The nature and impact of competition in large-scale school music ensemble festivals: A review of the literature for and against
Australian Society for Music Education XXI National Conference 2017
The Australian Society for Music Education
School of Education / Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research
Competition has long been an accepted part of the music education landscape, particularly in relation to large-scale school ensemble ‘festival’ events. The interschool competition-festival remains commonplace, as opposed to cooperative events. Arguments in support of competition-festivals revolve around extra-musical value (discipline and purpose) framed largely from the director/conductor perspective. However, the nature of competition in music education is not well understood, nor is its impact in promoting long-term student engagement. This paper examines the music education literature into competition-festivals and summarises enduring arguments for and against, from both the conductor and student perspective, before briefly considering the nature of competition in music education. The paper aims to reignite discussion into the educational value of these events in light of changing student needs in an increasingly neo-liberal competitive school environment.