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Beyond a constructivist curriculum : a critique of competing paradigms in music education

Garnett, J. (2013) Beyond a constructivist curriculum : a critique of competing paradigms in music education. British Journal of Music Education, 30 (2). pp. 161-175. ISSN 0265-0517

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S0265051712000575


The distinction between learning to perform on an instrument or voice and learning music in a wider sense is one that is made in many countries, and is especially pertinent in England in the context of recent policy developments. This article argues that, whilst this distinction has come to represent curricula based on the opposing paradigms of behaviourist and constructivist approaches to learning, this opposition does not necessarily extend to the pedagogy through which the curricula are taught. A case study of the National Curriculum in England highlights the characteristics of a curriculum based on constructivist principles, along with the impact this has when taught in a behaviourist way. It is argued that conceiving the curriculum in terms of musical competencies and pedagogy in terms of musical understanding would provide a basis for greater continuity and higher quality in the music education experienced by young people.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:29863
Publisher:Cambridge University Press


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