Against Virtuosity: A Political Framework for Music Education as Care, Possibility, and Curiosity
Haverford College. Department of Anthropology
Place of Publication
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This thesis pays close attention to the insights provided by affective responses and emotional states to interrogate the overinvestment in classical music education in the United States. Through autoethnographic reflection and conversations with a small group of interview participants, I trace how identifying emotional disconnects in music education settings is a crucial source of information for disrupting severely imbalanced power dynamics and analyzing the alliance between white supremacy and heteropatriarchal powers. In synthesizing my personal reflection and interviewees' insights alongside the work of a diverse set of theorists, I hope to articulate a vision of music education that is based on critical wellness, genuine emotional connection and caring relationships, curiosity, and the building of political solidarity. Focusing on questions of race, power, and capitalism in my research process, I was led to artists, movements, and traditions that have long enacted a radical vision of music education. Throughout the paper, I undertake a process-focused methodology that seeks to leave the reader with a set of ongoing, unanswered inquiries that I will continue to grapple with far into the future.