The affective element in primary school music education : school music programmes and their influence on children’s attitudes to music.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
tance of monitoring and assessing the development of children’s musical achievement is acknowledged, a prevailing truism for the inclusion of music in the curriculum is to enable children to experience the joy of music. The most significant data on students’ attitude to music arises from the National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP) music survey, administered to samples of Year 4 and Year 8 students four times between 1995 and 2010. That apart, there has been a lack of research into students’ attitudes to music in New Zealand. This study explores the characteristics of four Christchurch primary schools’ music programmes that were identified as examples of best practice. Sources of data include student attitude surveys and semi-structured interviews with key members of staff. In order for data to be compared meaningfully with NEMP data, students in Years 4 and 8 completed a survey with a section replicating the NEMP music survey. Data were also collected on the reasons for and extent of student participation in musical opportunities in and out of school. The range of opportunities provided at each school were aligned with a modified version of the taxonomy of the affective domain (Krathwohl, Bloom & Masia, 1964) to consider the theoretical potential of each school’s music programme to encourage students’ affective development along a continuum. Information collected in this study reveals diversity in how music is delivered to students across the four settings, with the provision of specialised programmes for able or motivated students and compulsory general music being a point of difference. Students at schools in which music was a compulsory component of the school’s curriculum demonstrated more positive attitudes than where music was an elective activity only. The study documents practices in schools following changes to curriculum, including the amalgamation of the arts and the introduction of National Standards. The outcomes suggest that opportunities to learn music may be linked to affective development in music and that there are benefits for both able and less able students when every child is engaged in the music programme.