The Value Of Western Classical Music Tradition Cultural Studies Essay

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For the purpose of this study, it seems to be essential to be given a definition of the term 'appreciation'. A navigating into music educational researches giving the impression that the term appreciation appears to be examined by different aspects. Though, it seems that there is an agreement that development of music appreciation, as it can be characterised by a more positive response to musical experience, varies among the pupils' (Hafteck, 2007; Swanwick &Taylor, 1982, p.6).

The pupils' music appreciation became a famous issue among the educational research during the twentieth century. Green (2008) explains that the movement 'aims to improve the musical understanding, taste and enjoyment of children, through an educated exposure to good music ...this involved guided listening to the music of great classical composers' (Green, 2008, p.78). It is obvious here that good music is being associated with European Western music, in which the pupil intended to be exposure to it.

However, the history of education argues that in the case that children are requested to appreciate music which is far removed from their lives, the listening to music is not enough to change their listening tastes and preferences. According to Green it seems to be achieved a more carefully and analytically listening to musical details when the pupils are requested also to play the music themselves afterwards. In order to curry on this activity it is demanded that the pupils will have the freedom of choosing the music of listening and performing, of course based on their own preferences. With this way, it is expected that most of the children could be able to analyse musical aspects such as sound quality, texture, instrumental part and musical structure. It is important to notice that the above mentioned movement had also in mind the same musical aspects, except of the point that the music will propose to be Western classical (Green, 2008, p.78).

Swanwick and Taylor (1982, p.6) in their book named 'Discovering Music' discuss the objective of developing audience music appreciation. As they suggest, musical appreciation does not necessarily demand pupils' ability to state a position of information regarding a music work and its composer. In contrast, the appreciation of music refers to the ability of responding in a 'positive and lively way' to a wide variety of music (Swanwick & Taylor, 1982, p.6).

This brings to the surface a discussion of the role of music education in schools today and the basis in which the music curriculum should be build. The conclusions regarding what musical traditions should be taught in school and the approaches of today music education should accept that all musicking is a 'real music'. More specifically, Small (1980) in his book 'Music-Society- Education', he discusses that the traditions of Western European music are established as an 'unchallenged norm'. Swanwick and Taylor add that the aim of music education is not to make all the pupils become professional performers or composers; the music teacher should not expect all pupils to become classical musicians. Indeed, music education across the world seems that has to leave the view that Western classical music is the superior tradition, which leads to a teaching approach, impoverishing the music curriculum. At nowadays, judgement such as: some types of music are simpler than Western European music tradition or 'classical' music is the superior, are based on one's individual scale of values. These considerations are less acceptable nowadays, as should deal with music of our nowadays lives and no longer with music traditions 'distant in terms of space and time' (Txakartegi & Gomez, 2008, p.343).

Furthermore, according to Haftek (2007) for music appreciation it is also needed to have a good understanding of the music structure and elements such as scales rhythms, music forms. However, training in music theory does not seem to be a necessary tool for the ability of music appreciation. Therefore, it seems that formal musical knowledge helps musician to understand better the music and how it works, but without providing meaningful musical experience. Plummeridge agree that in order to develop music appreciation effectively through musical understanding it will be vital for pupils to experience the variety of musical meanings (Lines, 2005). Appreciation in music demands both aesthetic and cultural understanding. Studying the western classical music, the pupils can expanded their aesthetic inquire and by studying the traditions, they could arrive at a better understanding of music and have a cultural understanding as well. However, music education should not 'interpret world music according to the traditions of western classical music' (Paynter, 1972). It seems inconceivable how any kind of new music could be interpreted through one particular moment of Western history.

Another example of teaching addressing with Western classical music is the use of notation. Again, a lot of researches have been presented an argument both, either for or against. Swanwick and Taylor maintains that notation in music education can be used to help us to study more carefully what happens through music or 'be a way of direct music experience' (1982, p. 76). Thereby, as they conclude, the value of notations in music appreciation depends on the way we approach them.

In many western countries the existing teaching style for music education is based on the view that the Western classical music is the superior while some more recent researches support that classical music is irrelevant to contemporary music education (Jorgensen, 2003). Dahlhaous represents the first school of thought and supports that the 'European music history since the Renaissance has advanced under the banner of ...'Greatness in Music' (Dahlhaous, 1989, p.9). There are also some music teachers who confront the musical cultures, except Western classical as a proposition (Gonzo, 1993). According to Green (2005) it is not enough for the teacher to place the wide range of music cultures on an equal value, but is more essentially to apply this approach in praxis. The problem is that some teachers just refer to aesthetic to wider range of a music variety, but still tend to operate within an aesthetic of western classical music autonomy. Recent research indicates that more reasonable assumptions might be approached on the point of view that European post-Renaissance classical tradition is only part, of what we call 'world music'.

It sounds reasonable that music lesson should not separating music from everyday life and should also contain a wide range of music. The music teachers should also take into consideration that new music could refers at any music across the world. This means that teachers are going to teach kinds of music which does not seems to have its origins to western classical music, or rather does not exist any link between each other, and this fact should be taken into consideration. Small (1998, pp. 207-222) continuing further the debate and argues that classical music is considered as the 'real music', maintains that as a result pupils who are not interested in this kind of music are considered to be unmusical. This indicates that music teachers have also the responsibility to take the social and cultural background as well as the personal identity of each pupil into a more serious consideration.

Music, as a part of culture, it is not static but dynamic and it could be supported that its nature 'adding questions regarding the value and viability of Western classical music' on nowadays music education (Gonzo, 2003, p.50). Keeping in mind that culture changes over time, music should also be faced with the same approach in the music education. It is also very important to know the origins of music and observe it with a broad cultural and historical context (Dahlhaous, 1989). But this does not mean that if the traditions of Western music are not being taught, then the pupils will not have the tools to appreciate the new music. Western music cannot be examined as something that implements you in order to appreciate other kind of music. Any music except western has to be examined with different points of view, under the different historical and social events that led to their generation. The teacher according Swanwick (1979) should have a good awareness of tension between tradition and innovation (Swanwick, 1979).

Indeed, the tradition of Western classical music has a lot to contribute to music education of today and should not be removed of our music curriculum. However, the above discussion is very essential and for similar questions might be taken into consideration and probably a part of the answer. Approaches such as the view of Western classical music and its traditions, as part of world music's history, will enrich the music education. Otherwise, if the music curriculum is centre-monocultural it might have negative impacts, impoverishing the music education today.

It is important that teachers and pupils should analyse new music based on its evaluation and they will not attempt to understand a non-Western music by using the methodology of Western classical music or in comparison with it. By this school of thought, it seems that western tradition might not supply the audience with specific tools in order to appreciate different kinds of music that western, which are included in new music as well. Additionally, it seems that the knowledge of the music and its traditions might be a tool that enables you appreciating new music. However, if the pupils receive knowledge according to the specific period of classical music, it probably means that the pupil will develop an ability of music appreciation from a western perspective. Paynter (1972) writes about the new music in the classroom that it should be wrong if we consider European western music as something extremely special. It is only one small part of the whole musical world richness.

In the middle of the twentieth century the musical concept has been changed. Contemporary music education should 'attempt to create new musical worlds out of different cultural and aesthetic traditions' (Ling, 2003). A broader perspective of music education that 'incorporating breadth, balance and relevance, can operate in a 'world musics programme in which Western classical tradition as well as non-Western musics find a place on a more equal footing' (Kwami, 1993, p.36).

In conclusion, the music curriculum could be enriched if it 'grasps Western classical music's history and place among the other world musics' (Jorgensen, 2003, p.137). The golden mean then seems to be on balance of Western and non-Western musical examples that the teacher includes to the music lesson to develop pupils musical appreciation to new music; neither the Western classical music should be removed from music curriculum, not over-emphasised its value.