White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

Exploring the use of music to support children with special educational needs and disability in mainstream primary schools

Mather, Mary Christina (2013) Exploring the use of music to support children with special educational needs and disability in mainstream primary schools. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

MCMATHER FINAL PHD THESIS for submission.pdf - Final eThesis - complete (pdf)
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

Download (5Mb) | Preview


This thesis explores the use of music to support children with special educational needs and disability in mainstream primary schools in England. Multi-disciplinary research generally identifies the potential of music to support wider learning through the implicit cognitive, sensory and social processes involved in musical learning. Although debate continues about causality, increasing reference is being made to the potential use of music as an intervention in learning support programmes. However, little is known about its use in practice in mainstream primary education. Moreover, few studies have explored educators’ experience of using music in this context, nor the factors which may affect its use in this real world setting. Instead, research effort has focussed on intervention outcomes or the identification of a causal relationship. An exploratory, mixed method study was conducted consisting of a pilot survey of 47 respondents, to provide an overview of existing practice; and 18 semi-structured interviews with educators across a variety of educational, learning support and musical roles in mainstream primary schools. Interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. A fluid definition of practice emerged, where music was used explicitly, as an intervention, and implicitly, as a resource; to target and support a wide variety of individual learning needs through a multi-sensory, informal and creative musical approach in learning support settings, classrooms and music lessons. Practice was led by music and learning support specialists, classroom educators and support staff who appeared united by a passion for music, equal access, opportunity, and/or children’s needs. Practice was supported by professional knowledge, creative working styles, time and funding that reflected employers’ and schools’ shared vision, strategic goals and/or ways of working. However, the notion of music as an intervention or resource was not well understood due to the hidden nature of existing practice, a reliance on non-musical interventions and a lack of individual knowledge and institutional endorsement. More broadly, the use of music appeared affected by individual musical confidence, knowledge, external pressures on schools and institutional attitudes towards music. Nevertheless, participants were willing to use music as an intervention and resource but this required evidence of efficacy, time, training, resources, funding and endorsement.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
ISBN: 987-0-85731-757-5
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of Music (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.605405
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2014 12:00
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2014 10:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6450

You do not need to contact us to get a copy of this thesis. Please use the 'Download' link(s) above to get a copy.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)