Press Release: New Publication Addresses Central Issues in Music Education

Seeking the Significance of Music Education Proclaims “Music Essential to a Fulfilled Life”

RESTON, VA (September 3, 2009)Seeking the Significance of Music Education: Essays and Reflections, a new publication by Bennett Reimer and published by MENC: The National Association for Music Education and Rowman & Littlefield Education (RLE) offers arguments, proposals, and critiques of long-standing issues of central importance to music education.

Noted music educator Bennett Reimer, the John W. Beattie Professor of Music Education Emeritus at Northwestern University, has selected 24 of his previously published articles from a variety of professional journals spanning the past 50 years. During that time, he’s tackled:

  • generating core values for the field of music education;
  • the core in larger societal and educational contexts;
  • what to teach and how to teach it effectively;
  • how to educate music teachers;
  • the role of research in the music education profession; and
  • how to improve the future status of music education.

Reimer precedes each essay with background reflections and his position, both professional and personal, on effectively addressing the issue at hand. The opening “Letter to the Reader” presents a valuable overview based on his deeply grounded viewpoint.

In a current-day reflection preceding the opening essay in the book, Reimer notes, “How little some things change. Our growing philosophical and professional sophistication allows us to articulate ever more deeply reasoned rationales [for music education], yet the same marginal values remain dominant… Can music education really resolve such deeply problematical issues, something no one seems to know how to do?”

With this book, Reimer says, “What I want to do is make it clear that [music educators] make a singular contribution. We must convince the broader public that music educators do something that no one else does, and why that is valuable.”

The entire music education profession will benefit from Reimer’s perspective on past, present, and future concerns central to the functioning of music education in Seeking the Significance of Music Education: Essays and Reflections.

“It is often difficult to find among scholars in education individuals whose ideas are as deep as they are broad. In Bennett Reimer we have such an individual. The twenty-four essays that constitute this book touch many of the central questions one can raise about music and its place in education. To be able to articulate so clearly what these issues are and how they might be approached is a real achievement, one that Professor Reimer has attained. This book will be an invaluable resource for those preparing to teach in the arts. I recommend it with considerable enthusiasm.”—Elliot W. Eisner, Lee Jacks Professor Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Art, Stanford University

Seeking the Significance of Music Education is available from RLE in paperback for $44.95 and clothbound for $90.00. MENC members receive a discount of 25%. To order or for more information, call 800-462-6420 or visit
MENC: The National Association for Music Education, among the world’s largest arts education organizations, marked its centennial in 2007 as the only association that addresses all aspects of music education. Through membership of more than 75,000 active, retired, and pre-service music teachers, and with 60,000 honor students and supporters, MENC serves millions of students nationwide through activities at all teaching levels, from preschool to graduate school. MENC’s mission is to advance music education by encouraging the study and making of music by all. Since 1907, MENC has worked to ensure that every student has access to a well-balanced, comprehensive, and high-quality program of music instruction taught by qualified teachers. MENC’s activities and resources have been largely responsible for the establishment of music education as a profession, for the promotion and guidance of music study as an integral part of the school curriculum, and for the development of the National Standards for Arts Education. MENC is located at the National Center for Music Education in Reston, VA.