Writing on Joanne Jacobs' excellent education blog,Diane Senechal has her high-school students read this letter from Seneca (which also condemns such frivolous activities as chess, sunbathing, spectator sports, and getting one's hair cut) as a starting point for classroom discussion about such activities as Facebook and texting.

Imagine getting your hair cut being a frivolous activity.  I guess it is in the eye of the owner.  In the 60's they certainly espoused that one.

So what place do you feel music should hold in our education and life?


Colleen said...

It irritates me when people say that the arts are frivolous and useless. Studies have been done that support the study of music and other arts in helping students achieve in other areas. Right now I'm in Paris and you can see how the arts form a huge part of Paris' economy. We came to see a concert and just spent the day at the Louvre. There are thousands and thousands of tourists packing this city to experience the arts. If something drives people to travel great distances to see, hear and experience it, it can't be frivolous.

Embro Thistle Singers said...

What can we say but "Amen". Enjoy the Parisienne art scene. Left Bank anyone!!