Working with Music Technology: Collaborative Research Within the University of Bristol Music Initial Teacher Education Programme

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My main work at UoB is within Initial Teacher Education; I lead the one year programme Postgraduate Certificate in Education for Secondary School Music. This involves not only teaching the trainee teachers at the university but also overseeing the work of school mentors who act as the main point of contact for the trainees when on their school placements. We attempt to make a true partnership between schools and university by holding mentor meetings three times a year, so that school mentors are fully involved in decision-making about all aspects of the programme. For many years government inspections of secondary schools have noted the problems faced by Music teachers in working with ICT (Ofsted, 2004); their most recent report indicated that the use of music technologies to support learning was one of the chief areas of concerns in secondary school Music classrooms (Ofsted, 2012).* Whilst we include a variety of activities within university sessions to develop our trainee teachers’ skills and confidence in the use of music technologies, it continues to be an area which a considerable number of the entrants to our programme find difficult. Beginning in 2006, I decided to work with school mentors on research which had two aims: 1) to develop the UoB PGCE Music course so that those trainee teachers passing the course would be competent and confident in their own music technology skills, and also aware of the pedagogical aspects surrounding pupils’ use of ICT in Music classrooms; 2) to present research findings to others, through offering papers to key music education journals, so as to support other colleagues working in the same field / to start further debate about technology in music teacher education. [Whilst the difficulties of supporting trainee teachers in developing their own skills and pedagogical awareness of the use of music technologies for learning and teaching is recognised across the globe (Greher, 2011; de Baets & Meyer, 2012; Höfer & Reubenz, 2012) there is relatively little written on the subject and, prior to my research, the only study in England was in 1999 (Busen-Smith).] The first research I carried out in 2005/6 was developed through discussion with mentors and trainee teachers from previous years. A questionnaire was devised to probe the question: What factors constrain the use of music technology by trainee music teachers? This was followed up with small (focus) group and whole cohort discussions with the trainee teachers from 2005/6. The results were then explored within UoB meetings for school music mentors, and discussed with the following years’ trainee teachers before they went out onto their school placements; some of the data were also presented within a journal article (Gall, 2013). The findings of the study have also informed decisions made by university music education staff as to the best placement schools for each trainee teacher. (They work in at least 2). In this presentation I will provide more detail about this research project and others that have developed from it. * The other was singing. References Busen-Smith, M. (1999) Developing Strategies for delivering music technology in secondary PGCE courses, British Journal of Music Education, 16: 2, pp. 197- 213. de Baets, T. & Meyer, H. (2012) Embedding ICT in Music education: A Belgian Perspective. In M. Gall, G. Sammer and A. de Vugt (Eds.) European Perspectives on Music Education: New Media in the Classroom. Innsbruck: Helbling, pp. 45-54. Gall, M. (2013) Trainee Teachers' Perceptions: Factors that Constrain the Use of Music Technology in Teaching Placements, Journal of Music, Technology and Education, 6: 1, pp. 5-26. Greher, G. (2011) Music Technology Partnerships: A Context for Music Teacher Preparation, Arts Education Policy Review, 112: 3, pp. 130-136. Höfer, F. & Reubenz, J. (2012) New Media in Austrian Music Teaching in School. In M. Gall, G. Sammer and A. de Vugt (Eds.) European Perspectives on Music Education: New Media in the Classroom. Innsbruck: Helbling, pp. 31-43. Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) (2004) Ofsted Subject Reports 2002/3: Music in secondary schools (HMI 1981) Manchester: Ofsted. Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) (2012) Music in Schools: Wider Still, and Wider (110158), Manchester: Ofsted.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016
Event'Going Public': Academic Practice Symposium - University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Apr 201613 Apr 2016


Conference'Going Public': Academic Practice Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Music technology Initial Teacher Education (Training)


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