Your Music or Mine, Miss?
Culturally Responsive Paths to Inclusive Music Education

  • Jayne Price

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This study examines the way in which secondary aged pupils from minority ethnic groups are currently served by the music provision offered in schools and from Music Education Hubs in England. The research considers the pupils’ experiences and perceptions, it investigates how teachers conceive and operationalise pedagogy in response to cultural diversity, and identifies the institutional cultures and practices that may impact on minority ethnic pupils’ active engagement and participation in elective music provision.

The principle aims of this doctoral study are to foreground the voices of the pupils in identifying pedagogy and practice which is responsive to cultural diversity, and to make recommendations for initial teacher education and continuing professional development which advance inclusive teaching and learning in music.

Employing a theoretical framework of critical race theory, interviews were undertaken with en secondary school music teachers and four Music Education Hub leaders. Group interviews were undertaken with fourteen focus groups, comprising fifty-one pupils in total, in three case study schools in West Yorkshire.

The analysis indicates that pupils valued ownership, choice and agency in their musical learning and open accessibility of resources and musical experiences. Pupils were keen to learn about the music from their cultural heritages, they articulated the potential of this as a culturally sustaining pedagogy and as a way of developing cultural understanding. At the same time, some recognised their teachers’ lack of knowledge, lack of sensitivity and their reluctance to confront difficult political histories and contexts which would lead to a greater understanding of the music. The analysis identified a lack of data to monitor the ‘reach’ of the music provision provided by the Music Education Hubs and schools, and a lack of governance, challenge and critical reflection on this issue.

The research findings indicate the need for teachers to engage with critical theory in order to develop alternative modes of pedagogical practice that challenge the dominant ideology in music education and to develop their subject knowledge further in order to address issues in teaching musical contexts.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorChristine Jarvis (Co-Supervisor) & Hazel Bryan (Co-Supervisor)

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