In this article, I question an educational ideology of musical excellence, particularly as it tends to appeal to large ensembles in secondary school music. Excellence appears to be a widespread idea that often conjures up notions of distinction, success, and superiority, which may foster feelings of competition that run counter to the inclusivity intended by many music educators. I discuss traditions of music education as they relate to large ensembles, and specifically discuss four facets of competitive music education: becoming the best, visibility, preoccupation with the outcome, and resistance to change. I then appeal to responsibility in music teaching, including broad conceptions of musicianship and diverse musical successes toward lifelong musical engagement, as well as an openness to redefine the term excellence and its use.
"Rethinking Excellence in Music Education,"
Visions of Research in Music Education: Vol. 36, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lib.uconn.edu/vrme/vol36/iss1/6