Writing Trojan Horses and War Machines: The creative political in music education research



North American music education is a commodity sold to pre-service and in-service music teachers. Like all mass-produced consumables, it is valuable to the extent that it is not creative, that is, to the extent that it is reproducible. This is demonstrated in curricular materials, notably general music series textbook and music scores available from a rapidly shrinking cadre of publishers, as well as rigid and pre-determined pedagogical practices. Distributing resources and techniques that produce predicable, consistent, and repeatable goods and services, the economy of music teacher preparation and development must necessarily exclude creativity, which consequently must be viewed as not only inefficient but unprofitable. More than undesirable, however, creativity is constructed as dangerous as it injects difference in a system that relies on sameness. Because of its implications for music education discourse and practices, I focus my discussion on research in general and feminist critique in particular in music education. Reading through Monique Wittig's ‘The Trojan Horse’ as literary war machine, I argue that creative writing and academic research are not mutually exclusive, and that it is only through infusing the literary or creative in scholarly writing that interlocking systems of oppression may be altered and difference implicated in music education. My analysis of Roberta Lamb's (1995) research piece, ‘Tone Deaf/Symphonies Singing: Sketches for a Musicale’ depicts it as Trojan Horse, albeit one that Lamb herself, most likely as a function of editorial imperative, hobbles.