chapter  2
7 Pages

The contemporary context of whole class instrumental and vocal teaching


The contemporary context of whole class instrumental and vocal teaching (WCIVT) is exciting and developing very rapidly. A ‘blizzard of initiatives’ (a politician’s words) is allowing pupils in mainstream primary schools in England to have access to more extensive opportunities to sing and to play a musical instrument than previous generations. Pupils are working in collaboration with musicians from beyond their school, including instrumental teachers and visiting artists. Challenges have arisen from these developments. New approaches to teaching and learning are being adopted as pupils learn to play or sing as a whole class, links are being established with pupils’ musical learning in the curriculum and beyond the school, and secondary schools are beginning to build on the experiences that pupils bring with them from their primary schools. This chapter aims to establish the contemporary context of whole class instrumental and vocal teaching, particularly focusing on:

● the developments that have occurred over the last two decades in establishing commonalities between whole class instrumental and vocal teaching (WCIVT) and the National Curriculum for Music for England and Wales;

A statutory National Curriculum (NC) for Music in England and Wales was established in 1992 and, as a foundation subject, music became a compulsory curriculum subject for pupils up until the end of Key Stage 3. From the outset it was intended that music making within and beyond the curriculum should be intrinsically linked, and in the Music for Ages 5 to 14 (Final Report) on the National Curriculum it is stated:

Instrumental teachers should be fully aware of the point that their pupils have reached in the general music curriculum, of the detailed scheme of work involved, and of the tasks and materials used in the classroom. The instrumental music lessons should be regarded as an alternative form of delivery, not as an adjunct or optional extra.