Research Topic

Eudaimonia and Music Learning

About this Research Topic

Eudaimonia – often interpreted as ‘flourishing’, ‘living well’ or ‘pursuing one’s true purpose’ – is a perennial philosophical concept in western scholarship. It is about purpose, identity, ethics, and virtue – living well and treating others accordingly. Eudaimonia is concerned with societal harmony, ...

Eudaimonia – often interpreted as ‘flourishing’, ‘living well’ or ‘pursuing one’s true purpose’ – is a perennial philosophical concept in western scholarship. It is about purpose, identity, ethics, and virtue – living well and treating others accordingly. Eudaimonia is concerned with societal harmony, community, and the pursuit of personal fulfillment through action. Frequently going unarticulated, especially within the practice of music education, eudaimonia is embedded in the principles underpinning contemporary institutions, from (neo)liberal capitalist democracies such as the United States of America, Newman’s ideal of the university and higher education, and the human compulsion to make art.

While this is, then, a perennial concern, it is also pertinent and timely. Extant scholarship around music education and eudaimonia includes work by Elliott and Silverman in 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, Smith in 2017, 2016, 2020, Bowman in 2012, Morton in 2012, Silverman in 2012, and Määttänen in 2003. Other scholarship alludes to eudaimonia but does not use precisely this term, such as Regelski in 2014 and 2005, Westerlund in 2008, and Woodford in 2005, bringing innovative thinkers from diverse fields and disciplines to reflect on what the good life in music means is both necessary and urgent.

Ideologically, eudaimonia is positioned in a unique place. It has the curious and alluring quality of appealing to those with liberal-individualist tendencies as well as to people with more community-socialist-anarchist leanings. Music learning, in higher education contexts, in particular, emphasizes both ends of this spectrum, as suggested by Moir (in press), Smith in 2016, Smith and Gillett in 2015, and Thorley in 2020. As such, this Research Topic is both uniquely timely and singly capable of reaching across contemporary ideological divisions that threaten to widen into in-traversable socio-political chasms. Such resources appear scarce, but they are also vital and essential to the work of today’s educators in music, education, and the arts. This article collection will build on the existing body research highlighting and discussing issues at the core of the human experience and at the heart of schooling and other learning environments, practices, and systems.

We welcome articles on themes related to eudaimonia and music learning, including but not limited to:
• Intersections of education, wellbeing, therapy, and community;
• Climate change, eco-literacy, eco-awareness and music and/or education;
• Historical factors contributing to understanding various kinds of “eudaemonic” interactions in music and education;
• Understandings of eudaimonia that activate and guide “revolutions” in music teaching/learning procedures as these relate to issues of moral development, racism, homophobia, poverty, neoliberalism and so forth;
• Relationships among social, cultural, political, gendered, racial considerations with eudaimonia in/for music and/or teaching-and-learning;
• Roles for musical and educational technologies have in/for eudaimonia in music education and community music contexts;
• Diverse philosophical perspectives (both from eastern and western) on spirituality, holistic well-being, and human flourishing


Keywords: music, learning, education, ethics, eudaimonia


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

01 January 2021 Manuscript
01 February 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

01 January 2021 Manuscript
01 February 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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