Beyond the confines

Music teachers are in precarious situations.  Over the decades, music education professional organizations have formalized and worked to establish purposes, have argued both utilitarian and aesthetic philosophies of music education, and have collaborated with other arts agencies to inform our larger US society of the importance of music education (McCarthy and Goble, 2005).  There still is a void in this community, and if we as teachers value instrumental music education, specifically, for our younger students, we must do so with the spirit of an entrepreneurial leader.  We must implement both a creative spirit and logic to produce new ideas and initiatives, lest we keep the trumpets and violins locked in the closets.  We can act on this dilemma to find alternative solutions for our students. Fullan (1997) touted that education leaders must realize that change begins with disagreements, and if we believe something is worth fighting for – in this case, elementary instrumental music education – then we must start with a change within ourselves. For me, it was stepping aside from my peers’ thoughts that the school district was responsible for the program, and tapping into my experiences as a recreation manager.

Looking and acting beyond the confines of school board decisions, or a traditional way of conducting our programs, for the benefit of our students and community, is the way to innovate change for immediate results. Ideas and actions I take toward starting a newly designed endeavor toward instrumental music education is aligned with the logic of entrepreneurial action and they lend toward the creation of a value from people and agencies coming together across and through different sectors (Hagel, Brown and Davison, 2010).

Fullan, M. (1997). What’s worth fighting for in the principalship? New York: Teachers College Press.

Hagel, J., Brown, J. and Davison, L. (2010). The power of pull. New York, NY: Basic Books, A Member of the Perseus Books Group.

McCarthy, M. and Goble, J. (2005). The praxial philosophy in historical perspective. In D. Elliott (ed.) Praxial music education, pp. 19-51. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.


About mundyviar

Basil Mundy Viar, III, is a newly relocated music teacher in the Palm Springs Unified School District of California, USA. For the past 18 years, he served the students and families within the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. In this role, he discovered the need for a reevaluation of the roles, purposes, and directions of scholastic music in a changing community and in a changing economy. The direction of his doctoral work was largely influenced by this experience. He researches the attitudes, levels of satisfaction, and lifelong learning effects of music training both inside and outside of the traditional school experience, with an eye on the roles that community based organizations may play in this. Prior to his assignment as a public school music teacher, Dr. Viar served as a Program Director for the Blue Devils, an internationally revered youth organization dedicated to performance excellence, also based in Concord, California, USA. During his time with the Blue Devils, the "B" Corps was reinvigorated and performed with renewed excitement, proficiency, and levels of success. Under Dr. Viar's guidance, BDB performed in the 1997 Drum Corps International World Championships in Orlando, Florida, and the 1998 World Marching Band Festival in Kanagawa Prefecture Japan. Basil Mundy Viar, III, is a graduate of the Transformative Inquiry Department at the California Institute of Integral Studies (PhD) in San Francisco, California, USA. He earned a Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of California, Berkeley; Single Subject Teaching Credential from the Bay Area College of Chapman University in Orange, California; and a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Community and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University of Richmond, Virginia, USA.
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One Response to Beyond the confines

  1. Laura Lamere says:

    “Change begins with disagreements…” I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on change in music education “for the benefit of our students and community.” I’m a mother (change agent, advocate and social entrepreneur) who’s looking at the whole conversation about music education in our country from that view: What is best for the children? What do they want to learn? How to engage them as music students as the world of music becomes more accessible and continues to change around them at such an accelerated pace? You might be interested in an article I co-authored on (and posted on my personal blog: about the trends for music education at liberal arts colleges in New England – they’re meeting the students where they are!

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