The Curriculum Design Process in Music

October 1, 1988

In this essay I shall suggest an approach to curriculum design in music which, while taking account of important external factors, establishes the teacher's experience as a central element in the process and implies that the teacher's task is a professional as opposed to a merely technical one and an artistic rather than simply a craftmaking enterprise. While my focus is on the broader philosophical issues related to the development of a paradigm of the curriculum design process in music, I shall offer some examples that illustrate how each phase of this process operates in practice. It may then be imaginatively applied by each music teacher within the context of her or his specific area of expertise.

Curriculum design involves a movement from philosophical premise to practical reality, a quantum leap from a higher order to a lower order of generality and a corresponding increase in the number of practical options that reflect this generality. Two examples illustrate. The statement "All children have the right to enjoy and learn about music" may be translated into a variety of school music methods—Kodaly, Jaques-Dalcroze, Orff-Keetman, Suzuki, Carabo-Cone, to name a few1—all different visions of exactly how this statement should be interpreted. They are all basic solutions to the same general problem: how to provide all children with an education so that they enjoy and learn about music. Yet when each of these methods is carefully examined, different implicit and explicit assumptions emerge about how, what, when, where, and why children should learn music, each embodying a unique vision of the specific objectives and methods that music educators espouse.2 Similarly, the statement "All performance majors in music should have ensemble experience during the course of their undergraduate training" may be interpreted in a variety of ways specifying exactly what ensemble experience is desirable; how, when, and where it should be acquired; and what literature should be studiedeach representing different implicit and explicit assumptions about how this general principle should be put into practice.

I use the word curriculum to refer to the content of instruction,3 including both the intended and resultant curriculum—i.e., what is intended or planned as well as what is resultant or produced after intended content, modified during the instructional or interactive process between teacher and student, has been shared. While the intended curriculum may be discovered in course outlines or curricular guides, the resultant curriculum becomes evident in the content and approaches or methods actually covered in the instructional process. Each implies a very different method of inquiry. Further, each can be looked at from different levels of generality. The lesson plan is just as much a statement of intent, albeit at a more specific level, as is the course outline viewed at a higher level of generality. Both are forms of intended curriculum. The term curriculum design implies the translation of general assumptions and beliefs about content into specific intentions and subsequent realities, that is, into both intended and resultant curricula.

Curriculum design has historically been based on the four general questions (or some variant of them) raised by Ralph W. Tyler:4 "What educational purposes should the school seek to attain?" "How can learning experiences be selected which are likely to be useful in attaining these objectives?" "How can learning experiences be organized for effective instruction?" and "How can effectiveness of learning experiences be evaluated?" While it has often been interpreted as a closed system, curriculum design, as I see it, is in a constant state of "becoming." It is an open system or a dynamic process.5

Tyler's curricular paradigm has not been without its critics in recent years. For instance, Joseph J. Schwab argues that its use has led to an excessively theoretical emphasis in curriculum that has proved bankrupt.6 Some reconceptualists feel that it merits reexamination from a critical perspective.7 There is always a danger, though, that in the enthusiasm to clean the conceptual house of curriculum the positive contributions inherent in Tyler's paradigm may be overlooked. My approach is to recognize that this paradigm both enables some useful distinctions that warrant further refinement and revisioning and provides a useful approach in the conceptualization of the dynamic movement from theoretic assumption to practical reality and back to theoretic assumption—where these are considered, as Israel Scheffler notes, to be interrelated and interdependent entities.8

Curriculum design is rooted in philosophical questions: Why am I here? What am I doing? What do I want to accomplish? What are the constraints on my freedom of action to do what I would like to do? Decisions on method—How shall I get the job done most efficiently and effectively?—are predicated on a response to these questions and follow in course. This is not, however, a simple matter, especially where several visions of curriculum prevail, some of which may be conflicting, or where a particular vision may have several possible practical translations. How does a teacher reconcile or evaluate these disparate visions?9

As a suggested approach to this problem I shall sketch a working list of principles that may serve as a guide in the process of moving from philosophy to practice in curriculum. While I make no claim for its exhaustiveness, the list represents considerations that derive from my observation and experience of the process of curriculum design. They form values that are existentially known, notions of ideal states or objectives apprehended by teachers and toward which they strive but which nevertheless remain more or less elusive in practice, and means by which teachers can systematically consider the multiplicity of philosophical assumptions and practical curricular implications. As such, they are individually and intuitively known in the light of teachers' past and present experience and apply over the long term rather than simply in the immediate situation. This notion implies the importance of sociological as well as psychological and physical determinants of teacher expectations.10 It suggests that teachers differ both qualitatively and quantitatively in their conceptualizations of these values. A tension exists between what they apprehend to be desirable (the existentially-known ideal) and possible (within the constraints of a particular situation in the real world). Indeed, the simultaneous operation of these principles creates tensions that must be resolved by a particular teacher in the context of a given and specific set of circumstances.

Economy has to do with the most efficient use of resources. This principle derives from the recognition that the means or resources needed to translate intended curriculum into resultant curriculum are in limited supply and must therefore be used in the most efficient manner possible. It implies economy of means in instruction: that the teacher chooses a curriculum which enables the most cost-effective use of time, energy, money, and materials in its translation. This process of resource allocation in school music has been explored in a preliminary way elsewhere.11

Richness refers to the need for diversity and variety in the curriculum; for fullness, completeness, breadth, and depth of perspective and experience. It relates not only to the content of subject matter but also to the methods and resources used in the instructional process. This principle may be defended on two grounds. First, the plethora of curricular visions and possibilities, each of which constitutes a partial or incomplete view, suggests that a fuller knowledge is achieved when many visions are included. Second, there is a sense in which the artist's creation symbolizes the epitome of luxury without regard to cost, the employment of all that is needed to fashion a thing of beauty without compromise. Thus when viewed as an "eclectic art," or the way in which the various curricular images resulting from a particular philosophical perspective are reconciled and translated into practice, curriculum design might also be expected to exemplify this characteristic.12

Balance involves the weighing of alternative, possibly competing, and even conflicting philosophical perspectives or curricular directions in order to avoid extremes and to ensure appropriate weighting to each perspective or curricular alternative. It relates to a variety of aspects such as curricular objectives, methods, repertoire, and the relationship between variety and repetition in the curriculum. This principle may be defended by reference to the classical notion of balance historically regarded as an ideal in music and art, and therefore appropriate to curriculum design conceived of as an eclectic art.13

Realism concerns the practicality of the curriculum; the necessity of its being capable of translation from a vision to the real world of a particular time and place. Typically, it centers on such aspects as teacher expectations of students (for example, their intelligence, musicality, knowledge, and physical development) and of themselves, other colleagues and administrators.

Structure relates to the organization and articulation of the curriculum—its content, scope and sequence, and hierarchy of objectives. This principle presumes that such articulation enables clarity of presentation of material (conceived broadly as the notion of the student's encounter with the material by a variety of specific instructional methods) and, thereby, more efficient student learning. It may be defended on philosophical as well as physiological and psychological grounds on the basis that "significant form" or articulated structure is a characteristic of works of art or objects of beauty.14 As an eclectic art, curriculum design might be expected to demonstrate this quality.

Ethical acceptability denotes the necessity for a correspondence of the curriculum to the mores, values, and rules of the society or sponsoring social group, for example, the concurrence of elitist or universalistic values implicit in the curriculum with those in the society or social group.15

Excellence denotes musical and aesthetic ideals of repertoire, performance practice, and teacher exposition. This principle implies a search for perfection in the arts—a quality that might also be thought to characterize curriculum design when viewed as an eclectic art.16

Consistency refers to the logical criterion of internal consistency in the curriculum—of curricular content with philosophical assumptions and of each part of the curriculum with all the other parts.

Correspondence denotes the logical criterion of a fit of theory and evidence—the correspondence of the curriculum with evidence from research in such areas as physiology, psychology, and sociology in regard to specific questions of aesthetic development, teaching, learning, and instruction. It implies the assumption of the best extant practice in curriculum.

Coherence refers to the logical integration of the curriculum as an integral whole—the notion of the parts fitting together as a unit and of the desirability of unity in the whole.

Relevance denotes the relationship of the curriculum to contemporary society—the assumption that the knowledge implicit and explicit in the curriculum is deemed worthwhile or useful by the sponsoring society or social group.

Personal preference relates to the teacher's interests and skills, agreement with or belief in the efficacy of the curriculum. This is based on the assumption that teachers will approach the instructional process in more or less individualistic ways, in the context of their own personalities and teaching styles. They will be most effective when they believe in the curriculum, feel that it suits them, find it compatible with their perceived teaching styles, and believe that it will be appropriate for their students.

Utility denotes the pragmatic results of the curriculum that have been historically evident—whether it has "worked" in the past and can reasonably be assumed to work in the present or future. This aspect differs from realism in that it concerns not so much an individual teacher's expectations as judgments about what kinds of pragmatic results the curriculum has had or can be expected to have when put in place at an institutional or societal level. Whereas correspondence denotes a fit between the curricular assumptions and evidence, utility represents the fit between intended curricular outcomes and the evidence of the resultant curriculum in the wider view.

Based on these principles, I am proposing a process-oriented rather than a product-oriented approach to curriculum design in music that is particularly appropriate in the context of sociocultural change and imperfect knowledge.17 Specifics differ over time and from place to place. Over time, technological inventions result in a change in the nature of music programs, school populations vary in composition and size, staff and administration changes result in an alteration of the environment in which the curriculum is used, and societal changes necessitate a corresponding curricular response. Also, specific administrative arrangements vary and societal and cultural contexts differ from one place to another. Moreover, in the absence of perfect knowledge, expectations may not be realized and curricular adjustment over both time and place may be necessitated.

Two assumptions underlie this curriculum design process. First, a five-phase decision-making process moving generally from problem through search, choice, implementation, to evaluation (but permitting regression to previous phases or omission of phases) is operative. As each decisional cycle generates a new one, all of these phases can be described in terms of aesthetic, ethical, causal, numerical, spatial, and temporal elements.18 Further, they each relate to several dimensions of music education, notably teaching, learning, curriculum, administration, instruction, and systematic musicology.19 The utility of this paradigm lies in a recognition that the solution to and evaluation of one problem may itself give rise to yet another problem; that temporal, spatial, numerical, causal, ethical, and aesthetic constraints operate at each decisional phase; and that a curricular decision has possible implications for other aspects of music pedagogy noted above.

Second, there is a dialectic or tension between the desirable and the possible, between what teachers want to do and what they can do. Constraints in this vision are viewed as creative possibilities, both restricting and enabling, that operate in respect of each phase in the process of curriculum design. A synthesis of elements of the desirable and the possible results in the realizable, the reality of "what is".

The curriculum design process constitutes a movement from philosophical premise to intended curriculum and thence to resultant curriculum as a consequence of the interface of the curriculum and instruction, and from the general toward the specific. This involves successive phases of development: general objectives, general program outline, specific objectives, specific curricular plan, specific lesson strategies, and translation of curriculum into instruction.

The general objectives on which the intended curriculum is based arise as a result of several factors. These may include the teacher's professional training, cultural background, attitudes, beliefs and values, knowledge of music and other subjects, and external influences on her or him arising from such things as music syllabi or fellow colleagues' expectations. Each curriculum reflects a teacher's unique assumptive frame of reference; his or her belief- or expectation-set.20 By virtue of her or his life experience to that point, a teacher has personal and professional limitations, biases, beliefs, and expectations that together make up the subjective basis for the general objectives for the curriculum.21 Each music curriculum, then, might reasonably be expected to be unique, reflecting the individual who develops it. Even in the case of a curriculum designed for wide use as a music syllabus, professional teachers must be free to develop curricula that are distinctive. To deny this freedom is to deprive them of opportunities to develop imaginative curricular solutions appropriate for the particular circumstances in which they find themselves. Various types of general objectives are considered by the teacher, be they the development of performance skills, attitudes to music, or understanding of the history and theory of music. The teacher typically arrives at some sort of balance of these sometimes competing or even conflicting objectives. In each case she or he takes into account the desirable and the possible in determining realizable general objectives. Moreover, the teacher's past experience is modified by what happens in the present. His or her values may change over time, resulting in a possible tension between past and present values. This ongoing revision in the "pool" of teacher experience gives rise to changing general objectives that are also rethought within a dynamic process of ongoing reevaluation.

A choral conductor joins a university school of music with definite opinions as to the general objectives she would like to implement in the choral department. As the years pass, her performance experience grows, she is influenced by other colleagues, and her objectives evolve. At first, she wishes to develop her conducting experience and to perform a wide range of choral repertoire in the Western tradition. Later, she specializes in conducting the choral music of a given period, major choral-orchestral works, or choral music from non-Western traditions. Her statements of general objectives seem more philosophic than specific in nature: "All choral students at this school will be exposed to choral-orchestral masterworks representative of all major historical periods." Or, "During this year, students will gain an understanding of Baroque choral performance practice." Obviously, these statements may be interpreted in a variety of practical ways.

The general program outline follows the formulation of general objectives and constitutes a sketch of the major elements of the program. It may be likened to the skeleton on which the teacher fleshes out subsequent detail. Students need a structure or a framework on which to hang ideas. Before they can be expected to have such a structure, their teachers must first have it clearly in mind. In the absence of this framework of more general ideas, a curriculum has the appearance of being a loosely organized string of topics rather than of an integrated and articulated structure of topics at different levels of generality. In order to achieve this structure it is useful to organize a set of major units or topics of study that focus on each of the general objectives previously outlined. In so doing, it is important that teachers not only take into account the necessity for integration and progression in the curriculum but bear in mind their students' perspectives and perceived needs at that time.22 In the process of translating general objectives into a general program outline they consider what they would like to do against what is indeed possible in arriving at a realizable general program outline.

A historian is to teach a course in the literature of the classic period for non-music majors. Having outlined some general objectives—students will study the music of a few classical composers in depth, will be given the tools to listen more effectively to classical literature, and will be actively involved in the listening process by the use of scores, graphs, and other visual material, among others—he draws up a general program. At this point he considers not only what he would like to do but a variety of practical realities, including the time limitations of the course, the expected size of the class, and his own knowledge of and specific interests in the subject. His general program is stated as follows: "This course of illustrated lectures will focus on the music of the Viennese classical school with Haydn and Mozart as principal exemplars. Two central themes will be addressed, notably, the essence of the classic aesthetic (where classicism is apposed to romanticism), and the nature of the formal contributions by Haydn and Mozart, illustrated with instrumental, choral, and operatic examples. A sketch of some important pre-classical social and musical developments will set the stage for the body of the course in which the two above-mentioned themes will be taken up with reference first to Haydn, then to Mozart. A consideration of Beethoven as a transitional figure between classic and romantic music will serve as a conclusion to the course."

The teacher then develops specific objectives, decides what specific elements will be included and in what balance, and considers not only the necessity for curricular continuity and structure but its integration within student experience. She or he systematically fills out the detail of objectives with a hierarchy of objectives at lower levels of generality. I am not thinking here of objectives construed only in behavioristic terms but of the wider notion of objectives whose outcomes might be apprehended intuitively as well as rationally.23 The tension between the desirable and the possible is again evident in the formulation of specific objectives.

A music educator is to teach a graduate course in the foundations of music education. General objectives have been articulated. Not only will students be introduced to important literature in the foundations of music education, but they will actively participate in the learning process. Based on these and other objectives, she has drawn up a general program outlining the main elements of the course. It is to be a three-part seminar based on selected readings in the history, philosophy, and sociology of music education, framed by an introduction and conclusion. Specific issues have been chosen within each of these areas. Historical foundations of American music education are to be examined in terms of their European and indigenous roots, each reviewed in historical sequence. Philosophical foundations are to be broken down into three major topics: the nature of musical experience, the nature of educational experience, and the place of music in education. Sociological foundations are similarly to be examined topically with reference to social context and musical meaning, and the concept of music education as socialization. Following from this general plan, she now develops specific objectives. For example, respecting the philosophical foundations, her specific objectives may be stated as follows: "Students will be acquainted with the ideas of Dewey, Ives, Sessions, Langer, and Copland as they relate to the experience of Art (and music)." "Students will read and discuss Dewey on educational experience, Whitehead on the aims of education, and Bruner on the process of education." "Students will be familiar with the ideas of Plato, Schiller, and Read on education through Art (including music)."

The teacher is now in a position to develop a specific plan based on the specific objectives previously formulated. There is presently a vogue of presenting this plan in terms of specific "instructional objectives" or "intended learning outcomes"—the result of positivistic thinking in music education where the process becomes of lesser importance than the resultant product.24 One approach to emphasizing process is to list activities/projects or repertoire to be studied.25 It is important to see this list of activities as a plan, not an imperative; as a dynamic, not a static entity. Within it are the implications for change along the way, of subsequent alterations as the teacher deems necessary. The teacher may discover, for example, that certain repertoire does not suit the particular student or ensemble as well as other pieces that are substituted for the original selections. The metaphor of journey is implicit; the notion of curriculum as a journey drawing from the roots of a teacher's experience but becoming an integral part of the student's experience as well.26 The teacher is again constrained in drawing up this plan by a tension between the desirable and the possible—between what she or he would like to do and can do.

A college piano teacher recognizes that his student has several significant repertoire gaps. The student may have performed technically more difficult or longer works without ever playing some of the technically easier or shorter works, and have had little exposure to chamber music or the concerto literature for piano. The teacher's general objective is to remedy these omissions and, accordingly, he constructs a general plan of action. After thinking through his more specific objectives for the student, deciding what level and quantity of repertoire can be assigned to this student at this particular time, determining which specific technical problems can and must be addressed, and considering the various repertoire options open to him, among other issues, the teacher then formulates a specific plan: "This semester, the student will study the following pieces and will prepare them from memory." He lists the specific repertoire (mentally or in writing). The list is only a plan. It allows for change during the term. If he has assigned too much or too little material, an adjustment may be made. In the event that the student would prefer to play a piece not listed by the teacher, a substitution may be made. This approach allows the teacher and student a flexibility that they would not have if the specific plan were conceived of as an imperative.

Specific lesson strategies are now developed from the curricular plan. Here, the teacher breaks down the material into units appropriate to such specific circumstances as lesson length, student age, level and type of instruction, and decides on the particular method of instruction to be employed in each case. Each strategy represents the curricular plan in microcosm and exemplifies a tension between what is desirable and what is possible under a set of specific circumstances. Within it are the seeds of change—the possibility (indeed, the likelihood) that it will have to be changed in the context of the instructional process.

Tomorrow a graduate class will continue a discussion of assigned readings on structural/functional and processual approaches to the analysis of social events in music. Yesterday, the class examined approaches by Silbermann and Adorno, and tomorrow they will discuss those of Ezkorn and Honigsheim. The class numbers six, is being conducted as a seminar, and meets twice a week. Each student is responsible for leading the discussion of an assigned reading and each 75-minute period has been broken down into three parts, so that during the course of a week all presenters may have equal time. In preparation for this lesson the teacher refreshes her mind as to the material to be covered and thinks through the specific aspects that she would like to contribute, envisioning, as it were, the coming class session and mentally preparing for it.

Now a specific lesson strategy translates into an actual lesson in which plan takes some real form in the classroom. At this point curriculum directly interfaces with instruction, highlighting the centrality of the instructional process within music education.27 During the course of instruction, the teacher intuitively recognizes the dialectic between what is desirable and what is possible, and improvises strategies as he or she goes along. Thus, resultant curriculum may not equate intended curriculum.

During the course of a theorist's meticulously prepared lecture/presentation on the 6-4 chord, replete with piano and recorded examples and handout sheets, it is clear that several students are not following his explanation. When asked about a particular example, he is certain that there has been a problem in his exposition. He now must take a different approach to ensure that the students comprehend his meaning. So he explains the concept in another way, using different examples, improvising as he goes. As a result, he cannot cover all the material he intended to present and the actual lesson is somewhat different from his plan.

The teacher's response to the lesson is a subjectively perceived one and relates to several factors: personal reflection on her or his professional training, cultural background, attitudes, beliefs, values, knowledge base, and external influences—those factors that form the source of the general objectives in the first place; perception of what other actors in the process such as students, colleagues, administrators, and parents might think of this curriculum; and consideration of the various temporal, spatial, numerical, causal, ethical, and aesthetic constraints operative at a given time and place. Evaluation and constraint impact at each phase of the curriculum design process from the formation of general objectives to the translation of curriculum into instruction in the context of the lesson, resulting in a dynamic process where all the elements are subject to review or change.

A thesis adviser completes an intensive session of working through a dissertation proposal with a doctoral student, and reflects on the way the session went. Is this student working well? Should she give more assistance to the student? If so, what form should that assistance take? If not, what specific information would be of use to the student? She mulls over the session that has just passed, evaluating what has happened and preparing either to proceed as in the past or to modify her approach. In so doing, she reflects on her approach to thesis supervision in general, or in respect of this particular student, and a curriculum design process begins anew.

The curricular design process just described has several general implications for music education conceived as extending from elementary to advanced levels of musical instruction. It provides a means whereby teachers may systematically conceptualize the subject that will be presented to the student. Percy Scholes writes that "exposition" (or the explanation of musical concepts) is an art that music teachers ought to be interested in.28 The ability to frame apt or simple but accurate definitions, to clarify musical concepts so that explanations are uncluttered by extraneous detail, is a part of this art. Teachers must also clearly see the structure of concepts and their relationship one to another before they can impart it to their students and the approach outlined above is of assistance to them in their preparation for this task.

Also, this process suggests how teachers can systematically ponder their personal strengths and weaknesses, examine their objectives for musical instruction, think through their subject matter, and weigh the relative emphasis on each facet of the material. To follow it is to ensure that they will have considered not only the philosophical aspects of their musical curriculum but the practical ones as well and vice versa.

This paradigm of curriculum design also dignifies the teacher's task. The curriculum becomes a way by which music teachers express their professional judgments as to why, what, how, when, and where aspects of music should be taught. Rather than being treated as technicians who use prepared methods without examining which fit best with their objectives in a given set of circumstances, teachers can select the approaches that are, in their professional judgment, appropriate for their personalities, professional training, and experience, the particular and changing circumstances in which they find themselves, and the perceived needs of their students.29

Further, this curriculum-design process implies that the teacher articulates a rationale for the curriculum before developing specific curricular content. Each aspect of the curriculum therefore has a philosophical base; each part derives from the prior phase. Because the teacher has first addressed the philosophical questions—the questions, why, what, when, where, and how—each element of the curriculum takes on additional meaning for the teacher, empowering his or her teaching.

As well, the use of this approach gives added meaning to the curriculum, which becomes not simply a string of topics one after another designed to fill in the time available but a significant, developmentally sequenced body of substantive content. The curriculum is expressed not simply as a list of generalizations but as a highly specific set of statements developed for given students in a particular milieu.30 Moreover, its meaning is derived not only in terms of the parts of a particular course, but more broadly, with respect to the various courses within a given program, or music courses within the available school or university offerings.

The use of this curriculum design process constitutes a discipline for teachers, of particular assistance to those who as yet have had relatively little experience in building curricula. Any art requires detailed and meticulous preparation. As Scholes notes, teaching a class in music listening is not just a matter of walking "into the classroom with a couple of gramophone records in your hand and a couple of vague ideas in your head."31 The teacher's respect for the art of exposition leads her or him to develop the curriculum carefully in order to present material in the most effective way.

And last, this approach highlights the unique contribution of each teacher, his or her individual worth, and the importance of divergent visions and different perspectives in music teaching.

1See the issue of the Music Educators Journal 76/6 (1986) entitled "Major Approaches to Music Education."

2Joseph J. Schwab addresses the question of the multiplicity of images generated by a movement from the theoretical to the practical which he calls the "eclectic arts" in his article "The Practical: Arts of Eclectic," School Review 79 (1971): 493-542, and Israel Scheffler offers a critique and refinement of Schwab's ideas in his book Reason and Teaching (Indianapolis and New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1973), chapter 16.

3See also Estelle R. Jorgensen, "On a Theory of Music Pedagogy," Psychology of Music 8 (1980): 25-30.

4Ralph W. Tyler, Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949).

5This notion of curriculum design as a dynamic process enables the reconciliation of, and encompasses within it, a variety of curricular images. See William H. Schubert, Curriculum: Perspective, Paradigm, and Possibility (New York: Macmillan, 1986), chapter 2.

6Joseph J. Schwab, "The Practical: Arts of Eclectic." See also his The Practical: A Language for Curriculum (Washington, D.C.: National Education Association, 1970). As noted in Schubert, Curriculum, 173, Schwab follows an Aristotelian sense of the word "theoretic" as oriented toward abstract theory in contrast to the notion of "practical" as addressing the experienced state-of-affairs in education.

7See William Pinar, ed., Curriculum Theorizing: The Reconceptualists (Berkeley: McCutchan, 1975).

8See Scheffler, Reason and Teaching, 187-89.

9In Reason and Teaching, Scheffler notes the necessity of a careful evaluation of competing theories (pp. 194-95), points to the essential "linkage of philosophical and practical concerns" (p. 32), and notes some of the rules by which curriculum may be justified philosophically (pp. 116-25). My intent here is to spell out in more detail some of the principles which Scheffler has described (viz., logical, ethical and moral, and pragmatic considerations) but which I arrived at independently by way of personal observation and experience. Scheffler looks at the problem of justifying curricular decisions whereas I am more concerned with the issue of developing curricular decisions or with curriculum design. These are two sides of the same coin.

10The importance of social elements as factors in the determination of an individual's understanding of reality is argued in Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (New York: Doubleday, 1966).

11See Estelle R. Jorgensen, "On Resource Allocation in School Music," in Proceedings of the McGill Symposium in School Music Administration, 1979, ed. E.R. Jorgensen (Montreal: Faculty of Music, McGill University, 1980), 22-37. Scheffler, Reason and Teaching, 123-25, places a similar notion of economy within a broader context of the development of self-sufficiency—the idea that not only should the most efficient approach to curriculum be taken, but knowledge should be generalizable and translatable to other areas. As a practical means of avoiding the extremes of superficiality and ignorance, he offers the opinion that "the solution lies not in rapid survey courses but in the intensive cultivation of a small but significant variety of areas" (p. 125).

12Richness is among the "Being-values" characterizing peak experience perception listed by Abraham Maslow, Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1964; reprint, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976), p. 93, implying ideas of "totality," differentiation," "complexity," "intricacy," "nothing missing or hidden," and being "all there." The term "eclectic art" is used in the Schwabian sense.

13For a discussion of balance in musical classicism see Charles Rosen, The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven (New York: Viking Press, 1971).

14The notion of "significant form" is developed in Susanne K. Langer, Philosophy in a New Key: A Study in the Symbolism of Reason, Rite and Art, 3rd ed. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1957), chapter 8.

15It is possible that in practice, rather than a "perfect fit," there may be a margin or "zone of tolerance" of divergence between the assumed mores, values, and rules underlying the curriculum and those of society or the sponsoring social group.

16See Estelle R. Jorgensen, "On Excellence in Music Education," McGill Journal of Education 15/1 (Winter, 1980): 94-103.

17Henry Zentner, "Curricular Planning for Sociocultural Change and Development: A Critique," The Journal of Educational Thought 13/3 (1979): 170-96.

18These elements are described in Zentner, "Curricular Planning." An application of these elements within the decision-making process in music may be found in Estelle R. Jorgensen, "On the Decision-Making Process in Music Education," The Journal of Educational Thought 19 (1985): 218-37.

19For an outline of this taxonomy of dimensions of music education see Jorgensen, "On a Theory of Music Pedagogy."

20The term "assumptive frame of reference" was coined by Edward Tiryakian, "Sociology and Existential Phenomenology," in Maurice Natanson, ed., Phenomenology and the Social Sciences, I (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973), 199-201.

21John Dewey, Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education (New York: Macmillan, 1916; reprint, New York: The Free Press, 1966), 104, notes that educational aims "must be an outgrowth of existing conditions" and that they must be "based on a consideration of what is already going on; upon the resources and difficulties of the situation."

22This approach does not preclude consultation with students so that their perspectives and perceived needs at a particular time are taken into account. It may be compared with the principles of "continuity" and "interaction" of experience elaborated in John Dewey, Experience and Education (New York: Collier, 1938), who further writes:

He [the teacher] must survey the capacities and needs of the particular set of individuals with whom he [or she] is dealing and must at the same time arrange the conditions which provide the subject-matter or content for experiences that satisfy these needs and develop these capacities. The planning must be flexible enough to permit free play for individuality of experience and yet firm enough to give direction towards continuous development of power [p. 58].

23The problem of non-scientific knowing, of modes of aesthetic perception, is illustrated in the work of twentieth-century aestheticians, including Susanne Langer, Philosophy in a New Key; Langer, Feeling and Form (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1953); Langer, Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling, 3 vols. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1967-82); Virgil C. Aldrich, Philosophy of Art (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963); and Nelson Goodman, Languages of Art: An Approach to a Theory of Symbols (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1976). The admission of non-scientific ways of knowing admits the concept of behavior as an index, rather than an absolute evaluative measure.

24For a discussion of the requisite parts of an instructional objective envisaged in a product-oriented approach, see Joseph A. Labuta, Guide to Accountability in Music Instruction (West Nyack, NY: Parker, 1974), chapter 2, Figure 22.

25Examples of specific curricula include the following syllabi: McGill Conservatory of Music, Requirements for Practical Examinations, Piano (Montreal: McGill Faculty of Music, January, 1984); Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto, Piano and Theory Syllabus (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1983); and "programmes of work" in John Paynter, Music in the Secondary School Curriculum: Trends and Developments in Class Music Teaching (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), Appendix I. The Music Educators National Conference, The School Music Program: Description and Standards, 2d ed. (Reston, VA: Music Educators National Conference, 1986) is an example of a less specific curriculum.

26This parallels Dewey's notion of ends-in-view as means-ends rather than as ends in and of themselves. The notion of journey as a metaphor for curriculum is outlined in Herbert M. Kliebard, "Metaphorical Roots of Curriculum Design," in Pinar, Curriculum Theorizing, 84, 85. The present emphasis on the centrality of the teacher's experience in curriculum constitutes an extension of Dewey's notion of the centrality of the student's experience in the curriculum.

27See Jorgensen, "On a Theory of Music Pedagogy."

28Percy Scholes, Music: The Child and the Masterpiece. A Comprehensive Handbook of Aims and Methods in All That is Generally Called "Musical Appreciation" (London: Oxford University Press, 1935), 104.

29A view of the teacher as an artist, as transcending the role of technician/craftsperson—a function that itself requires imaginative thinking—is portrayed in Vernon Howard, Artistry: The Work of Artists (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1982).

30Joseph J. Schwab, "The Practical 3: Translation into Curriculum," School Review 81 (1973): 501-22, develops four aspects that he considers to be the essence of curriculum: teachers, learners, subject matter, and milieu.

31Scholes, Music: The Child and the Masterpiece, 105.

5589 Last modified on October 23, 2018