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Pedagogy versus performance in primary classroom music teaching: Lessons from a ‘usable past’ in Wales

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posted on 2022-12-20, 15:39 authored by Gary Beauchamp, Thomas BreezeThomas Breeze

 From the earliest days of music in the primary (elementary) schools of England and Wales there has been pressure to equip children with the ability to perform music. The early influence of the established Church, and the value attached to musical performance ability as part of cultural aspirations or perceived heritage, ensured that teachers were judged on their ability to perform music, and in turn teach their pupils to do the same. Indeed, throughout successive legislation and the rise to graduate status of the teaching profession primary school teachers have been judged on their perceived ability to perform music themselves rather than on their pedagogic ability to teach it. This resulted in a situation where other aspects of musicality were virtually ignored and opportunities to develop alternative pedagogies, based a broader range of musical skills and interests, were neglected by successive policy makers. It is argued that with a broader conceptualisation of music envisaged in the new Curriculum for Wales, lessons can be learned from a ‘usable past’ which may enable primary school teachers to develop new pedagogic approaches, which would allow them to respond to children in an informed, artistic and musically sensitive manner, rather than requiring specific musical ‘skills’. 


Published in

Wales Journal of Education


University of Wales Press


  • VoR (Version of Record)


Beauchamp, G. & Breeze, T., (2022) “Pedagogy versus performance in primary classroom music teaching: Lessons from a ‘usable past’ in Wales”, Wales Journal of Education 24(2). doi:

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Cardiff Met Affiliation

  • Cardiff School of Education and Social Policy

Cardiff Met Authors

Gary Beauchamp Tom Breexz

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