Addressing the challenges of teaching music by generalist1 primary school teachers

Graham F. Welch, Jennie Henley


Many Primary school teachers believe that the teaching of music to children is outsidetheir available expertise. Although Primary teachers enjoy music, they often expressa sense that music is a ‘specialist’ subject that requires some kind of advancedcompetence on a musical instrument. Underlying this perception is (i) a lack ofconfidence in their own musicianship, often linked to the mistaken belief that innatehuman musicality is unevenly distributed in the general population, and (ii) a lack ofknowledge of how to bring music into their everyday teaching. In order to addressthese concerns, we initiated a specially designed cross-curricular course thatsought to link music to other areas of the curriculum where teachers were requiredto demonstrate everyday expertise, such as in the promotion of children’s languageand mathematical development. The article reports the integrated research-baseddesign of the course and the subsequent experiences of student teachers using anaction-research model that linked university-based sessions with work in school.

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