Keynote: Rebooting music education. How to transform our professional philosophies to (better) answer to the challenges of the digital era.

Lauri Väkevä, University of the Arts Helsinki

In this keynote, I examine how music education philosophy could be energized to meet the challenges of the digital era. 

John Dewey proposed that we should reconstruct our philosophies to meet present-day challenges. In Dewey’s own time, such challenges were primarily connected to economic, social, and cultural consequences of modernity. However, I claim that his ideas are also appropriate to the late modern condition. In specific, I will argue that Dewey’s cultural naturalist perspective on technology, communication, and art offers a timely point of departure for reconstructing our ideas of how music education philosophy can meet current challenges of globalization, mediation, and digitalization. This does not mean that we have to discard the key values of modern music education. However, reconstruction of music education philosophy suggests that we should not assume a fixed hierarchy of values that would dictate how, where, and when musical-pedagogical relationships ought to be enacted. 

Music education can find a place in the diverse, hybrid, and constantly transforming spaces made opened up by digitalization, even if acknowledging such spaces calls for the mobilization of our profession. To conclude, I suggest a systems theoretical view that builds on a recognition of the need to keep music education institutions resilient and alert to the perpetual change in their social, cultural, economic, and ecological environments of operation.