The Road Goes Ever On: Estelle Jorgensen's Legacy in Music Education


Section III - Becoming Other Than

Publication Date



Western University

Place of Publication

London, Ontario Canada


Aristotle, Plato, John Dewey, Estelle Jorgensen, women thinkers, interdisciplinarity, philosophy of music education, mousikē technē

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In her landmark book, In Search of Music Education (University of Illinois Press, 1997), Estelle R. Jorgensen lays the groundwork for the philosophy of music education, of which she is today’s foremost proponent. Decidedly not a “how-to” manual, her book poses difficult questions undergirding a systematic reflection on, first, the nature of education (Chapter 1); the nature of music (Chapter 2), and the dialectics and dialogics of music education (Chapter 3), reconciling the tensions and ambiguities when music and education are combined as an autonomous yet porous discipline. Jorgensen cites John Dewey, Paulo Freire, Maxine Greene, Susanne Langer, Israel Scheffler, and Alfred North Whitehead as her philosophical mentors, but it is Aristotle who is foundational to her analytic method. My chapter offers a close reading of In Search of Music Education within the parameters of its Hellenistic roots, specifically Jorgensen’s penchant for taxonomical structures, her embrace of Gaia as the hypothesis of universal interconnectedness, and her version of the ancients’ conception of mousikē technē, that is, the practice of music as aligned with the humanities. The chapter elaborates salient interrelationships between tenets of Greek aesthetic/poetic/cultural theory and Jorgensen’s attention to such contemporary educational values as interdisciplinarity and education for the common good.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.