chapter  1
25 Pages

A Critical Pedagogy for Music Education

ByJuliet Hess

Many of the ideas activist-musicians expressed about both music and music education align with the ideas of critical pedagogy. Because of this alignment, the tenets of critical pedagogy underpin the perspectives shared by activist-musicians in a manner that actualizes critical pedagogy for activist music education. This chapter first examines the tenets of critical pedagogy and praxis, as envisioned by Brazilian pedagogue Paulo Freire, that resonate with ideas shared by activist-musicians. The subsequent section examines the proliferation of Freire’s work in North America, followed by an exploration of the ways in which music education scholars take up Freirian concepts. The fourth section of this chapter offers a number of critiques of critical pedagogy, including its potential to exacerbate power hierarchies between teachers and students and to reinscribe colonialism, patriarchy, and Whiteness. The penultimate component of this chapter re-actualizes Freire’s tenets in light of both the criticisms leveled against his work and the perspectives of the activist-musicians. Activist-musicians’ ideas provide an important mechanism for reinventing critical pedagogy for music education. The final section identifies how these tenets underpin the chapters that follow.