Adler, Music, and Movement

The central problem of this Thesis was how can psychology support the claim that music should be taught at public schools. It has been a primarily political issue, with school budgets and classes undergoing cuts. There is no requirement for any political force to show why it shouldn’t be taught. Like Climate Change, this is an interdisciplinary issue. That example involves natural sciences, social sciences, and a variety of approaches. Music in school could be supported by sociology, cultural studies, gender studies and a host of Humanities. What this project does is focus on the work of one particular psychologist, Alfred Adler. Certainly, Jungian and Freudian approaches might also work in this regard. To provide a taste of the wider world of Psychology, this project offers overviews of many non-Adlerian studies. Sometimes these studies are placed within an Adlerian lens, sometimes they stand on their own, but the project focused on Adler, as one part of Psychology, to defend the teaching of music. It drew upon many of Adler’s central ideas, and shows how music would help children in myriad ways. It is a theoretical, speculative work. It cited many empirical studies, but did not perform any original ones. It is the hope of the author that one section of the paper or another might lead others to elaborate, or conduct studies, or brainstorm new ways for Psychologists to interact with School Boards. School nutrition has been terrible for years, through this day, because, in addition to incremental cost, Nutritionists have not consulted with schools. Schools have been interested in the cheapest nutrition that will suffice, and have similarly been interested in classes that have direct, measurable goals. But if we turn the question to how can we produce psychologically “rich” students, or nutritionally rich students, a whole other set of considerations come into play.

Jonah Zachary Ross
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