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Arts Education Policy Review


In his book, Music Education in an Age of Virtuality and Post-Truth, Woodford presents a welcomed discussion of the aims of music education in a time of political unrest. This timely text is needed due to the stresses of the current political climate in which students are “seldom encouraged to seriously question or otherwise challenge the existing political system” (p. 2). Woodford’s consideration of contemporary political phenomena sheds new light on issues related to arts education policy implementation as well as intersections of music education and students’ lived experiences. Throughout this text, Woodford questions the current application of democratic values in music education, condemns the misuse of art in contemporary politics, and explains the purposes of a liberal music education. Woodford addresses current social and political issues that impact music educators and anticipates future problems so that they might “better defend themselves and their students, and ultimately democratic society, from those who would pervert the purpose of education by reducing it to job training and/or thought control” (p. 10). After providing an overview of the book and a summary of each chapter, we offer our reflections of the author’s points and extensions for consideration. Specifically, we reflect on how generalizing the views of political populations might be problematic and how the inclusion of multiple perspectives might enhance a liberal music education. We then propose possibilities for how Woodford’s liberal music education might look in K–12 classrooms and pose questions related to the presentation of this book in collegiate music education courses.


Copyright 2019 all authors


Published in Arts Education Policy Review 2019, ISSN: 1063-2913 (Print) 1940-4395 (Online) journal homepage: