Several youngsters need and use art based expressions to communicate their feelings, experiences and ideas. In the presentation I will show an example of a girls’ message communicated through musical lyrics, which should never been said with just spoken or written words as available forms of expressions. To be able to handle different forms of expressions is a human right. But even if this is something that we all can agree upon, several questions have to be formulated. Who are all of us? What is democracy? What does it mean to ”own” and handle a form of expression? What constitute the process of embodying a form of language? What frames does the Swedish curriculum and syllabus of music give to the process? What challenges and priorities do music educators achieve from Hannah Arendt’s writings in this respect?As a starting point I will share some relevant expressions from the curricula for Swedish primary, and lower secondary schools, which enlighten democratic values, equality and uniqueness in relation to varied forms of expression. For example the directions from the government say that all pupils shall have the possibility to develop as listeners, composers and musicians. All pupils shall also show basic knowledge in relation to the standards or achievement criteria of all areas, mentioned in the syllabuses.In the paper I will use Hannah Arendt’s thinking about democracy to explore possibilities and challenges for music education within and outside the music classroom in Swedish schools. A crucial starting point in Arendt’s thinking was the balance between Vita Activa (the action life), consisting of work, production and action, and Vita Contemplativa (the philosophical thinking life) consisting of different ways of thinking. Arendt sought to see and make connections between the two possible. She meant that Vita Activa takes place in the world wherein we are born, through speech and action, where actors and audience depend on each other. In the social context we become clear to our selves and to others through interaction. In those interactive activities we need different forms of languages to try, modify, and create ideas and insights. But to reach common sense, we also need to step back, Arendt says, and think, imagine, value and reflect.We have to review critically, see through others’ perspective to be able to create our own meaning, Arendt underlines. Consequently, diversity constitutes a prerequisite for the individual, social interaction constitutes unique human beings. At the same time the public sphere, for example school areas, are created by unique individuals, who in collaboration can create new chains of actions, and by that widen the sphere to become something new. Depending on which human beings that are interacting within a common place, the common space creates a specific base for specific individuals and personalities to develop. Diversities such as class, gender, geography, economy and musical belonging are present and could be taken into account and viewed as possibilities for conversations, contradictions, exchanges, imagination and new learning, with unknown results. It becomes important to be heard, and listened to.Questions that have to be elaborated upon when using Arendt’s view of democracy are for example; Who is expected to make their voices heard, who is seen as a possible participant, and who has access to the specific areas? At the informal seminar of Philosophy in Music Education Society I will discuss how and to what extent Arendt’s thoughts about democracy can be used to put light on how Swedish schools, based on expressions in the current curricula, can offer Music as a language for all, with specific focus on gender and ethnicity.
Athen, 2012. 4-5 p.
Music Education Philosophy as a Call for Dissent: An Informal Symposium : Gathering of the International Society for Philosophy of Music Education 13/07/2012 - 15/07/2012