The first (1970) and second (1989) editions of this book played a significant role in establishing the philosophy of aesthetic education as a widely accepted basis for the field of music education in the United States and around the world. Few if any alternative philosophies were offered during those times, allowing the field to establish a strong, common bond of values and aspirations, powerfully fueled by the widespread adoption of this book.
In the 1990s and to the present, professional philosophical work in music education grew dramatically, leading to a higher degree of sophistication and the emergence of more varied alternatives than ever before in its history. Confusion about basic values began to be felt, with concomitant loss of security and of a broadly shared vision. Fragmentation and disunity became a real possibility.
This edition offers a synergistic solution to problems of professional philosophical uncertainty. It argues that what seem to be alternative value positions are better viewed as varied approaches to goals most music educators share, goals now encompassing a wider diversity of values than had previously been recognized.
A key addition is the author's new theory of intelligence, based on roles rather than frames of mind. By demonstrating how each of various musical roles constitutes a particular manifestation of intelligence, he liberates the concept of intelligence from its traditional and continuing narrowness. The challenging implications of the philosophy are spelled out both as the conclusion of each chapter and as the culminating chapters of the book.