Aristotelian virtue and teaching and learning in music performance

Harman-Bishop, Caroline Marguerite (2018) Aristotelian virtue and teaching and learning in music performance. Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study investigates the significance of Aristotelian virtue in teaching and learning in music performance. In response to a number of critical issues in professional practice, it is argued that virtue, framed within eudaimonistic happiness, should form an integral part of teaching and learning.

Through an examination of Aristotle’s analysis of virtue, and primarily through his Nicomachean Ethics, virtue is presented as having the hallmarks of dynamic and responsive action and therefore as being of potential interest to teachers of music. Having acknowledged that music performance can be a particularly challenging arena, this study also considers why Aristotle, via his analysis in Politics of the reasons for educating students in music, provides further underlying reasons for its inclusion. By considering the work of one of his students, Aristoxenus, the investigation also establishes that here in Aristotle is a philosopher-teacher who is, we can be reassured, very much an informed music ‘amateur’.

Noting the twofold importance that Aristotle gives to music in education, that is, how music contributes to our development and the worthwhile nature of understanding music for itself, the discussion explores and clarifies the notion of music performance. A range of frameworks are analysed and, after Godlovitch, personalism is defended as a framework. This is significant because personalism recognises the individual as both musician and human being. Thus, the demands, on both character and intellect, emerge strongly here as they do in Nicomachean Ethics.

Having established that music performance is demanding, of both character and intellect, the virtue of courage is argued as crucial. The Aristotelian notion of courage is tested and its reaches extended, partly through the analysis of case studies. Ultimately, it is posited that courageous action forms part of eudaimonistic happiness. This study also considers Egan’s theory that intellectual disturbance occurs during stages of learning, thus providing further demands. It is argued that, in responding to such disturbance, teachers’ practice should embody characteristics of Aristotelian practical wisdom. In this way, it is posited that teachers act as valuable role models, both to their students and to their colleagues, including those colleagues new to the profession.

With these challenges now identified and analysed, music performance is conceptualised as gift making. Importantly, this contributes to foregrounding the significant aspect of pleasure that is integral to Aristotelian virtuous action. The discussion closes by providing a defence of the position that Aristotelian virtue is of significance to teachers and students as they navigate their daily existence within the world of music performance.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Aristotelian virtue, courage (andreia), gift making, happiness (eudaimonia), learning disturbance, mean (mesotēs), music performance teaching and learning, Nicomachean Ethics, personalism, pleasure (hēdonē), practical wisdom (phronēsis), teacher as role model.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
M Music and Books on Music > MT Musical instruction and study
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Enslin, Professor Penny
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Mrs Caroline Harman-Bishop
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-9009
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 May 2018 14:04
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2018 16:01

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