Citation: McMillan, C. (2005, September 30). Musical ways of knowing: A personal
approach to qualitative inquiry in education. International Journal of Education & the Arts,
6(10). Retrieved [date] from http://www.ijea.org/v6n10/.
In this comparative essay, I examine how musical ways of knowing inform my
educational research. To understand this question, I employ dual perspectives as a
musician and qualitative researcher. I use Eisner’s concept of the art of educational
evaluation (1985a, 1985b, 1997)—particularly as educational evaluation relates to
connoisseurship and criticism—to explore how my aesthetic understanding of
musical performance, with its descriptive, thematic, interpretive and evaluative
aspects, illuminates the process of qualitative inquiry. I also evaluate an earlier
quantitative study of sight-singing achievement among young students by viewing it
through a more aesthetic, affective lens. In sharing how I have learned to trust
musical ways of knowing to inform my educational research, I suggest ways that
other music educators can focus their aesthetic lenses on research questions of
interest to us all.