Interview – Dr. Scott Goble

Dr. Scott Goble, Associate Professor

“Music education that empowers students to grasp the pragmatic efficacy of different musical practices and traditions can foster their thoughtful and critical engagement with those musics, support the egalitarian ideals of culturally pluralistic, democratically governed nations, and make more clearly evident to everyone the societal importance of learning music in schools.”

Research Interests:
As a researcher, Dr. Scott Goble seeks to understand the intentions and effects (personal, social, and political) associated with different musical practices as well as the cultural relationships among them. As a teacher and performer, Dr. Goble presents and illuminates different musical practices for students and audiences in terms of the meanings they held for those with whom they originated, as well as the meanings they have come to hold for those who presently engage with them.

Dr. Goble has authored journal articles and book chapters on music education philosophy and history, music cognition and semiotics, music and media issues, and music education curricula. He served as event coordinator for the MayDay Group of critical theorists in music education (2002-2008) (see, and as Co-Chair of the International Society for Music Education (ISME) Commission on Policy: Culture, Education, and Media (2006-2012) (see

In his book, What’s So Important About Music Education? (Routledge, 2010), Dr. Goble shows how the pragmatic philosophy and semiotic of C. S. Peirce can account for the varied musical practices and the different conceptions of music held by people of different communities. One chapter identifies historical factors that have contributed to determining the conceptions of music that have predominated historically in the United States. Another chapter presents a chronicle of significant rationales and philosophical statements that have served to support school music education there, explaining how the nation’s separation of church and state, its embrace of democracy and capitalism, and the rise of recording, broadcast, and computer technologies have contributed to changing the ways music teachers and concerned others have conceptualized music and its role in education since the European settlement of North America began. The book concludes by presenting a re-conceptualization of the role of music education in the schools of culturally pluralistic, democratically governed nations, one that addresses different musics as societally significant cultural practices.

Read more about Dr. Scott Goble.