Many children “do not receive any musical education”


A survey found that a significant minority of primary school teachers say music is “non-existent” or “virtually non-existent” in their schools, reports Emma Seith.

The research – carried out by the Royal Conservatory of Scotland (RCS) – also found that nearly one in ten teachers surveyed answered ‘never’ when asked how often children in their class attended music lessons. , although the largest proportion (33 percent) said music lessons were taken weekly.

Meanwhile, only 3 percent of elementary teachers said their schools had a “structured and cohesive curriculum” in music education.

Respondents to the survey of 437 primary school teachers most often indicated that music education varied from class to class depending on the comfort level of each teacher (60%) and that music was predominantly covered by the preparation of assemblies and school performances (55%). .

Only 6 percent of those surveyed said music lessons involved children playing various instruments.

Dr Lio Moscardini, one of the report’s authors and Senior Lecturer in Learning and Teaching at RCS, said: ‘Probably what worried me most was that 15% of all respondents indicated that music education was either “non-existent” or “virtually non-existent” in their schools, with 9 percent of those surveyed in the study stating that children in their primary schools do not take any music lessons.

“That’s a lot of kids who don’t get any music education. Evidence from the data is that this was three times more likely to be the case in SIMD [Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation] 1 and 2 zones compared to rich zones. “

Almost all respondents – 98 percent – considered music education in elementary school to be important, but most (73 percent) said their initial teacher education had not prepared them to teach music, while more two-thirds stated that they had not participated in any professional learning activity related to music education.

About three-quarters of the staff surveyed (73 percent) felt that music should be taught by someone other than the regular teacher.

However, the report – released this month and titled Primary school music education in Scotland – stressed that “this proposal is problematic on a number of fronts”, not least because “the reality is that there are only 49 music specialists in primary schools in Scotland”. Dr Moscardini argued that “a more pragmatic solution is to focus on how best to help elementary teachers develop their ability to teach music”.

He added: “Teachers already have the pedagogical knowledge to do this, what many lack are content-specific knowledge. This could be developed through a more collaborative approach where music organizations are working to support teachers in their classroom practice in a way that connects with what teachers already know and do and that supports a more sustainable model. “

Ultimately, the report calls for a national campaign to raise the status of music in primary schools and for each primary to have a designated “music coordinator” from among the teaching staff who helps colleagues to teach “class music”.

It also calls for an audit of all professional learning opportunities throughout the career in primary music education.


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