The Good and its Relation to Music Education


An aesthetic distinction between good music and the good in music is crucial for a philosophy of music education. Ultimately, it is not the music's fault, as it were, that someone may view it as being 'not good' in either a social or aesthetic context. Regardless of how music is colored it remains an entity unto itself and thus untouched by our pronouncements. Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations recognized the falseness of such propositions as biased pronouncements taking the form of bad 'x' or good 'x.' Thus we may seek the good within the music if we know how to define what we mean by that. This approach allows music to be conceptualized and framed in a meaningful educational context. In such a way Plato and Aristotle attempted a conceptualization of the 'good' and the 'ungood' in the music of their time, as did Adorno in the preceding century. Although this context still does not allow pronouncements of music as good or bad, it does allow a seeking of its educational utility and unlimited potentiality in the name of an aesthetic and moral understanding.