SEAN ROBERT POWELL
Sean Robert Powell is Associate Professor and Chair of Music Education at the University of North Texas where he teaches graduate courses in sociology, philosophy, qualitative research, and music teacher education. Dr. Powell is a member of the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Music Teacher Education and the Advisory Committee of the Music Educators Journal. He also serves as the Southwest Division Chair of the Society for Music Teacher Education. An active scholar, Dr. Powell’s research interests include music teacher education, identity, teacher evaluation, competition, neoliberal education policy, and the sociology of music education.
One-Dimensional Praxis: The Ideology of Performance and Competition in Music Education
In this provocation, I will explore the ideology of performance and competition in music education using the philosophy of Herbert Marcuse, including his concepts of the performance principle and The Great Refusal. Under a neoliberal educational regime, students involved in school music play-out the performance principle: society is stratified according to the competitive performance of its members, determined by standardized, quantitative measures. The achievements of this competitive structure militate against qualitative change. Those with privilege to analyze these contexts, but not restrained by being entangled in them directly, may provide a space for teachers to come together to discuss change.