‘Passing it on’: beyond formal or informal pedagogies

Tim Cain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


Informal pedagogies are a subject of debate in music education, and there is some evidence of teachers abandoning formal pedagogies in favour of informal ones. This article presents a case of one teacher’s formal pedagogy and theorises it by comparing it with a case of informal pedagogy. The comparison reveals affordances of formal pedagogies which informal pedagogies can lack, including conceptual learning, knowledge about music, unfamiliar repertoire, differentiation, directing students and formative feedback. The article suggests that ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ are inadequate ways of conceptualising musical pedagogies and argues instead in favour of categorising pedagogies in relation to their overarching aims.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-91
JournalMusic Education Research
Issue number1
Early online date15 Jan 2013
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Jan 2013


  • formal pedagogy
  • informal pedagogy
  • informal learning
  • music teaching
  • case study


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