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MUS3111 : Teaching Music in Schools - socio-cultural contexts and approaches to practice

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Julia Partington
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


To develop students’ ability to understand and reflect critically upon the processes of teaching music in schools. To enable students to gain understanding of current and historical issues, debates, theories and practice in the field of school music education. To develop student’s knowledge of how political ideology affects the teaching of music.

The module will include lectures, seminars, group work and practical workshops. A critical perspective of school music education will be developed together with relevant understanding of key issues in the classroom. By the conclusion of this module, students will have a good understanding of the current state, debates, developments and initiatives within the field of school music education at both primary and secondary levels, with a knowledge of the historical background of these. They will have reflected on big questions such as what does musical learning look like? and what is the purpose of music education?. They will also have gained practical knowledge in the fields of singing with children, and of ways of preparing to enter the music teaching profession.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction to recent history and developments in school music education in the UK, and the socio-political contexts influencing this history and current debates. The importance of music in the Early Years. Current issues within primary music school music education: for example, generalist teacher musical confidence and identity; role of music within the primary school in the light of recent Government initiatives; primary pupils’ access to music education in the school. Current issues within secondary music school music education: student musical identity in and out of school: the role of music within the secondary school in the light of recent Government initiatives. Growing areas of interest in the general school music educational field, including questions of pedagogy, student voice, and dialogic and informal approaches to teaching music. Preparing for application to PGCE. Pedagogical approaches to teaching music, with a particular emphasis upon a pedagogy of singing.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00Present in person Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading150:0050:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching62:0012:00Present in person small group seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:303:00Present in person pedagogy workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:303:00Scheduled present in person tutorial surgeries
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study170:0070:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials explore contexts, issues and methodologies related to the teaching of music, particularly focusing on different approaches to music education, and how the political agenda has shaped these. Synchronous seminars give students a chance to critically engage with the work of various scholars, bring their experiences, challenge and debate, and to deepen understandings of complex issues discussed during the lectures. Practical group work and workshops give opportunities to experience pedagogical approaches discussed in theory.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M401500 word essay on set question
Essay2A60Final essay on chosen aspect of music in school (from EYFS to Secondary) 2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will reflect overall engagement with the course and give students the opportunity to demonstrate both that they have acquired general and relevant understandings of the issues and practices of school music education as covered in the module, and that they are now able to explore their chosen topic to a deeper level, bringing in their reading from their independent study.

There are also opportunities for formative feedback whereby students are set small tasks that they have to present or feed back to the group.

SEMESTER ONE ONLY STUDY ABROAD: The coursework assessment needs an earlier submission date but otherwise remains unchanged.

Reading Lists