From Institutionalized Musicality to Idiosyncratic Musickership: Calling a Paradigm into Question

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


The EAS conference theme “Craftsmanship & Artistry” confers the image that general music education in 21st western century society moves from a work-based (cf. Small 1998: 2) towards a performance-based definition of music. An example is the work of the MayDay-Group, which formulates many of its seven ideals for general music education in terms of music making (Regelski e.a. 2009: xxxii).This centrality of musicianship is not straightforward. Music is not one but a set of activities (Clarke 2005: 204), and for many music is meaningful in daily life without performance being central. Based on my own research of a varied selection of individuals narrating the importance of music in their lives, this article argues that craftsmanship and artistry are only two of many more ways of describing what music essentially “is”.We must take Cavicchi’s (2009) thesis on the bifurcation of everyday and institutionalized musicality and the resulting “irrelevance of music education” seriously. Musicianship can’t be positioned a-priori at the core of music education; its core must be located on the basis of research into what music means in the actual lives of actual people. This leads towards a more learner-centered approach to general music education in which each learner’s idio-syncratic “musicker-ship” is the starting point.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean perspectives on music education
EditorsAdri de Vugt, Isolde Malmberg
Place of PublicationRum bei Innsbruck
ISBN (Print)9783850619813
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • music education
  • idiocultural music education


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