Music education: a threatened species in the humanities

Jan Kane

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    Music is one form of the Arts that has always been an integral component of education and enjoyment in the Humanities. A current trend in education in Australia has been an increased emphasis on the development of literacy and numeracy, which has often come at the expense of other curriculum areas including the Creative Arts. In New South Wales (Australia) Music is taught in primary (elementary) schools by generalist classroom teachers. However, anecdotal information has indicated that Music is one strand of the Creative Arts which is not being taught consistently or well. Experienced teachers often display a reluctance to teach music which stems from a lack of belief in their ability to teach this subject. Additionally, many students who enter teacher education programs have limited musical background and also indicate low levels of confidence in their ability to teach music in primary schools. This perception often continues into their permanent teaching careers and therefore, this most important element of the Humanities, in many cases, is not being well developed with young children. In order to gain knowledge and insight into this problem, a longitudinal study was undertaken which focused on the factors affecting the development of initial Music Teaching Self-Efficacy in primary (elementary) pre-service teacher education students. The study also investigated changes to that teaching self-efficacy over time and focused on elements such as background and experience, perceptions of musical abilities and feelings/anxieties about teaching. This paper will discuss the final results of the study and the implications for the focus of content and pedagogy in pre-service teacher training in the Creative Arts. Further, it will explore future directions for this important area of teaching and learning in the Humanities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-104
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Journal of the Humanities
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright Common Ground and The Author/s. Article originally published in International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 10, pp. 95-104. This version archived on behalf of the author and is available for individual, non-commercial use. Permission must be sought from the publisher to republish or reproduce or for any other purpose.


    • music teaching
    • self-efficacy


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