Values, experiences and aspirations in music education

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This presentation will explore the values, experiences and aspirations of music educators situated within the discipline area of music education in England. Throughout my own experience in music education and by engaging with the literature which has presented various cases in practice (for example, Cain and Cursley, 2017), it is apparent that there are many different values, aspirations, pedagogical approaches and complexities within music education. This was further highlighted by the debate which was ignited, particularly on social media, following the recent publication of the Model Music Curriculum (DfE, 2021) in England. During this debate, those close to the phenomenon of music education contributed passionate arguments about what should be included in music education and why. The aim of this project is to unpick and understand some of the values, experiences and aspirations of those situated within music education, to gain a greater understanding of those who contribute towards the phenomenon in practice.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with music educators as a part of an initial pilot study. The presentation of findings will focus upon a small number of stories that sit within the wider project. The participants’ identities as musicians and music educators, along with their hopes for the future of music education will be discussed, along with the experiences and influences which underpin these views. Some of the meaning revealed behind the stories will hopefully inspire other music educators to further reflect upon their own practice and values. Through such reflection, change can be ignited by thoughtful consideration of how we might broaden the values we hold to embrace an exciting, more inclusive future for music education.

CAIN, T. and CURSLEY, J., 2017. Teaching Music Differently: Case Studies of Inspiring Pedagogies. Oxon: Routledge.

DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION, 2021. Model Music Curriculum [online]. Available from: [Accessed 28.07.21].
Period20 May 2022
Event titleEuropean Association for Music in Schools 2022 Conference: Music and Meaning
Event typeConference
Conference number29
LocationBelgrade, SerbiaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Music education
  • Narrative inquiry