Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education (Primary) (Honours) BEd (Primary) (Hons)





First Advisor

Dr Cedric Greive


130105 Primary Education (excl. Maori), 130201 Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy


This study re-affirms the importance of music within the broader society and the primary curriculum. However it notes that due to differences in philosophy there is a division in the approach to teaching music by teachers. The 'instrumentalists' emphasise the importance of teaching skills of music making and tend to create special opportunities for the musically skilled students through ensemble groups, choirs, and bands. In contrast, other music teachers promote a generalist approach that includes a broad range of skills, concepts and appreciation rather than focusing on the precise skills involved in learning a particular instrument.

This study involved a quasi-experimental design in which the effects of two musical programs as taught to two year-five classes were compared. The control class (24 students) received a 30 minute weekly general music class with a specialist teacher. The experimental class (24 students) undertook this same weekly program and in addition received a recorder program by the classroom teacher for 15 minutes, four times a week. At the beginning of the program the two classes were not found to be different in gender division, age, musical skills, family musical influence and cognitive and creative abilities. At the end of the 11 week period the students in both classes were re-tested for musical skills and creativity (measured by the Torrance Test of creative thinking).

The results showed that at the end of the 11 weeks students in the experimental class, learning the recorder, were more advanced in a range of musical skills and knowledge as compared to the control class. A backward, stepwise, multiple regression analysis revealed that factors contributing to this development included the students' cognitive ability, private after class musical tuition, family musical influence and participation in the classroom recorder program. The results also indicated that at the end of the 11 weeks, students in the experimental class learning the recorder had increased levels of creativity when compared with the control class whose members did not learn the recorder. The additional recorder program may have contributed to the development of creativity in the experimental class. These results are by no means conclusive because the researcher was not able to control all potential influences of creative development. However these results are consistent with research investigating similar connections between music and general creative development dating back three decades.

This study argues that the additional recorder program was responsible for the enhanced musical skills of the students in the experimental class and that the potential exists for a program similar to the recorder program to contribute to the enhancement of creative abilities. The study recommends that primary school music programs should include classes where generalist music skills and concepts are taught together with classes that are enriched by the involvement of particular instrumental skills where students learn real musical skills and learn to make music. That is, weekly generic music programs covering many musical attributes are not enough to provide students with a truly holistic enriched program. Limitations of the study are acknowledged and recommendations for further study are made.


Used by permission: the author.

A print copy of this thesis is held in the Avondale College Library (SC Theses 372.87 C87).

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