The development of secondary school music in the twentieth century : historical perspectives on contemporary practice
This thesis is a contribution to the debate on music education theory and practice. It explores the opportunities for reflecting on contemporary practice from a historical perspective, by looking at the development of music in the secondary school curriculum during the twentieth century. Published texts, archive materials and interviews are used to construct an overview of changing ideals and priorities. The evolution of lesson content and teaching style is traced, from the music appreciation and performance models of early decades to the integration of performing, listening and composing in more recent years. Examination systems, particularly the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), are evaluated alongside the National Curriculum, as case studies in curriculum development. The focus is upon the child, and the changing experiences of music in education that have been encountered by different generations of pupils. The dissemination of information amongst practising teachers is considered, with published material, teachers' own educational and musical background, and available classroom resources studied as factors in developing music education practice. Prominent innovators from each decade are discussed, with links sought between their ideas and those of previous and subsequent generations. The balance between theoretical and practical perspectives on music education is addressed, with the acknowledgement that closer links still need to be made between research and practice. Conclusions are drawn about the relevance of historical studies to contemporary music teaching and learning, and suggestions made for future research. The historically rooted debates of the present are shown to retain their vibrancy as music educators face the new challenges of the next century.