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Title: An exploration into the uptake rates of GCSE music with a focus on the purposes of music in school
Author: Little, Fiona Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 2683 7634
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis examines the relatively lower uptake rates of GCSE music in comparison to other optional subjects at Key Stage 4 (KS4), such as art, drama and sport. The purpose of the study is primarily to explore the factors which might influence students’ decision whether or not to take GCSE music. In relation to this, the thesis also examines the purposes of music in schools; whether the compulsory music curriculum in school is mainly for: an aesthetic appreciation of music and the arts; the advancement of musical subject knowledge and preparation for further study at KS4; and/or for the attainment of extra-musical benefits, such as transfer effects. The extent to which lower uptake rates should be considered problematic is discussed, as well as the impact of uptake rates on the place of music in the school curriculum. The key research question, “What are the factors which affect the uptake rates for GCSE Music?” is explored using a mixed methods design using quantitative and qualitative data. Data were collected from pupils in Key Stage 3 (N=679); those studying GCSE and A-Level Music (previous option-takers, N=275); students studying for the BMus in Music, and the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in secondary music (N=52). The key findings indicate that children at KS3 reflect upon whether or not they perceive that music will be necessary for them in terms of future career choices as a major contributory factor as to whether they might opt to take GCSE music; they are less likely to choose the subject if they perceive that they will not undertake a career in music, and this factor was statistically significant above and beyond the other factors, between and within schools. Additionally, children in KS3, although most felt that GCSE music would not be beyond them, felt that the perceived need and effort involved v in learning to play an instrument might deter them from opting to take GCSE music. The profile of the participants in the GCSE and A-Level music group (who had previously opted for GCSE music) showed that instrumental skills were held by all but two of these students, and indicate that instrumental skills are a part of most students’ background; the implications of this are considered. Other factors are also considered. The implications of these findings are explored in the thesis and recommendations are given for further research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available