ERG SES C 07, Arts and Education
Why is it that only some people learn music, when everybody is somehow connected to it? As anyone intimately starts to answer this question, arguments will emphasize it as matter of choice and/or talent, meaning that at the core of our practices we have accepted the grammar of educational modernity, which placed the genius as someone chosen by destiny (or genetics) and the owner of a great talent. In the center of school speech genius was presented as the natural winner under any circumstances (e.g. Mozart, Beethoven, etc.), and somehow it is embodied in our everyday rationality. Democratic politics and tentative equality for every student in our present days did not question what seems to be a romantic myth (Elias, 1993; De Nora, 1995). Even in science speeches the word genius – although sometimes absent is present in its derivative signifying forms, as it can be transmuted into a whole constellation of scientific concepts, such as talent, gift, aptitude, ability, etc.
This wonder became the issue for a Nietzschean interrogation– how we become what we are? (Nietzsche, 2004: 56-57), and thus was transmuted into the investigation question of my PhD project: how could the idea of genius become part of the musical imagery and how it worked in the Portuguese musical education between 1868 and 1930? To introduce a genealogy of Portuguese music education, I decided to focus on the conservatoire curricula from 1868 up to 1930, thus crossing several political regimes (broadly named as monarchy, republic and dictatorship). This period covers the passage from a conservatoire model srictu sensu to a broader concept of music school model, marked by Lisbon Conservatory reforms – the only official school at the time. My hypothesis is that people would act according to their internal concept of genius, which is supported by previous research on the topic of genius in Portuguese music education (Fernandes et al., 2006; Martins, 2011; Ó, Martins, Paz, 2013).
Problems and terminology were supported by a theoretical frame that went from structuralism to post structuralism. Inspired both by Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault, I argue that an idea of music education in conservatoire model is part of what they call rarefied practices, that will ultimately try to separate a certain elite from the rest of the people and the notion of genius embodies a whole set of practices.
This investigation carries three empirical queries 1) what is said about music education considering genius – the way genius is told to be; 2) how actual musicians built their careers – how people considered genius formed their paths; 3) how pedagogy pulls for the genius – how to become a genius? The later question will be the spotlight of my presentation, since it clusters the most impressive problems attended by music pedagogues, as it can be subsumed into a single striking question: can genius be taught? The ensemble of the documentation – legislation, conservatoire curricula, textbooks, monographs and periodical publications, personal writings – finds a general consensus on the idea that musical formal education was important and to make sure, even genius could and should be taught. But the statements of pedagogues are most unusual if we consider all the sides of the music expertise. My investigation has shown, for instance, how music history and biographical writings tend to reify the myth of genius as being untaught, although pedagogical internal debates and practices state the reverse. Also, despite the arguments in favor of the teaching of genius, pedagogy also presents a set of practices denouncing the genius belief.
BOURDIEU, Pierre (1996). As Regras da Arte: Génese e estrutura do campo literário. Lisbon: Editorial Presença.
DeNORA, Tia (1995). Beethoven and the construction of Genius: Musical politic in Vienna, 1792-1803. Berkeley/Los Angeles/Londres: Cambridge University Press.
FERNANDES, Domingos; Ó, Jorge do; FERREIRA, Mário; MARTO, Ana; PAZ, Ana; & TRAVASSOS, Ana (2007). Estudo de Avaliação do Ensino Artístico: Relatório Final, Fevereiro de 2007. Lisbon: Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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