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Praxial Music EducationReflections and Dialogues$
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David J Elliott

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385076

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385076.001.0001

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Understanding Musical Understanding

Understanding Musical Understanding

(p.98) 5 Understanding Musical Understanding
Praxial Music Education

David J. Elliott

Oxford University Press

“Understanding” is a common — and commonly misunderstood — concept in music education. This chapter examines the concept of musical understanding by looking at the views of David Elliott as expressed in his book Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education (1995). In North America, Elliott's praxial philosophy has been received as a basic contribution to the philosophical foundations of music education. In order to understand the nature of musical understanding, this chapter discusses the biologically and neuronally determined conditions of human understanding. Elliott's praxial philosophy is very much in accordance with the neurobiological foundations of musical understanding. He introduced the concept of musicing, which describes the processes of music making (in all its forms: improvising, composing, arranging, and conducting) and the manifestation of musical reflection in performance. A praxial approach to developing musical understanding integrates so-called practical and mental skills; it brings together doing, making, feeling and thinking; and it complements action with reflection, which Elliott describes as ”reflection-in-action”.

Keywords:   musical understanding, music, musicing, reflection-in-action, feeling

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