Chances and Choices: Exploring the Impact of Music Education considers the aims and impact of formative musical experiences, evaluating the extent to which music education of various kinds provides a foundation for lifelong involvement and interest in music. The discussion draws upon rich qualitative data, in which over 100 adults with an active interest in music reflect upon the influences and opportunities that shaped their musical life histories. Pitts addresses the relationship between the claims made for music education, the practice and policy through which those aims are filtered, and the recollections of the lived experiences of learning music in a variety of contexts. This consideration of school music is set in the broader context of learning in the home and community, and illustrates the circumscribed yet immensely powerful role that music teachers and other potential role models can play in nurturing open-minded, active musicians.
The four central chapters focus on generational change in home and school experiences of music; the locations in which musical learning takes place, including cross-cultural comparisons; the characteristics of teachers, parents and others as musical mentors and role models; and the lifelong outcomes of musical engagement for performers, teachers, listeners and adult learners. This analysis is then used to illuminate the claims made for music education in historical and contemporary debate, and to propose ways in which school music might better prepare young people for lifelong engagement in music. Poised to shed new light on the long-term effects of music education, this book is an important resource to understand how we can encourage lifelong involvement with music and general engagement in cultural activities in every individual.