Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


Cork School of Music

First Advisor

Dr Susan O'Regan


Research in effective music experiences during childhood and teenage years has shown the potential for significant developmental effects. However, the number of students studying music as a subject in secondary school in Ireland is statistically low in comparison with other areas of schooling. International literature points to a number of key issues and significant challenges in the delivery of music as a subject, yet there has been little Irish research carried out in this area. This study aims to examine the delivery of school music education in a sample of Irish post-primary schools. It is a case study in delivery of a school program based in five research sites in Cork city and Cork county towns, seeking to investigate the relationship between various issues and challenges in the delivery of secondary school music education. Data was collected through individual interviews with four second- level teachers, and from two minor studies. The study aims to find whether issues surrounding education delivery, identified in the international literature, are also issues and challenges in an Irish context, and to what extent. Also, it seeks to investigate how teachers respond to the challenges, and how teaching circumstances and strategies may alter these challenges. The key issues that were investigated are the status of music as a subject, the diverse experiences of music amongst students, the three strands of the curriculum, composing, performing and listening, and extra-curricular music. Themes arising from existing research include issues of continuum from primary to second-level schooling, the diversity of genre, the benefits of informal learning practices and Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and challenges that these issues create for the teacher. It also examines the delivery of curricular and non-curricular school music, and identifies its perceived successes, challenges and benefits.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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