The nature, value, and meaning of music experiences: theories and perspectives for music education

Κοκκίδου Μαίη

Προφορική Ανακοίνωση

Session Μουσική, επικοινωνία και εμπειρία ( Sunday, 17-Apr-22 13:15:00 EEST )

A large part of philosophy, theory, and practices of music education is centered around the music experience for the comprehension and interpretion of music texts, actions, and functions. By definition, music experiences are bodily-kinaesthetic, social, emotional, and cognitive, with cultural and moral dimensions (Kokkidou, 2015).

Music teachers are required to provide their students with music experiences which aim at the development of music skills, enriching of their knowledge, and holistic growth, while dealing with time constraints in the music lessons. Meaningful and complete experiences contribute to an awareness of the self, the world and the others, as well as their interconnection.

But, what constitutes an experience? The complexity of this answer is best reflected on Hans-Georg Gadamer’s words (1960) that the experience is one of the darkest and complicated notions. In general, human experience has been interpreted through a variety of approaches and there has not been an agreement with regard to its nature and structure. For John Dewey (1938), experience “occurs in situations” because “ we never experience nor form judgments about objects and events in isolation” but only in relation to “a contextual whole” (pp. 66-67). In phenomenology, ‘experience’ is lived; it is whatever we experience before we reflect on it, and it is where the analysis of the relationship between sense and thinking starts (Seibert, 2019). Wayne Bowman (2004) advocates a bodily theorisation of human thinking and notes that civilisation and action co-construct the realities that are available in human experience.

This study is an exploration of theories, values, and the meanings of the musical experiences that are provided and built in music education. The focus will be on the 4E model, which investigates the meaning of music experience as embodied embedded, extended, and enactive (Seibert, 2019). Dewey’s idea that experience includes action and thinking in individual’s interaction with the environment is fundamental in this study.

A few questions that will be investigated are: What are the substances of music experience? In what ways does music experience connect to other experiences? Is it possible “to teach” music experiences? Is there a way or a system to set music experiences in categories or in a scale? Can we distinguish between music and non-music elements? Why is school experience more productive when it is linked to aspects of real life and in synergy to real music situations? How can we prepare our students to apply their music-cultural experiences and knowledge to different situations? Inter-disciplinary thinking and research is necessary so that we are provided with rich music experiences and become aware of the ways to transform those through education, in a world of diversity, uncertainty, and rapid changes.


  • Μουσικές εμπειρίες στο σχολείο, στο ωδείο και στην κοινότητα
  • Σύνδεση της μουσικής εκπαίδευσης με την καθημερινή ζωή
Keywords Key-words: music experience; music education; meaning
Language Ελληνική
Author(s) CV

May Kokkidou (MEd, PhD, post-PhD) was born in Thessaloniki. She is a music education specialist and researcher. She teaches as adjunct lecturer in the Post-Graduate Programs “Music Pedagogy” (European University Cyprus) and “Music & Society” (University of Macedonia). She is author of many books: “European Music Curricula”, “From kindergarten to early adulthood – Findings from a longitudinal study”, “Music Didactics”, “Music Video”, and “Music Definition and Music Education.” Her recent works focus on the areas of the music curricula studies, semiotics of music, philosophy of music education, and the multi-modal music perception.