Teaching general music to young adolescents: Findings from a survey of music teacher perspectives

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Middle school general music is an often-overlooked aspect of music education in the United States. Yet at some point, many music educators face a teaching assignment including one or more sections of middle school general music. In this study, I investigated whether the principles that guide music educators in teaching middle school general music align with the middle level concept, articulated in This We Believe: Keys to Educating Young Adolescents. In addition, I sought to examine the impact of a teacher’s lived experience on these principles. This survey of middle school teachers revealed that while less than 10% of respondents were aware of This We Believe, over 60% regularly use principles aligned with the middle level concept to guide their teaching, with the major exception of diverse assessment techniques. Analysis also revealed that over 80% of respondents are greatly influenced by their teaching experience when making teaching decisions compared to less than a third by their preservice preparation. Implications for this study include the inclusion of the middle level concept in preservice education, the diversification of assessment approaches in middle school general music, and the potential influence of the school community on a teacher’s practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-58
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Music Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Music


  • This We Believe
  • general music
  • lived experience
  • middle level concept
  • middle school


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