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[xmca] Vygotsky, Suzuki, and Carl Orff
I feel strongly that Vygotsky would be opposed to the Suzuki method on several grounds:
a) Suzuki is naturalistic. He makes an explicit parallel between music education with native language learning and everyday, spontaneous concepts. Vygotsky argues that foreign language learning and science concepts represent the next zone of development for school age children.
b) Suzuki is personalisic. He is heavily based on individual tutelage, along the lines of the "teacher-pupil" duet which Vygotsky condemns in the "Preface to Thorndike".
c) Suzuki is elitist. He invests heavily (literally and figuratively) in the bourgeois family, and this has made it peculiarly susceptible to the kind of elitist education schemes Vygotsky abhorred.
I am not so sure about the Orff Schulwerke method. Orff ran a gymnasium in Germany in 1925 and Vygotsky may or may not have been aware of his work. On the one hand, Orff method teaching rejects naturalism, personalism, and elitism and embraces something that is very clearly a community of practice (with peripheral participatory roles for very young children). On the other, Orff makes an explicitly parallel between musical phylogenesis and ontogenesis that Vygotsky would probably not be comfortable with.
Of course, Orff's later relationship with Nazism, which, like Wagner's, was not unrelated to his views about phylogeny and ontogeny in music, was something Vygotsky could not have known about. In fact, we still don't really know about it ourselves. On the one hand, Orff wrote music that was highly appreciated by the Nazis and took Nazi commissions that other musicians would not touch with a barge pole (e.g. the de-Judification of Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream"). On the other, he was close friends with the founders of the White Rose, Orff claimed to have been a White Rose member himself, and I think it is quite possible.
Seoul National University of Education
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