History and Philosophy of Music Education in America – MUSC 640

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 06/08/2022

Course Description

In this course, students examine the historical and philosophical development of music education in America, traced from its roots in biblical times through recent historical events and trends. Also emphasized are the pedagogical movements in and sociological aspects of music education from the early colonial period through the 21st century. Readings and discussions will emphasize specific subjects including: Ancient Greek music philosophy and aesthetics, music in the medieval universities and the quadrivium, the influences of humanism and the Enlightenment, musical aesthetics related to 19th and 20th century thought, and the current discussion related to aesthetic vs. praxial music educational philosophies.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Music education scholarship within the context of a Christian worldview mandates a thorough study of the philosophical ideas, problems, and historical roots of music education in the United States. Music in the schools will be scrutinized through these lenses in the course readings, lecture presentations, and critical discussions. The intention of the analyses is to develop objective assessment and analytical techniques applicable to the field of music education.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain a general history of music education within Western culture.
  2. Identify the philosophical concepts and movements in music and education that have shaped the development of music education.
  3. Evaluate the impact of historical events and trends within music education that influence current pedagogy and research in the field.
  4. Analyze philosophies of music education in the context of the Christian worldview in order to inform curricular and praxial initiatives within the discipline.
  5. Determine aesthetic positions within Western art, folk, and popular music, articulating their intersections with current philosophies in music education.

Course Assignment

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student will create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 200 words, demonstrate course-related knowledge, and be supported by biblical principles. In addition to the thread, the student will reply to the threads of at least 2 classmates. The reply must be at least 50 words and must also be supported by biblical principles. (MLO: D, E)

The student will create a 200-300 word abstract to describe his/her upcoming History and Philosophy of music education. The student will attach a bibliography with at least 15 sources based on class research (in addition to the required materials for this course, if the student chooses to use those). (MLO: C)

The student will write a 20-page research-based paper in current Turabian format that focuses on a chosen topic within the area of history or philosophy of music education. The paper must include at least 15 scholarly sources in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible.  (MLO: A, B, C, D)

The student will write a 3-page research-based paper in current Turabian format that focuses on his or her personal philosophy of music education. (MLO: D, E)

Five quizzes will assess content from the corresponding module: week. Questions may address read or watch items. Questions will focus on drawing connections between sources. The studen will have 30 minutes to complete each quiz. (MLO: A, B, C, E)