In Dialogue: Response to Marja Heimonen, "Music Education and Law: Regulation as an Instrument"

Philosophy of Music Education Review 11 (2):185-193 (2003)
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In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:Philosophy of Music Education Review 11.2 (2003) 185-193 [Access article in PDF] Response to Marja Heimonen, "Music Education and Law:Regulation as an Instrument" Raimo Siltala University Of Helsinki, Finland From a legal point of view, Marja Heimonen's dissertation and the extract published in this issue of PMER, "Music Education and Law: Regulation as an Instrument," presents a most important question: Should music education be regulated by law, and if so, by what kind of legal instruments—by strict legal rules, by softer legal standards, by self-regulation, or by leaving the matter to the laissez-faire and "invisible hand" of the market, where economic efficiency takes over from legal regulation? Heimonen's dissertation is to my knowledge the very first of its own kind, combining elements from music education and the law and, indeed, legal philosophy in an imaginative and highly original manner. Her scholarly position between music education and law is a courageous one because she might invite critical comments equally from the two branches of science involved: the music educational and the legal philosophical one. Yet, she has a gained a profound understanding of the specific needs of music education and of the restrictions of law and legal regulation, and the two-sided approach is really one of the true strengths, and not weaknesses, of the scholarly work. Her approach strives mainly at a broad hermeneutical comprehension of the issue in the humanistic [End Page 185] tradition, but there are other elements involved, as well, related to the analytical or instrumental tradition.There is a large legal comparative part in the treatise, covering approximately one third of the whole thesis, with material drawn from Sweden, England, Germany, and Finland and the system of music education in each. The three legal systems have been chosen with good discretion: one with a common law background (England), one belonging to the Roman-Germanic tradition (Germany), and one from the Scandinavian legal tradition (Sweden), and the Finnish system of music education is then compared to all of them. The Swedish model is based on equal opportunity given to all the applicants with no entrance examinations held and as many willing children accepted to the music schools as is possible. The British system, or rather a "non-system," of music education is privately owned and market-based, with only a few regulations issued by the government and with an emphasis on the visiting peripatetic teachers, voluntary Saturday music schools, and the special schools founded for the musically talented. The German system, like the one in Finland, is based on formal entrance examinations and degrees passed, where both a professional career in music performance and artistic self-expression may be pursued as the primary goal of music education."The Swedes have Abba and Roxette, we the Finns have Kaija Saariaho and Ralf Gothoni"—along with Esa-Pekka Salonen and other world-class conductors, one might add—as Heimonen notes in the text, but why is that so? Does the difference in the outcome, in the sense of a breakthrough either in popular music groups or individual performers in classical music, lie in the system of music education and the legislative ideology at the back of it? Heimonen refuses to give a simple and straightforward answer to that question, declining to place the various systems of music legislation in an order of preference. Instead, she adopts a broadly humanistic and hermeneutical perspective to the issue, where the merits and the disadvantages of each legal system are taken on an individual basis. The Shakespearean question that is so boldly put forth by her, "viz. to regulate or not to regulate," is answered only with reference to a widely humanistic understanding of the complex issue of music education where the intrinsic values of artistic self-expression and the instrumental values of training future professionals in music performance, composing, and conducting, are contrasted with other, but where no winners or losers are identified by her.There would seem to be a connection between a certain legal system and its model of...



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Justifying the Right to Music Education.Marja Heimonen - 2006 - Philosophy of Music Education Review 14 (2):119-141.

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