chapter  2
22 Pages

The Potential of Music

ByJuliet Hess

Chapter 2 draws on the activist-musicians’ perspectives in order to explore the different roles that music plays in their lives and in their communities. This chapter explores the potential of music itself, and the concepts explored inform the actualization of activist music education in subsequent chapters. According to these activist-musicians, music is connective, expressive, communicative, and also intrinsically political. As a connective medium, music builds community and connects us to people and histories beyond our experiences. As a means of communication and expression, music facilitates sharing stories, expressing emotions, and coming to voice. Music is never neutral, and learning to recognize the politics of all musics facilitates learning to think critically and challenge assumptions. Music, however, can also be dangerous. Because music is always already political, participants (including listeners) must interrogate precisely which social movements and frameworks their chosen music serves. Many participants identified music as a learning site, which serves as an important starting place for imagining how music educators can facilitate activist music education.