Historical and contemporary aspects of primary music in-service education in Ireland
The subject of this thesis is primary music in-service education in the Republic of Ireland. The central aims are to investigate what can be learned from the study of historical and recent aspects of music in-service education and to reflect on how this knowledge might be used to inform future policy and practice. There are therefore two distinct strands in this study - the historical research and the research on presentday practice. Historical research was undertaken on the music curriculum and music in-service education from 1900, when music was first introduced as a compulsory subject, to the present day. Three periods in the history of the music curriculum were investigated, leading to the music in-service programme scheduled for 2004 to introduce the 1999 music curriculum. The perspectives of present day teachers and trainers were investigated. Questionnaires were used to elicit the views of teachers who have attended music courses as well as those who have never attended music courses. Following evaluation of this data, semi-structured interviews were held with a sample of music trainers. The research focused on how the current model of music in-service courses could be improved, so that they might be more responsive to the needs of the participants. Finally, the outcomes of the historical research were related to those of the research on the current provision. The findings highlight the fact that certain themes have recurred since music was first introduced as a compulsory subject to the primary curriculum. These issues are: the status of music, the curricular content, the lack of confidence of many generalist teachers, gender and music in schools, and the provision of an advisory service and graded music in-service courses. The study concludes with a set of recommendations for future practice as well as some reflections on the outcomes of the thesis.