At the kick off meeting of the Master of Art Education thesis,  I mentioned to three different people the subject of my research: the correlation of rivalry and art education, specific music education. All three colleagues reacted equally with the question: Is there any rivalry?

Just to prove my point why this subject is in dear need of more attention. Rivalry aka competitiveness is such a normality that people might not even notice it being there. If it is invisible to such an extend as to be disregarded, we as educators might miss out on the positive or negative effects rivalry might have on the outcome of our educational goals.

The next thing I mentioned was our long history of music competitions. Todays well know Dutch music competitions such as the ‘Prinses Christina Concour’

prinses christina concours

or the “Grote Prijs van Nederland’.


My next question was: are we educating our talents to become prize winners? And is this proven to be beneficial for their artistic development?

There must be ongoing discussions, research, publications and disputes on the matter. However, to my surprise, finding information on this important subject prove to be challenging.

Why should it be important?

Because as art educators we are supposedly focusing on developing the creativity and the autonomy of our students supported by their intrinsic motivation. While winning a competition has a lot do to with addressing qualities not encouraging or maybe even contradicting those educational goals mentioned earlier. Yes, this is an assumption and one I will use in my upcoming thesis.

As an art educator I am designing an Alternate Reality Game for my students, so I am handling fire. I am creating competition in order to enhance creativity or so I might think. Am I about to burn the hands that should feed me?