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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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Composing and Improvising

Composing and Improvising

Chapter:
(p.165) 9 Composing and Improvising
Source:
Praxial Music Education
Author(s):

David J. Elliott

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385076.003.09

In his 1995 book Music Matters: A New Philosophy of Music Education, David Elliott argues that music is a form of intelligent action and knowledge. More specifically, he considers music (and the other arts) as modes of thinking and knowing. This chapter examines Elliott's praxial philosophy on composition and improvisation in relation to two central themes: composing and improvising as intentional activities capable of engaging students in reflective musical thinking; and the processes and products of composing and improvising as inseparable from the contexts in which they are situated. The more promising conception of music in Elliott's praxial philosophy of music education is grounded in an awareness of the importance of critical reflection in (not merely about) human action. Elliott conceives music making (which, he insists, always involves listening) as unfolding “thoughtfully and knowingly” through the intentional actions of “selecting, deploying, directing, adjusting, and judging”. Elliott also contends that composing and improvising are “situated”, meaning that they should be taught in context.

Keywords:   composition, improvisation, music, context, critical reflection, musical thinking, music making

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