In Postmodernism and Education, Robin Usher and Richard Edwards write that 'education is perhaps the most important way we relate to the world, to the way we experience, understand and attempt to change the world and to the ways in which we understand ourselves and our relations with others' (Usher and Edwards, p.4). A few pages later, they resume their basic assumption by stating that education is assigned a key role in the forming and shaping of subjectivity and identity so that subjects become fully autonomous and capable of exercising their individual and intentional agency, bringing out the inherent potential to become self-motivated and self-directing (cf. Usher and Edwards, p.24-5, my italics). ('Bringing out' is a well-chosen description considering the etymology of the word 'education': Latin e-ducere, meaning to lead someone or something out of something. One could say that a teacher leads a student out of the dark into the light, the light of knowledge. The truth in teaching, (also) the main title of this section of the site, could be understood as bringing the world into unconcealedness, a lighting.)
 It can be said that Western pedagogy culminates in Hegel's philosophical didacticism. According to Shoshana Felman, the Hegelian concept of 'absolute knowledge' - which, for Hegel, simultaneously defines the potential aim and the actual end of dialectics, of philosophy - is 'what pedagogy has always aimed at as its ideal: the exhaustion - through methodical investigation - of all there is to know; the absolute completion - termination - of apprenticeship. Complete and totally appropriated knowledge will become, in all senses of the word, a mastery' (Felman, p.77). She quotes Jacques Lacan who writes that from the Hegelian perspective, the completed discourse is an instrument of power, the scepter and the property of those who know. What is at stake in absolute knowledge is the fact that discourse closes back upon itself, that it is entirely in agreement with itself (cf. Felman, p.77).
 Can we escape from the model or the project described above? Are we caught in this model as soon as we enter the pedagogical space? Or, to formulate it more precisely, is this view on education true, i.e., is it complete or is there more to say?
 If we accept this view, education can neither be thought of as inherently transformative, nor inherently oppressive. Rather, it has both a transformative and an oppressive potential, and these are always in contention with each other. (Education will always provide some kind of closure, some anchoring of meaning, if only in the sense that all thinking necessitates making distinctions, inclusions and exclusions, and setting up hierarchies. But this is always bound to be temporary.) Rethinking education and pedagogy must expose the ambiguous and contradictory processes of the possibility for an open encounter and an excluding oppression. So, if we can escape from the pedagogic model based on rationalism and autonomy, I neither want to answer in the affirmative, nor in the negative. It is a matter of shifting accents whereby new perspectives, new engagements, can be shown. It is certainly not a rejection of all education and pedagical practices, but a critical and continual questioning of their premises, structures, articulations and consequences. Nevertheless, the pedagogical approach, which makes no claim to total knowledge, is of course quite different from the still very dominant pedagogical pose of mastery. This posture, however, is deconstructed (disrupted, transformed) from the inside instead of criticized from outside the pedagogical space.
 How to rethink education? How to think and approach education otherwise? What could a shift from a traditional, modernist pedagogy to what Gregory Ulmer calls a 'new pedagogy' look like? What is the space opened by this new pedagogy, informed by post-structuralism and deconstruction?
 Gregory Ulmer starts from a slightly different position and motivation. He paraphrases Derrida's point that the ideal of an educated person that is held by a given era is always predicated on the basis of a theory of truth. But if Derrida is right, what might be the ideal of an educated person proposed by post-structuralism that puts into question the very notion of truth in which the claims of truth to objectivity and neutrality are exposed as effects of an apparatus of power, Ulmer wonders (cf. Ulmer, p.168). Ulmer tries to find a way out of the dominant paradigm by seeking a 'new pedagogy' that does not accept that teaching and learning involve just the transmission of a fixed content. He tries to rethink the space in which the discourse of ideas takes place. Ulmer's new pedagogy involves a 'displacement of educational transmissions from the domain of truth to that of invention'. To invent. A shift of emphasis from reproduction to that of translation or transformation. (What is the problem of reproduction in a (jazz) improvisation? In attempting to repeat in an improvisation what has already been repeated by others, the student knows that he cannot fully master the prior repetitions and that his improvisation will finally be exposed as incompetent. The more a student tries to make an improvisation repeat exactly others that should precede and enable it, the more his improvisation is haunted by the infinitely differing play between the example and his substitute. In part, this explains his desire to be told what to do, so that he can do it and avoid having to improvise (cf. Neel, p.169).) For the student, this is not necessarily a matter of 'genius' or originality, but of 'searching through the places or topoi to find materials for one's own text' (Ulmer, p.179). The teacher can no longer act as the faithful transmitter of a tradition. (S)he should become a worker in a process of transformation. In that way, the classroom can become a place of invention, rather than of reproduction (cf. Ulmer, p.163-4).
 The classroom as a place of invention. The teacher as a transformer. The student as a kind of bricoleur, a handy-man. What does this mean? What does this mean for music education? (Afterall, as an academic and a music teacher, I want to say something about giving a music lesson.) Students take up the thoughts (speech, writing, music) of others and make them their own. They take possession of this plurality of voices and are possessed by them at their own pace, in their own place, thereby soliciting new thoughts, new meanings, new music. Working on language, working on music opens up possibilities for a different kind of language and music. Neglecting this working, both teachers and students would have nothing to say that has not already been said; they would merely reproduce the thoughts, truths, musics of others. Working on language, working on music, to make it one's own, to remake it as one's own, means to reject finality and to render account of the play of différance. To invent means to interrupt, to disrupt already existing languages, already existing musics, to underwrite the possibility of an other language, an other music (cf. Finn, 1995, p.5-9).
 I teach music. 'Jazz'. Besides teaching piano and music theory, I offer combo lessons. I prefer working with teaching material developed by myself, Intermezzo, for example, which is at the same time a composition and not a composition. (There is a special page on Intermezzo, on which I elaborate on this (non) composition. Here I just summarize.) The framework or outline of Intermezzo consists of eight different musical motifs. It is not immediately clear which member of the combo should play which motif. It is also not immediately clear if motif 1 is a bassline or a vocal part. Nor is it clear beforehand where, for example, motif 4 should be played, if at all. All motifs can both be principal themes and accompaniment. And in fact, the motifs only appear as an occasion, pretext, or indicator for (collective) improvisations. No transparency, no finality, no fixed content. With every performance Intermezzo is (re-)invented, transformed. Intermezzo is a way of opening up to (through) the play of différance. This means that the students are not only performers or interpreters; they are composers, as well. Instant composers. Of course, the musical result is grafted onto the music and the play of other composers and musicians, but it is something of their own as well, something new, transforming a certain kind of silence into music. It is an excess, i.e., it exceeds what already has been played and composed. The emphasis shifts from imitation and reproduction to invention. The students are on a journey, but they don't know where they are going until they get there. And the teacher? (An elaboration on this subject can be found in The Role of the Teacher.) What about me? Am I, in the words of Ulmer, a 'faithful transmitter of a tradition'? I will not deny that I am part of a tradition, a musical tradition, a pedagogical tradition, a cultural tradition, an intellectual tradition, etc. But teaching Intermezzo means putting myself as a teacher, and my knowledge at stake. I don't know what is going to happen in and with the music or the motifs. Learning takes place on the basis of what the students come out with, what they decide on. So, it is even difficult to say what it means to teach Intermezzo. Maybe it is nothing more than creating a (safe) space where people can engage with music in a creative, less traditional, but also unstable way. Maybe it is creating a (safe) place to put aside mastery and control, a (safe) place for a continual questioning. Perhaps the meaning of 'e-ducere' should be transformed, as well: instead of leading someone from the dark into the light, from one place to the other, I opt for showing someone that there is light in the darkness (and perhaps that there is some darkness in what (s)he regards as light).