I don't think so anymore. I think that the value of music (or any cultural expression) lies in the perception of the listener, some kind of social contract between composer/performer and listener or similar. I do think that our education should make us aware of what lies beyond current popular culture, and that this will make us into "better" people.
I would agree that at least part of your above statement is indisputable (within reason and logic). The value of anything, of whatever description, lies in the perception of the recipient. The colour 'green' is not a property of a leaf. It's a property of human perception involving the structure of our brain. The leaf certainly does have specific properties which can be associated with a causal effect in relation to the human sensation of green, but the quality and sensation of greenness exists only in the mind, not in the leaf.
I find the term 'social contract' a bit too vague. My view is that everything a person is, including his/her tastes, intelligence, talents, character, personality and so on, is dependent upon the interaction between a person's genetic make-up and all the experiences, of all descriptions, including education in its broadest sense, that the person has been exposed to, from life in the womb to the present day.
It is well-understood that the earlier experiences in a person's life can have a greater and more long-lasting effect than the later experiences. Sigmund Freud tried to analyse the effects of early, unpleasant experiences that some people had successfully suppressed so that they weren't even aware of having had such experiences, yet such experiences continued to influence their behaviour.
Sometimes, to get one's point across, it helps to create an extreme example, so I'll create a fictitious scenario to explain what I mean. Imagine two adopted children of similar age. One child was adopted because his mother died whilst giving birth. The other child was adopted because he was removed by social workers from a dysfunctional family.
Whilst bringing up these two children, the foster parents noticed some radical differences in musical taste at a very early stage in the children's schooling. One child seemed to instinctively like the music of Bach, whenever it was played, without having had any musical instruction. The other child seemed quite disturbed when such music was played. It wasn't that he was bored or not interested, he was actually very upset.
The foster parents, being very inquisitive sorts of people, like Ray is, did some research into the parents of their adopted children. What they found, from discussions and interviews with people who had known the parents, was that the mother of the child who instinctively liked Bach was a great fan of Bach's music. In fact, the neighbours used to complain that whilst she was pregnant, and living alone, she would play Bach Cantatas and organ music at levels which disturbed the neighbours, who only appreciated pop music.
Clearly, the child who intuitively and instinctively like the music of Bach had an unconscious memory of hearing the music whilst still in the womb.
However, the accounts from the neighbours regarding the dysfunctional family were quite different, except for the music of Bach. The parents were described as continually arguing and shouting, with violence against the wife often occurring, which is why the child was removed by social workers and subsequently adopted.
Revealingly, the neighbours claimed that during such disruptions of shouting and yelling and bashing, they would often hear the music of Bach played loudly. Is it any wonder that that child disliked Bach?
What I'm trying to say here, is that people who claim that one cannot acquire a taste, or that one person's taste is no better than another person's, or that all tastes are equal because they are just tastes with no accounting for, are not digging deep enough.
As I write this, I'm reminded of that first performance of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in Paris. I had to search the internet to find the exact date, May 29th 1013. That event has always stuck in my mind because I found it very bizarre that differences of opinion on matters of taste could flame into violence in the stalls.http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/29/4375736/igor-stravinsky-rite-of-spring-100-anniversary-paris-riot