Insurrection in Chile: The Effects of Neoliberalism from a Music Education Perspective

Instituto de Música, Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Santiago de Chile

October 2021

Published in Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education 20 (3): 108–31 [pdf]

The present article brings to light the effects of neoliberalism on the music education system in Chile, one example of such a system in Latin America. Relevant research literature is analyzed without the intention of achieving a theoretical universality regarding the effects of neoliberalism on music education. The article reveals that neoliberalism has negatively influenced Chilean music education in at least five areas: facilities and provisions, curricular conception and delivery, professionalism, social segregation justified on the basis of the constitutional right of academic freedom, and an individualistic mindset. It concludes with an argument asserting that Chile is in need of a new social paradigm because the identified neoliberal patterns were found to have extraordinarily negative effects not only in education, but in other public services. International implications are suggested.

Keywords: social uprising, free market, arts education, civil and political rights, capitalist system.

Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices…. It must also set up those military, defence, police, and legal structures and functions required to secure private property rights and to guarantee, by force if need be, the proper functioning of markets (Harvey 2007, 2).

Chile is presently in a deep social crisis because neoliberalism has been put under scrutiny by Chilean citizens (Mayol 2019). The crisis began when the price of tickets for underground train rides in the Metropolitan Region was increased, and secondary education students gradually began taking over train stations in order to promote payment evasion. Those students were subsequently mistreated by police, such that other members of Chilean society took to the streets in protest in solidarity and empathy. On October 18th, 2019, the social conflict worsened when many train stations were closed due to riots, which prompted the government to declare a state of emergency in the region. Within a couple of hours, the declaration was extended to five other regions, and, on October 23rd, nearly the entire country was declared to be in a state of emergency. Citizens of all ages reported infringements of human rights (Amnesty 2019, Human Rights Watch 2019), eventually leading to a case being made against Chile’s president in the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.[1] Practically speaking, a state of emergency means that the army and navy have taken control of the streets, imposing restrictions in the form of curfews and prohibitions against any kind of social gathering. However, there was an excessive use of force in many cases, which were filmed and shared through social media. It is important to note that the rise in underground ticket price that began the uprising affected only persons living in the Metropolitan Region, but citizens from Chile’s 15 other regions made the decision to rise up for other personal and collective reasons.

Neoliberalism started in Chile formally in 1980 with the implementation of the current constitution, which was enacted under the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. It has been maintained for more than three decades, “surviving even after the return to democracy in 1990. This continuity was the product of consensus between the political parties of the center-left and the Chilean right, which decided to give course to a reformist and non-transformative position” (Inzunza, Assael, Cornejo, and Redondo 2019, 490). According to Madariaga (2020), Chilean neoliberalism is based on three pillars. First, economic ideas encompass cognitive and normative frames of political actions: Pinochet was persuaded by the Chicago Boys—a group of Chilean economists, several of whom were educated by Milton Friedman and others at the University of Chicago—to reduce state intervention in economic and social matters, which was guaranteed through the constitution because the state is currently impeded from carrying out business activities and regulating the market in depth. That is, the proprietary right prevails in the Chilean model, keeping the public will in the background (Pizarro 2020). Second, business interests are satisfied when entrepreneurs have structural power, which comprises economic control, policy agenda, professional expertise, and access to media. In Chile, private companies manage finance and natural resources, limit the influence of labor unions, and have a capacity for making decisions over mass media (Huneeus and Undurraga 2021). Third, political institutions can be change agents because they can participate in policy decisions; however, the Chilean electoral system was designed to provide an advantage to allied parties in order to maintain neoliberalism (Polga-Hecimovich and Siavelis 2015). Such an organic law was enacted in 1989 during the last governing year of Pinochet, after the plebiscite on the return of democracy. It is important to consider that the intellectual designer of the constitution was Jaime Guzmán, the founder of the right-wing party that currently defends Pinochet’s legacy relentlessly. Guzmán was clear about his intentions in 1979, expressing that

The Constitution must ensure that, in the case that adversaries get to govern, its wishes might be constrained to follow an action not so different like oneself would yearn for; because—be valid the metaphor—the alternatives’ boundary that the field imposes to players must be sufficiently reduced in order to become extremely hard to make the opposite (Atria in Pizarro 2020, 339).

In this article, we aim to establish the effects of the adoption of neoliberalism in Chilean society on the country’s music education system. Teachers in primary and secondary schools here attest to a lack of music rooms (Bardone and Gargiulo 2014), to the extent that three in five Grade 3 students attend schools that have no music classroom (Duarte, Juareguiberry, and Racimo 2017). This lack of classrooms has provoked negative reactions in students enrolled at public schools (Angel-Alvarado and Lira-Cerda 2017) because only some students are ensured of having musical instruction, not every child (International Music Council 2001). Politicians have no problem with publicly admitting their disinterest in this matter. For example, the Minister of Education replied in this way to a citizen petition on improving facilities in schools: “Why haven’t you organized a bingo?… A risk of the welfare state is that people don’t solve their problems, if not expect that others will take the responsibility” (Muñoz 2018). The Minister’s words reveal the tension between political institutions and citizens as politicians relieve themselves of administrative responsibilities, acting negligently toward those who attend school.

These and other social inequalities have triggered student uprisings over the years. For instance, secondary school students demanded in 2006 the restructuring of the education system because the curricular model—which prioritized profit until 2018—was triggering social segregation (Chovanec and Benítez 2008). The student uprising—advanced under a “non-profit education” slogan (Mayol 2012)—gained strength again in 2011, and it received support from both secondary and undergraduate students (Inzunza, Assael, Cornejo, and Redondo 2019) who had come to realize that Chile has the second most expensive tuition fees for undergraduate programs of all OECD country members (OECD 2018).

An Overview of Neoliberalism: Three Systemic Characteristics

Advocates for neoliberalism claim to be committed to social equity, wealth creation, and free enterprise (Davies 2014b, Harvey 2007). However, economic crises have revealed how governments operating with neoliberal ideals can implement efforts at economic savings to the point that they neglect social and public welfare (Davies 2014a). In such cases, neoliberal commodification poses a threat to the social state because, in times of recession, elites assume no responsibility for economic downturns. To the contrary, elites present themselves as victims of financial declines (Schipper 2014), asserting that governments are obligated to allocate funds to rescue them. Resulting tensions between public and private stakeholders have given rise to three systemic characteristics (Figure 1). These characteristics are important to consider in any analysis of neoliberalism’s effects on music education, owing to their impact on education systems generally.

The first systemic characteristic has to do with the way neoliberalism delegitimizes the social state to the point that individuals and families must cover costs for social services, which inherently challenges conceptions of social justice and the welfare state (Brown 2020). For instance, social justice concerns arise when healthcare is managed primarily or entirely by private health insurance companies (Bossert and Leisewitz 2016, Cid and Uthoff 2017, Rotarou and Sakellariou 2017), or when a country has the most expensive tuition fees for undergraduate programs among all OECD country members (OECD 2018). On this point, it is important to recall that even Milton Friedman, the most prominent 20th century economist to advocate for free markets, recognized that investment could be allocated to the wrong things. He wrote, “Abraham Lincoln talked about a government of the people, by the people, for the people. What we now have is a government of the people, by the bureaucrats, including the legislators who have become bureaucrats, for the bureaucrats” (Friedman 1993, 11).

The dismantling of the social state is reinforced through neoliberal values linked to efficiency, price, and preference, as those values give rise to standard comparative patterns of evaluation (Davies 2014b). Thus, the second systemic characteristic of neoliberalism is standardization. In the scope of school education, standardization is regulated through supranational agencies (e.g., OECD 2005; The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union 2006) using transnational tests that prioritize some knowledge areas, such as maths and sciences, as well as emphasize native and second languages over others. However, music education is not incorporated into transnational tests and, for that reason, the subject has arguably lost curricular relevance in the Global North (Aróstegui 2016, Brasche and Thorn 2016, Fautley 2019). To the detriment of music education, cutbacks have been made to the point that investment in the subject is not even 2% of the total budget in some school districts in the United States (Fermanich 2011). Such cutbacks were also seen during the Great Recession, as music education offerings were reduced considerably due to economic austerity measures (Hedgecoth and Major 2019).

Such music education budgeting reductions provoke feelings of insecurity and precariousness in music teachers (Smith 2016), as instructional time is reduced because cultural and artistic competencies have been deemed irrelevant for transnational tests (Aróstegui 2016), with the result that schools must manage without music teaching staff. Hence, schools employ merely one music teacher to cover every music activity (Angel-Alvarado, Belletich, and Wilhelmi 2021; de Vries 2018; Sindberg 2011), forcing that person to work in two or more schools to have a fulltime teaching schedule (Shaw 2018). In such a scenario, music educators struggle to recover the curricular value of their subject area, and different teaching approaches are used. For instance, some teachers attempt to make music education appear “rigorous in exactly the same terms as other curriculum subjects” (Paynter 2002, 223), while other educators advance music education as a community based on practice (Angel-Alvarado 2020, Green 2017, Kenny 2016) because participative musical behaviors are encouraged. Both teaching approaches are sufficient to present the third systemic characteristic, self-interest, which refers to the tendency to behave individualistically (Muñoz 2019).

According to Friedman (1993), self-interest is promoted both in private and public spheres. It can be observed in the education systems of OECD country members because of their focus on obtaining good outcomes on standardized tests. In this regard, it is important to consider that, at least in the English education system, “a month of math lessons, say, with four lessons a week, could be of the order of 16 lessons. With one music lesson every 2 weeks in many English schools, this would be two lessons.” (Fautley 2019, 8). Such curricular priorities reveal an institution’s self-interest because the holistic development of students is overlooked, while preference is given instead to control mechanisms linked to efficiency. The existence of self-interest within the social state is a threat to social justice, since education policies tend to silence music education (Spruce 2017) and responsibility for music training is ceded to private cultural and arts institutions.

The social state is thus dismantled because neoliberalism typically favours “the integrity of the financial system and the solvency of financial institutions over the well-being of the population or environmental quality” (Harvey 2007, 70–71). Such a dismantling of the social state is observed in the neoliberal model promoted by the Chilean government since the establishment of the totalitarian regime.

Figure 1. Three Systemic Characteristics of Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism Applied in Chile: A Dictator’s Legacy

A group of Chilean economists trained at the University of Chicago during the mid-1950s—the “Chicago boys”—took the lead in the implementation of a number of reforms, in the absence of repressed political opposition or democratic control, transforming Chile into the first “laboratory” of a neoliberal state (Rodríguez 2019, 112).

In 1970, Salvador Allende was democratically elected as Chile’s first socialist president, attracting international attention because Allende’s success was thought to display the democratic viability of socialism as promoted by Soviet Union at the time of the global Cold War (Paranzino in press). However, Allende passed away during the military coup in 1973, which the Nixon administration apparently supported; many declassified documents demonstrated “Washington’s role in supporting General Pinochet, and on the human rights atrocities committed during his rule” (Kornbluh 1999, 36). Many people were tortured and murdered then, including Victor Jara, the famous singer-songwriter, and Jorge Peña Hen, the first promoter of child-youth orchestral practice in Latin America (Carlson 2014). Music was also used as an element of torture at that time (Chornik 2018), as prisoners were forced to sing hymns of army forces, and loud music was played in torture centers to cover screams.

After the coup, General Augusto Pinochet presided over the junta and the country until 1990. Neoliberalism was empirically tested during this period. That is, Chile was “the first large-scale neoliberal laboratory” (Barder 2013, 112) because it was instrumentally useful to implement and upgrade neoliberal theories (Inzunza, Assael, Cornejo, and Redondo 2019). Concurrently, the Chicago Boys implemented economic ideas based on the military’s self-interest, removing restraints on trading markets, privatizating social services, destroying labor unions, and repositioning Chile in the world economy (Valdés 2003). These ideas were grounded in the laissez-faire doctrine of Milton Friedman (Cerny 2014), which gave rise to “shock therapy macroeconomic stabilization and structural reforms aimed at reducing state intervention in economic policy and at increasing the role of the private sector in social services” (Madariaga 2020, 7).

Social reforms were oriented toward the privatization of social and public services (Rodríguez 2019) in order to outsource what had previously been state responsibilities. For instance, rights for water were privatized in 1981, in an effort to strengthen the economy “based on non-renewable resource extraction” (Barbier 2017, 142). Another example is linked to the healthcare market, as state funds began to be directed in the mid-1980s toward paying high prices in private medical centers instead of supporting public hospitals, which now face a scarcity of medicines, stretchers, and surgical instruments (González, Ferrer, Cataldo, and Rojas 2019). Finally, social security was ended in 1980 (Madero-Cabib, Biehl, Sehnbruch, Calvo, and Bertranou 2019) because, at that time, all workers (except armed and police forces) began accumulating savings individually in private pension fund management companies. Currently, retirement and disability pensions are being questioned since, at least in Santiago, the Chilean capital, the average pension covers only 40% of the cost of living for a single person (Borzutzky and Hyde 2016; Vallejos, Gárate, and Gómez 2019).

Chile has thus become a subsidiary state, as private entities have taken control of social and public services (Garretón 2017). According to Mayol (2019), the country’s neoliberal model has served to create prosperity and stability only on a superficial level, as the government has taken pains to obscure the permanent status of fragility in which the working-class lives. Thus, Chile suffers from a deep income inequality (OECD 2016), which is observable at a glance because citizens are segregated in neighbourhoods according to social class (Garretón 2017). The Chilean model has brought about social segregation and exclusion because all social services have come to be seen as consumer goods. An orientation of individualism has become increasingly evident, as economically privileged people have tended to choose private clinics or schools, thus neglecting to contribute to the maintenance of public organizations. Hence, the most socioeconomically disadvantaged have been relegated to using public agencies, which are now undergoing processes of dismantling due to lack of support.

Chilean public education is also experiencing a dismantling because private institutions exist throughout the education system (Rodríguez 2019). A hybrid educational sector, widely known as private subsidized schools, began offering services in primary and secondary education in the 1980s (Corvalán and García-Huidobro 2015), supported financially by both families and the state through tuition payments and vouchers, respectively (Aravena and Quiroga 2016, Sapelli 2003). Only 17 percent of the student population attended private subsidized schools in 1981, but this proportion increased to 32 percent by 1984 (Corvalán and García-Huidobro 2015). Currently, 55 percent of Chilean schools are classified as being within the private subsidized sector (Ministry of Education 2013), and those institutions are now predominant in the education system. It is important to consider that private subsidized schools have been seen as non-profit organizations only since 2018.

The sole difference between public and private subsidized schools at present is that families pay no fees to the former (Mizala and Torche 2012), although both sectors are dependent on the state. Notably, public schools receive students who come mainly from economically disadvantaged families (Bellei 2013), while middle class students are distributed among private subsidized schools according to family income level. Thus, the price of tuition serves as the mechanism for selecting and segregating students by economic status (Trevino, Mintrop, Villalobos, and Ordenes 2018). Parents’ willingness to invest in the education of their children is crucial in this model, as it opens up the supply and demand spiral whereby private subsidized schools have become a profitable business; in contrast, the public education system is dismantled (Corvalán and García-Huidobro 2015).

Despite Chile’s education system being financed mainly through the government, education policies are not allowing school segregation to be diminished (Oyarzún and Soto 2018) because, in addition to the expenditure per student being one of lowest among OECD country members (OECD 2018), learners continue to experience academic activities only with members of their own social group. That is, social mobility has been curtailed, and social segregation has become the Achilles’ heel of Chile’s education system. The situation in the nation’s higher education system holds little promise for resolving this problem because Chile has the second most expensive tuition fees for undergraduate programs among all OECD country members. Families are the main contributors on this level, financing 57 percent of the costs of higher education institutions (OECD 2018). Consequently, undergraduate professional development perpetuates social exclusion because the most socioeconomically disadvantaged people are prevented from enrolling in higher education institutions due to high tuition costs.

Curricular Status of Music Education in the School System of Chile

In 2018, the Ministry of Education (2018a) reported that 70 percent of public schools were satisfied with the educational resources obtained through the National Plan for Arts in Education 2015–2018. This report thus implies that nearly a third of public schools expressed a sense of disconformity with respect to the quality of materials obtained, which suggests that purchasing managers have wasted funds. On this point, it is important to note that principals in half of the schools selected the educational resources, which reveals that the power structure is centralized on principals.

Government agencies have provided no information about the evaluation of music education and educational practices. However, Angel-Alvarado (2018a) has reported that inconsistencies can be found between curriculum theory and educational practices, given that creativity is rarely encouraged in music lessons by teachers, despite its prominence in the national curriculum of music (Ministry of Education 2013). More precisely, his report reveals that the higher the Grade in school, the less creative activity is promoted by the teacher (Angel-Alvarado 2018a).

In addition, analysis has revealed problems associated with assessment in Chilean music education. According to Magnitzky and Sepúlveda (2017), most Chilean music educators understand marks as incentives for promoting student participation in learning experiences. In this regard, Angel-Alvarado, Belletich, and Wilhelmi (2019) have reported that student behavior is centered on academic results because obtaining good marks is students’ main incentive for carrying out learning tasks in music lessons, even when accomplishment of the tasks does not itself give pleasure. For instance, students may display authoritarian behaviors when assuming leadership in collective learning tasks, revealing the prevalence of self-interest, because personally obtaining good marks is more important to them than participating with others in a positive learning environment.

The Professionalism of Music Teachers in the Chilean Context

In Chile, a majority of compulsory education schools have only one contracted, specialist music teacher, just as in the United States of America (de Vries 2018, Sindberg 2011) and Spain (Angel-Alvarado, Belletich, and Wilhelmi 2020). While both specialist educators and generalist teachers teach music in Chilean schools, music specialist teachers work mainly in secondary education. Music instruction at the primary education level is done mostly by generalist teachers (Ministry of Education 2018a).

Regarding this point, it is imperative to recall that “a music education professional … is not simply a musician with pedagogical training” (Bowman 2007, 114–15), since it is imperative to humanize musical praxis in order for music education to serve as “action for change in the musical lives of students now and in the future as adults” (Regelski 2020, 49). However, some renowned Chilean universities still implement music teacher education programs based on the idea of preparing musicians with general pedagogical skills (Aranda, Carrillo, and Casals 2017; Poblete 2017). The initial professional development of generalist teachers is considered in a similar way by these universities. It can be seen that they regard music teaching as being of little importance (Giráldez and Palacios 2016), since undergraduate programs are provided only a few hours per week in just one semester for the imparting of theoretical and practical knowledge linked to music and music education (Angel-Alvarado 2018b; Tejada, Thayer, and Arenas 2020).  Furthermore, since undergraduate courses are mainly centered on musicianship, it is necessary for teachers in both primary and secondary music education to acquire and develop the competencies needed for effective music teaching through trial-and-error practice when they take their first teaching position (Angel-Alvarado 2020, Quiroga-Fuentes and Angel-Alvarado 2021).

This situation explains the coexistence of multiple conceptions of music education in Chile (Jorquera-Jaramillo 2010; Jorquera, Valverde, and Godall 2020; Valdebenito 2013). For this reason, the National Plan for Arts in Education 2015–2018 was instituted to implement music courses both for specialist and generalist teachers. Beyond this education policy, it is crucial to consider that the Chilean national constitution warrants academic freedom in order to provide educational institutions with relative autonomy (Mayol 2012). However, music teacher education programs are publicly categorized by standard comparative patterns of higher education quality by the National Accreditation Commission (Ministry of Education 2018b), which reflect a national culture rooted in academic efficiency, so academic freedom is diminished (Ávalos 2015). Furthermore, the higher education market in which universities are situated reveals commercial competition among them for enrollments, triggering institutional individualism because each university looks after itself.

Effects of Neoliberalism on the Music Education System of Chile

Analysis of systemic characteristics reveals that neoliberalism affects at least five aspects of the music education system (Figure 2). First, Chile is infringing on the first goal of the Seoul Agenda (UNESCO 2010) because most of the primary and secondary schools have no music room, nor educational supplies for imparting music lessons. That is, school administrations and principals do not guarantee the minimal resources for implementing, at least in their curriculum design, a music education of high quality. On this point, it is important to note that academic freedom is a wide concept, as it encompasses different matters declared on educational projects, including facilities and any other provision. It is probable that funds provided by the state will be insufficient; however, the National Plan for Arts in Education 2015–2018 implied a specific investment for improving infrastructural conditions and, even so, a third of purchasing managers wasted those funds. In other words, socioeconomically disadvantaged communities are still forced to cover the costs of educational resources linked to music learning despite the high costs of musical instruments (Spruce 2017), which challenges social justice and the welfare state (Brown 2020).

Second, music education is undervalued within the national curriculum because the state provides very little funding for improving the conditions under which it is offered. To be clear, the investment of the National Plan for Arts in Education 2015–2018 was oriented to deliver equipment, yet musical instruments were not even 1 percent of the total budget for the Subsecretary of Education (Ministry of Education 2015a, 2015b); the investment should be understood as only a first step toward addressing the lack of provisions. Since music education in Chile is replete with curricular insecurities and precariousness, it can be said to be immersed in a domination culture (Smith 2016), as the education system prioritizes subjects that are assessable through standardized tests. In fact, the Subsecretary of Education alluded to such a situation at the moment of requesting public funding for carrying out the National Plan (Ministry of Education 2015a).

The third and fourth neoliberal effects refer to the constitutional right of academic freedom. Specifically, there is no institutional consensus about what defines a music education professional. Exercising the constitutional right of academic freedom serves to establish points of formative differentiation between teacher education programs, which fosters the construction of several representations of professional music teachers. In Chile, a standardization culture exists in the higher education system, but it centers mainly on standard comparative patterns based on efficiency (Ávalos 2015, Davies 2014b). The fourth effect reveals that the constitutional right to academic freedom makes it feasible for the school to offer any kind of approach to music education, which allows for institutional self-interest because agencies behave individualistically (Muñoz 2019). This reveals a situation charged with social segregation and exclusion (Spruce 2017), as indeed there are some secondary education students who have never even attended music lessons at the primary education level (Angel-Alvarado 2018a).

The fifth neoliberal effect discloses that music education encourages an individualistic mindset (Muñoz 2019), as, while students do whatever it takes to obtain good marks, teachers implement operant conditioning strategies in order to control students’ behavior. More precisely, it is worrisome that music teachers use marks as rewards and punishment of students’ participation in lessons (Magnitzky and Sepúlveda 2017), because the mark becomes a catalyst of academic participation, and does not take into account the students’ motivation for acquiring and developing significant learning in personal and collective terms. The catalyst role of the mark gives rise to a self-interest because students are capable of showing authoritarian behaviors even in group tasks, disregarding the feelings of their classmates, in order to obtain good marks (Angel-Alvarado, Belletich, and Wilhelmi 2019). In those cases, the emotional value of the music and music education is forgotten or misunderstood. The individualistic mindset is rooted in the curricular insecurities and precariousness of music education because, to some extent, the use of the mark as reward or punishment serves to minimize student disruptions, which means for teachers that the limited instructional time is not wasted. The teachers try to encompass all the content proposed by the national curriculum, but the limited time allocated for music lessons forces them to apply authoritarian teaching methods in order to teach as much as possible (Angel-Alvarado, Belletich, and Wilhelmi 2020).

Figure 2. Five Effects of Neoliberalism in the Music Education System of Chile


Considering the effects of neoliberalism on Chilean society, we can conclude that Chilean music education is negatively affected by a variety of patterns linked to it, including a lack of facilities and educational resources, curricular insecurities, a multiplicity of representations of music education professionalism, a lack of consensus about academic freedom, a culture of standardization, as well as an individualistic mindset. Neoliberal patterns similar to these have also been observed in other public services including the healthcare system and social security. It is irrefutable that Chile has attained economic prosperity in the past three decades. However, the outsourcing of state responsibilities has exceeded the limit because the working class has experienced social segregation and exclusion in different realms of social life. The constitution enacted during Pinochet’s dictatorship put the free market above all, overlooking citizens’ well-being and even their human rights. Currently, Chile has sufficient economic and human capital to take the next step towards a fairer and collaborative society. A new constitution could be written democratically with maintenance of human dignity as a central condition for all. Such a new social agreement would require that the wealthy display a willingness to share their privileges through taxes and social security. That being said, it seems more plausible that new economic ideas will be based on a solidary paradigm, leaving the subsidiary model in place, since most of the elected members of the constitutional convention have no political affiliation and belong mainly to the middle class. It thus seems fair to say that the Chilean electoral system has broken, and new political institutions will need to become change agents in the promotion of social justice, which implies regulating the structural power of elites, transforming business interests toward a more humane vision.

While the effects of neoliberalism described in this paper are contextualized in the Chilean context, they may also be observed in other Western countries; Chile merely represents an extreme case. Three implications stem from the foregoing analysis. The first implication is posed from an infrastructural and curricular perspective. The Chilean central government should implement education policies centered on the construction and improvement of facilities and educational resources, establishing collaborative bonds between public and private agencies in order to undertake music projects that achieve stability over time. It will be essential to understand music education as a public service rather than a consumer good, as the former perspective is focused on sociomusical practices and their benefits to communities, while the latter is based on an individualistic viewpoint. The second implication concerns professionalism, as it is imperative to establish a definition for a music education professional, one that integrates the work of both generalist and specialist music teachers. In undertaking this task, the central government should consult universities in order to reach a consensus about the profile and features of a music education professional. The last implication concerns social segregation and individualism, which are linked to professionalism because an institutional definition may be implemented concretely in the education system with the intention of reducing social inequities, in that all teachers could work in similar ways. Beyond this normative implementation, it will be essential to monitor regularly the state of social segregation and exclusion caused by music education. This implies that music education researchers must assume a more active role in the generation of theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of music education and linked to the social sciences.

About the Authors

Rolando Angel-Alvarado is an assistant professor in curriculum theory and research methodology at the Music Institute in Alberto Hurtado University (Chile). His research areas include teacher professional development, curriculum, teacher motivation, and teacher autonomy. ORCID: 0000-0002-1800-2667

Bayron Gárate-González is a music teacher and teaching assistant in curriculum theory at the Music Institute in Alberto Hurtado University (Chile). His research field centers on citizenship education from the perspective of music education.

Isabel Quiroga-Fuentes is a music teacher and teaching assistant in research methodology at the Music Institute in Alberto Hurtado University (Chile). Her research field focuses on inclusive practices carried out in Youth orchestras.


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