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


Section IV - A Passage to Elsewhere

Publication Date



Western University

Place of Publication

London, Ontario Canada


music education, liberal arts, tradition, beauty, aesthetics, Estelle Jorgensen

Online ISBN





This chapter considers the question of how music educators determine the musical ends towards which their teaching is directed. Musical traditions, both “great” and “little,” as Estelle Jorgensen describes them, are inseparable from the philosophical traditions through which music educators determine consider their pedagogical ends. This chapter presents a three-part framework to describe how music educators might approach understanding their work as a socially embodied enactment of contrasting traditions. The term tradition is first defined as a means of categorizing philosophical schools of thought from which various musical practices can be understood. The liberal philosophical tradition that grew out of the Enlightenment has emphasized rational aesthetic contemplation as a means towards personal growth. In contrast, the critical tradition, grounded in post-Nietzschean genealogy, has prioritized politicized musical action as a means towards personal liberation. The classical tradition is presented as an alternative to both liberal and critical approaches, emphasizing the cultivation of virtue and an openness to transcendence as a means towards human flourishing. This approach, while currently underdeveloped in the philosophy of music education, would prioritize the experience of beauty as a transcendent property of being through induction into pre-existing musical traditions.

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