Music making and civic imagination: a holistic philosophy

Camlin, D. A. (2023) Music making and civic imagination: a holistic philosophy. Music, Community, and Education . Intellect, Bristol. ISBN 9781789388022 (hardback) 9781789388046 (e-pub) 9781789388039 (PDF)


In a world facing multiple existential crises, music might be seen as little more than a distraction. However, in this synthesis of ideas developed over a decade, a timely re-appraisal of the potential of musicing for human flourishing is presented, emphasising its role in the history of human evolution alongside its potential as a resource for sustainable development. A holistic philosophy of music is outlined which recognises the complex web of meaning which spreads across complementary musical dimensions of performance and participation, whilst emphasising the ‘paramusical’ benefits which arise from both. Highlighting the notion that the social bonds which arise from musicing share much of the neurobiological underpinnings of attachment and love, musicing is presented as a resource with the potential for facilitating ethical human connection. The humanistic values which are thereby materialised during musicing – love, reciprocity and justice – form the experiential grounds for inhabiting alternative social realities. The book addresses how such a holistic philosophy of music might be implemented in practice, drawing on the author’s professional praxis as a performer, educator, community musician, composer and researcher, in particular their experience of musician education at Sage Gateshead, Royal College of Music and Trinity-Laban Conservatoire in the UK.

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