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Music Education in Crisis

Music Education in Crisis: The Bernarr Rainbow Lectures and Other Assessments

Edited by Peter Dickinson
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    Music Education in Crisis
    Book Description:

    There is no question that music education is in crisis today. The place of music in the national curriculum is controversial; there have been cuts in the provision of individual lessons; and there have been severe reductions in government funding, with more planned. This book, containing the first five Bernarr Rainbow Lectures, makes an important and timely contribution to the debate on music education. Baroness Warnock brings the perspective of a distinguished philosopher to bear on issues about the nature of music and its study; Lord Moser urges us to maintain and expand what has been achieved since World War II; the late Professor John Paynter, responsible for the 1960s surge in creative approaches to music teaching, presents his case in two contributions; John Stephens discusses structures for music teaching and then, in a second contribution, brings everything up to date; and Professor Gavin Henderson traces his own colourful career and supports music for all ages. Also included is the 2005 Royal Philharmonic Society by the Master of the Queen's Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies; an assessment from Bernarr Rainbow himself, written late in his life; an indictment from Wilfrid Mellers; and two reviews of Bernarr Rainbow on Music: Memoirs and Selected Writings, showing the continuing importance of his work fifteen years after his death. This book is part of the series Classic Texts in Music Education, edited by Professor Peter Dickinson, and supported by the Bernarr Rainbow Trust. Peter Dickinson is a British composer, writer and pianist and authorand editor of books on Lennox Berkeley, Copland, Cage, Barber and Berners.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-221-1
    Subjects: Music, Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. Introduction and Acknowledgements
    (pp. VII-XI)

    The first five bernarr rainbow lectures have been delivered over a period of twelve years. Each of the lectures conveys an individual message of relevance and distinction, and an awareness of what Bernarr Rainbow stood for in his life’s work bound up with music education.¹ The publication of these lectures is an integral part of the ongoing Rainbow heritage, supported by the Bernarr Rainbow Trust, with further material to come.

    Issues in the politics of education move so fast that there are inevitably references in all these lectures that rapidly became out of date. So we have invited John Stephens...

  4. Bernarr Rainbow: A Biographical Note
    (pp. XIII-XIV)

    • Music and the Imagination
      (pp. 3-18)

      It is a great honour to have been asked to inaugurate the Bernarr Rainbow Lectures and I am extremely grateful for the chance to honour a great teacher and a great historian of education, as well as a musician. I believe, as he did, in the central importance of music education, especially in school, and it is this that will be my theme this evening. Bernarr Rainbow would, I hope, have had some sympathy with this choice of topic. But, of course, his interests were much wider than this: he was a scholar in the history not merely of education...

    • Music and Education: Towards a Non-Philistine Society
      (pp. 19-36)

      As I was thinking about this lecture, my mind kept going back to childhood in Berlin. Inevitably my main thought was of the beginnings of one of the most evil times in history – which none of us can ever forget. But I also remember with gratitude that it was in those years that my lifelong passion for music took root. In the 1920s and pre-Hitler’s 1930s, there was probably no other country as culture-rich as Germany. Berlin’s musical life was exciting beyond belief, and any child with the slightest interest in great music had a wonderful time.

      I was...

    • Music in the School Curriculum: Why Bother?
      (pp. 37-56)

      In spite of centuries of experience and experiment, the practicalities and benefits of general education – schooling – remain uncertain. Can we sustain the spread of subjects that now make up the curriculum? In particular, can we justify time spent on music, which to many would appear to be a specialised study for the talented? The evidence of past practice suggests that the content of classroom music teaching has not done much to help the majority of people to understand music. Yet making music is manifestly an important feature of our humanity. Are there principles at work deep in the...

    • A Provocative Perspective on Music Education Today
      (pp. 57-78)

      Half a century ago this year I first stood in front of a class of secondary-school pupils as their music master, without a hint of imagining that I might one day have the honour to be invited to give a lecture in the name of a distinguished and much-respected music educator of the time, Bernarr Rainbow. I humbly offer this perspective on music education today to honour him and the countless practitioners and thinkers who have, over the years, influenced my own career and who continue to shape the future course of music education.

      The provocation suggested by the title...

    • Two-Score Years and Then? Reflections and Progressions from a Life in Participatory Music and Arts
      (pp. 79-96)

      I feel very honoured, and not a little daunted, to be giving this talk under the auspices of the Bernarr Rainbow Trust. As a former Principal of Trinity College of Music it was my privilege to bestow Honorary Fellowship upon Bernarr Rainbow in recognition of his untiring and inspirational work in music education. We were lucky to have Peter Dickinson as one of our Board Members at that time, and Peter has of course done so much to keep the influence of Bernarr Rainbow very much alive, not least in the support offered by the eponymous trust.

      When we discussed...


    • Will Serious Music Become Extinct?
      (pp. 99-114)

      The other evening, after my usual full day of writing music, I turned on BBC Radio 3, and was immediately immersed in Bach’s St Matthew Passion. I felt privileged to be put so easily into touch with one of the greatest creative minds in our history, which had drawn together into one glowing, unified whole such diverse cultural threads – religious, historical and literary, alongside musical traditions. I reflected that through education I have access to all this, while at the same time regretting that the vast majority of people are unaware of it: not only unaware, but sometimes antagonistic,...


    • What Happened to the Music?
      (pp. 117-126)

      The five Bernarr Rainbow Lectures span a decade from the first, delivered by Baroness Warnock in October 1999, to the last, given in May 2010 by Professor Gavin Henderson. Drawing on his own considerable experience in music and the arts, Henderson’s ‘Reflections and Progressions’ relate to notions of improvement: every new initiative is an upgrade.

      Progress can imply change, but whether or not it is an improvement upon what went before is dependent upon individual values and philosophy, opportunities and, not least, resources. Many today who are committed to the fundamental rationale for music education, as set out in the...


    • Music Education, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
      (pp. 129-138)

      Contrary to common opinion, reminiscence over a long life does not automatically mean thinking that nothing now is as good as it used to be; and that everything – music education included – has gone to the dogs. Once unshakeable Victorian belief in the inevitability of human progress may have received a battering during the past century’s disasters. But in the field of music education at least, remarkable progress has clearly been made since music lessons were reintroduced into the generality of English schools during the nineteenth century. However, that does not mean that perfection has been reached – and...

    • Keeping Music Musical
      (pp. 139-144)

      In 1906 that most innovative of british architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens, built his first completely classical country house. His client was a rich Yorkshireman who, understandably, was anxious to see not only that he got value for money but also that he got exactly what he wanted. Touring the unfinished building with the architect, the client was shown the proposed position for a black marble staircase. ‘But I don’t want a black marble staircase’, he said, ‘I want an oak one.’ ‘What a pity’, said Lutyens. Some months later they visited the house again and the client was surprised to...

    • Music: The Breath of Life
      (pp. 145-150)

      My professional career parallels Sir Frank Callaway’s; and since I am even older than he, I can pay heartfelt tribute to the decisive changes that he, more than anyone, effected in the prospects for music education. There can to my mind be no doubt as to what was the most significant change in attitudes to music education that occurred during our careers, hopefully given committed pushes by both of us. To put it crudely, music education became less a study of historical artefacts arranged in chronological sequence, and more a cultivation of music as ongoing activity. Of course, this was...


    • The Wrong Title?
      (pp. 153-160)
    • An American Perspective
      (pp. 161-164)

    • Classic Texts in Music Education
      (pp. 167-172)
    • Awards Made by The Bernarr Rainbow Trust, 1997–2012
      (pp. 173-178)
  11. Index
    (pp. 179-186)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 187-187)