I was tempted to blog about the Mannes video and Levitin because I found them so interesting and inspiring. Inevitably some of those ideas will spill into this post as well, but I'll devote the majority of this entry to discuss the ideas of Leonard & House, as well as Reimer. First of all, it's astounding to find out that in the 1950's half of all high schoolers were involved in music education and that number has dwindled to 10%. I agree with a lot of the views in The Rise of Aesthetic Education. Perhaps there is an "undue emphasis on performance," and while children should definitely enjoy their music education, I agree that the emphasis should not be on the entertainment of students.
However, because music involves so many areas of the brain, I believe it should be integrated with other subject areas. In addition, the use of motor areas make it perfect to be used a means to non-musical ends like movement and health. The community and social functions are argued to be some of the earliest evolutionary reasons for humans to use music. Why then, would we not use music as a means to create better citizens.
Music appeals to us at a very deep level. Evolution has genetically engineered us to respond to music instinctually and in ways that only music can invoke. Expression, aesthetics, emotions and feelings might be difficult to measure but are are at the heart of our existence as humans. The aesthetic values in music can be found all around us in nature, the sciences, visual arts, etc. Life dynamics are paralleled in music. Tension and release, rise and fall, motion and rest, conflict and resolution are ever-present and easily understood through music.