Enabling Tailored Music Programs in Elementary Schools: An Australian Exemplar

Katrina Skewes McFerran, Alexander Hew Dale Crooke


Participation in meaningful school music programs is the right of all children. Although music education is widely supported by policy, significant gaps exist in practice in most developed Western countries.  These gaps mean the extrinsic and intrinsic benefits associated with participation in tailored programs are not equally available to all learners. School leaders have a critical role to play in determining the degree to which appropriate music programs are resourced in their schools and serve as both gate-keepers and enablers of these opportunities. The exemplary case study reported in this article describes a unique program that makes an interesting and complete contribution to knowledge. A string ensemble program in a socio-economically disadvantaged school provided “great opportunities to study music” that were “fun” and “calming” because of the “encouraging” approach adopted by teachers, except in relation to performances, which were “nerve-wracking”. Learners, parents, teachers and leadership were all “proud” of the achievements of these young people, who often struggled in other academic areas and had escaped considerable trauma in their home countries. The results suggest that relevant music programs are not necessarily tied to a particular genre of music, but rather to the ways in which leaders and facilitators identify whether extrinsic or intrinsic benefits should be targeted and then tailor program designs to meet those needs.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v2i4.536


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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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