Teachers’ perspectives of the role of music and creativity in music teaching and learning in the Irish primary level classroom: exploring policy, curriculum and practice

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Hogan, Grace
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University College Cork
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This dissertation explores the current status of musical creativity in primary level music education in Ireland. It focusses on the meaning and purpose of creativity at primary level, and analyses the positive impact of creativity through music, while also highlighting the meaningful benefits that transcend the boundaries of music education, and enrich the holistic development and learning experience for children in the primary level classroom (DiDomenico, 2017). This thesis explores the efficacy of the current music education model at primary level from the teachers’ perspectives, reflecting upon the history of music education within government policy, education curricula, and in wider society in Ireland throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century, to inform how this has impacted upon the current position of music in education at primary level today. Adopting an ethnographic approach, this dissertation analyses the views and perceptions of teachers surrounding music and creativity in the classroom, through the perspectives of six generalist primary level teachers and two secondary level music teachers. Using the mindset expressed at interview as the channel for further exploration, this thesis highlights five core themes from interview. It examines these five themes, and considers the benefits and challenges associated with music education for the generalist primary level teacher, and explores connection and continuity moving to secondary level music education. It discusses the barriers to developing effective learning environments in music education as expressed by teachers, while seeking to clarify if there is a disconnect between policy and practice. Using the revision of the 1999 Primary Level Music Curriculum as a stimulus, this thesis examines recent developments relating to the role of music at primary level, and explores how these developments have greatly enhanced the music education experience. It examines the position of creative practice in education curricula at both primary and secondary level. Creative practice in music education refers to the exploration of creativity through music, and the facilitation of creative music making opportunities in the classroom. This thesis focusses specifically on creativity within music education policy, discussing how this aspect of the curriculum has progressed, from the publication of the Education Charter (2012), to the development of Creative Ireland, and the release of the new Junior Cycle Music Curriculum (2017). These creative experiences are explored and discussed, to emphasize why creativity should be an integral part of the music education curriculum at primary level. Through analysis of research and best practice, this thesis presents considerations for the development of music education for generalist primary level teachers, to ensure that all primary level teachers can facilitate children with opportunities to access the exciting world of musical creativity.
Creativity , Music education , Teacher voice
Hogan, G. 2021. Teachers’ perspectives of the role of music and creativity in music teaching and learning in the Irish primary level classroom: exploring policy, curriculum and practice. MRes Thesis, University College Cork.
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