‘The young Irish person has the worst of all European musical “worlds”’. This seminal statement was discovered to be symptomatic of a general malaise. The Music Education National Debate (MEND 1994-1996) was a three-phase response to Deaf Ears?, the report from which the above statement was taken. The eventual aim was to set up a forum for music education which would systematically address the difficulties in Ireland. The scope of MEND was, thus, general, ab initio. Its progress was, however, inhibited by a specific concern, which was fundamental to the whole process of reform. It soon became apparent that consensus on a philosophy of music education to inform evolving strategies would be a sine qua non. Coincidentally, this was a time of debacle in the global field, instanced by the publication of a ‘new’ philosophy of music education (David Elliott’s Music Matters ) which threw down the gauntlet to the undisputed classic - Reimer’s A Philosophy of Music Education [1970/1989]. This challenge amounted to a veritable counterposition and demanded a separate, albeit derivative, study before the MEND Report could be completed. This study was to become the substance of this thesis. The aim of this work is to analyse these polar philosophies with a view to reconciling them. Beginning with some commonly held values about music education, the relevance of American music education practice to a wide range of global systems is suggested. The dominance of a western art (music) mentality is called into question by giving prominence to multiculturalism and popular music. Music Education as Aesthetic Education (Reimer) is compared with the praxial approach (Elliott). They yielded to rationalization, albeit posing residual questions of balance, relevance, and time constraints within the curriculum. The indispensability of performance and listening as a complementary pair is re-established. The ascendancy of artistic criteria in defining the music programme is affirmed. Finally the failure of the universal philosophy hypothesis is redeemed by sketching the compromises necessary to convert it to the adaptability of the contextual idea, leading the study to a conclusion of general, rather than specific, application. Note from the UPeTD Team: The final MEND (The Music Education National Debate) report can be obtained from the Academic Information Service, University of Pretoria, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The report is available as an Adobe Acrobat .pdf document. There are hyperlinks embedded within the document to facilitate internal navigation. The Appendix at the end (which is an index of the MEND debates and presentations) also contains hyperlinks.