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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A survey of primary classroom teachers’ perceptions of music instruction and their own music skills Murray, Sandra Akiko


The purpose of the study was to examine primary classroom teachers’ perceptions of music education and their own music skills in the provision of music instruction for primary aged children. The objectives of the study were to determine the specific topics in music education that primary classroom teachers feel they can and cannot teach comfortably, the kind of music education resources (techniques and materials) that primary classroom teachers find useful or helpful, how primary classroom teachers perceive the importance of music in the curriculum, and how primary classroom teachers’ perceptions of music instruction are shaped by their past music experiences. The questionnaire, A Survey of Primary Classroom Teachers’ Attitudes and Music Backgrounds in Music Education, was mailed to 257 primary classroom teachers in School District #34, Abbotsford. Responses to the questionnaire were tallied, and distribution frequencies for most of the questionnaire items were displayed as graphs. Anecdotal comments were compiled and analysed for categorization. Sixty-four percent of the teachers responded to the questionnaire. The majority of the study’s participants indicated that they believe music is important for children, and that they also value music as a subject within itself. The teachers in the study said that personal past experiences in the primary grades, recordings, concert attendance, and colleagues were influential in helping to shape their perceptions of music instruction. Most of the respondents indicated that they teach music to their students, but are comfortable teaching only certain aspects of music instruction. The majority of teachers claimed that they rely on their personal music experiences as a resource for teaching music. Other highly favoured resources were in-service workshops, observation of a music specialist teaching, and music series textbooks. Teachers who had taken an undergraduate university course in music education rated the study of appropriate songs for children of different ages, the development of movement activities (singing games, dances, etc.), and the use of rhyme or chant to teach rhythm or movement activities as the more helpful course topics. The findings of the present study hold important implications in the consideration of resources, personnel, training, and curriculum development in music education.

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