De Musica, Part II

               In his Fundamentals of Music, Boethius divides those engaged in music into three categories:  those who perform music, those who composer music, and those who contemplate music.  It is only this last category that to Boethius deserves the title of musician.  It also works as a sort of social stratification, and in this sense truly shows its derivation from the Greeks.


                And while I do not agree, necessarily with the socio-cultural aspects of this musical caste system, it does have not only some interest educational aspects, but also shows a striking parallel to today’s musical elitist culture (which will be discussed later).


In learning music, the path of one’s education does go from performer to composer to philosopher, that is if one ever reaches beyond the first step.  We start out young learning an instrument, and learning some basic theory along the way.  Eventually, we learn how music is constructed, more advanced theory, and learn how to compose.  Finally, with all appreciation of these aspects we learn how to think about music.  For most students, though, the third step is not taught.  As articulated previously, we as musicians are very rarely, if ever, given the tools for this.


                I can appreciate not wanting to spoon-feed  knowledge to people, but a basic discussion of Kant and Hegel in relation to 19th Century European Art Music would seem a given, but not even that is done in some cases (my case).


                We, as educators, should strive in training young musicians to make them true “musicians” in the Beothian sense of the term: to possibly coin a phrase, the performer-philosopher. 

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