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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: Music Leadership: The In-School Management of Music in Primary Schools
Degree Type: MEd
Degree Specialism: Music Education
Supervisor(s): Dr Patricia Flynn
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: August 2006
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: St. Patricks College, DCU
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1
Thesis Location / Link: Cregan Library, St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin 9
Abstract: This study investigates the provision and management of music education in Irish primary schools. Music education is the responsibility of the generalist classroom teacher and does not have a formal history of specialist teacher intervention. Often a music coordinator or a teacher with a post of responsibility for music is appointed to manage music in individual schools. In many cases, however, there is no designated person in schools to cater for music and varied arrangements are in place to fill this gap. Where posts exist the positions have developed according to local circumstances as there has been no formal development of that role. This study seeks to identify how the in-school management of music has developed.

Findings of this research indicate that almost half the schools in the sample area have identified music as a coordinated subject. Some have included music coordination as a function of the in-school management structures in their schools. In others, there is a variety of arrangements in place to ‘look after’ music. Schools without a designated postholder/coordinator have adopted a collaborative approach to music. The skills and expertise of a number of staff and external personnel are drawn on as needed. Less than forty per cent of schools do not perceive music as a subject which requires a manager other than the class teacher.

Postholders/coordinators are chiefly responsible for even and resource management and organisation. In contrast to this there is a collaborated approach to areas which require specific skills and expertise. Teachers, principals and personnel not on the staff collaborate in the delivery of inservice and in school performances and ceremonies. Postholders/coordinators see their primary function as supporting and assisting teachers in the teaching of music to their classes. They do not take a direct role in teaching. Professional development is perceived to be an important part of their position and is viewed in two ways. Postholders have a role in the up-skilling of colleagues and need professional development themselves as leaders, managers and mentors.

The findings of this study are of significance to the curriculum leadership courses which are currently being provided. They provide a benchmark from which to plan for this professional development. Expertise and experience varies greatly not only among teachers but also among music postholders. A top down given model of support does not suit the needs of all schools or all postholders. To maximise the benefit of this support it should be tailored to the requirements of individual schools and postholders.

Contact Details

Current Institution Affiliation: St. Patrick's College, DCU

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