Year

2016

Degree Name

Masters in Education - Research

Department

School of Education

Abstract

Musical Futures is a teaching and learning approach that is founded on the informal and personal ways popular musicians engage in performing and composing music. This approach has been introduced into Australian schools supported by professional development for teachers, and research evidence that students participating in Musical Futures are more engaged and motivated in music lessons and able to interact directly with new digital activities in music (Jeanneret et al. 2011). This study examines whether Musical Futures can meet the requirements of a music program of study, specifically the NSW Board of Studies Music Syllabus Years 7-10 Stage 4 (2003). There is a gap in the knowledge in this area as no research to date has been undertaken to investigate whether Musical Futures can meet the requirements of a specific music curriculum.

A document analysis has been conducted where content analysis provided the means to extract data from Musical Futures: An Approach to Teaching and Learning (2009) and the NSW Board of Studies Music Syllabus Years 7-10 (2003) Stage 4. David Elliott’s Theory of Praxial Music (2005) – based on a practical process of learning music – provided a framework for understanding the development of student musicianship. Musicianship is a core outcome of music education and Elliott’s work provided another perspective from which to understand both Musical Futures and a mandated music curriculum. The requirements of the NSW Music Syllabus Stage 4 were used as categories under which student tasks collected from the Musical Futures document were compared and analysed, and this process led to themes and issues that emerged to provide valuable perspectives from which to answer the research question.

The study found that Musical Futures introduced exclusively into the music classroom would be limited in the extent to which it could meet the NSW Music Syllabus Stage 4 requirements. The results demonstrated that more teacher direction and supplementation would be needed to ensure students would learn all the content required through the student learning experiences of performing, composing and listening.

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