Integrated Music Education in Elementary Classrooms: Music and Grade-Level Teacher Perspectives and Practices

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Daniel C. Johnson, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
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Abstract: Integrated Music Education (IME) involves collaborative and experiential instruction, designed to address both music and non-music standards. The purpose of this study was to explore music and grade-level teachers’ perceptions of IME and to examine their observed instructional practices. The corresponding research questions were: (a) what were participants’ perceptions about IME; and (b) how did the participants’ observed instructional practices demonstrate IME quality (i.e. disciplinary and interdisciplinary instruction)? We chose a multiple case study design and recruited a purposeful sample of teacher-participants, focusing on the research questions in context. In each of two cases, one music teacher and two of their grade-level teacher colleagues served as participants. We collected data in two forms: interviews and classroom observations. To determine the level of integration via the observations, we adapted existing models and created a protocol to rate disciplinary and interdisciplinary instruction. After inductive and deductive analysis of interview data and rating observations, five themes emerged: how participants defined IME, benefits of IME, factors that supported and hindered IMEpractice, and needs for its continuation. Our ratings largely confirmed these themes but also revealed a disconnect between teacher perceptions of higher IME levels and their lower-level practices. Implications for preservice and in-service teacher education include aligning definitions with practice, enhancing teacher collaboration, and developing focused professional development. Taken together, these may address the challenges of IME while simultaneously recognizing its opportunities for both elementary music and grade-level teachers.

Additional Information

Johnson, D. C., Harney, K., & Languell, A. (2021). Integrated Music Education in Elementary Classrooms: Music and Grade-Level Teacher Perspectives and Practices. Qualitative Research in Music Education, 3 (1), 99 – 144.
Language: English
Date: 2021
elementary education, music education, music integration, arts integration

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