Who gets to play? Investigating equity in musical instrument instruction in Scottish primary schools

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There is a widely held view that learning to play a musical instrument is a valuable experience for all children in terms of their personal growth and development. Although there is no statutory obligation for instrumental music provision in Scottish
  This article was downloaded by: [University of Strathclyde]On: 18 June 2013, At: 03:03Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registeredoffice: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK International Journal of InclusiveEducation Publication details, including instructions for authors andsubscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tied20 Who gets to play? Investigating equityin musical instrument instruction inScottish primary schools Lio Moscardini a  , David S. Barron b  & Alastair Wilson aa  School of Education, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences ,University of Strathclyde , Glasgow , UK b  Department of Psychology , University of Westminster , London ,UKPublished online: 27 Jul 2012. To cite this article:  Lio Moscardini , David S. Barron & Alastair Wilson (2013): Who gets to play?Investigating equity in musical instrument instruction in Scottish primary schools, InternationalJournal of Inclusive Education, 17:6, 646-662 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2012.705338 PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLEFull terms and conditions of use: http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionsThis article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Anysubstantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representationthat the contents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of anyinstructions, formulae, and drug doses should be independently verified with primarysources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings,demand, or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly orindirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.  Who gets to play? Investigating equity in musical instrumentinstruction in Scottish primary schools Lio Moscardini a ∗ , David S. Barron  b and Alastair Wilson a a School of Education, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Strathclyde,Glasgow, UK;  b  Department of Psychology, University of Westminster, London, UK  (  Received 10 November 2011; final version received 14 June 2012 )There is a widely held view that learning to play a musical instrument is a valuableexperience for all children in terms of their personal growth and development.Although there is no statutory obligation for instrumental music provision inScottish primary schools, there are well-established Instrumental Music Servicesin Local Education Authorities that have been developed to provide this facilityfor pupils. This article presents the findings of a study that was aimed at investigating the extent to which the opportunity to undertake instrumentalinstruction in Scottish primary schools is equitable. The study employed amixed-methods approach. Data were gathered from 21 Scottish primary schools,a total pupil population of 5122 pupils of whom 323 pupils were receivinginstrumental instruction. The analysis involved an investigation of the academic profile of this group, the representation of children with additional support needs (ASN) and the nature of their ASN. A qualitative analysis of policy and guideline documents and interviews with Heads of Instrumental Services,headteachers and instrumental instructors served to explain and illuminate thequantitative data. The findings showed that particular groups of children withASN were significantly under-represented and offer explanations of the processes by which this occurs. Keywords:  equity; musical instrument instruction; additional support needs;special educational needs Introduction Access to participation in musical activity is a human right within the context of inclusive education (Lubet 2009, 2011). The right to access to artistic activity is a generic one that is recognised internationally. Article 31 of the Convention of theRights of the Child states that there should be ‘appropriate and equal opportunitiesfor children to participate in cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activities’(United Nations (UN) 1989). For many children, the opportunity to learn to play amusical instrument, which is an aspect of such participation, arises for the first time at elementary school, yet recent international studies have found that some chil-dren and young people are excluded from these activities (McCord 2009; Nabb and Balcetis 2010). This article presents the findings of an empirical study carried out in 21 Scottish primary (elementary) schools that sought to determine if there was # 2013 Taylor & Francis ∗ Corresponding author. Email: l.moscardini@strath.ac.uk   International Journal of Inclusive Education , 2013Vol. 17, No. 6, 646–662, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2012.705338    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   S   t  r  a   t   h  c   l  y   d  e   ]  a   t   0   3  :   0   3   1   8   J  u  n  e   2   0   1   3  equality of opportunity for all primary school children to receive instrumental lessonsand where this was not the case to understand the processes or practice by whichinequality of opportunity occurs.There is a widely held view that musical activity is of value to all individuals interms of their personal growth and development (Cˇrncˇecˇ, Wilson, and  Prior 2006;Eisner 2002; Lubet 2011; Mills 1993) as well as being of social value (Cope 2002; Mazur 2004; Odena 2007). Evidence from national and international research studiessuggests that some children and young people are denied access to music activitiesin general and instrumental instruction in particular. A recent American study ( Nabband Balcetis 2010) foundthat youngpeoplewith disabilities were excluded from instru-mental music programmes. In a small-scale Australian study, McCord (2009) showed that students with physical disabilities and autism were generally left out of musicactivities. A Scottish Arts Council commissioned study that investigated the provisionfor music education in Scotland (Scottish Arts Council (SAC) 2003) identified a need for better support of young people with ‘special educational needs’ [  sic ]. In 1998, theScottish Office commissioned a report investigating musical instrument instruction inScotland. The report stated that there was a need for further investigation of provisionfor children with special educational needs [  sic ] (Hall 1999, 20); to date this investi-gation has not been carried out.The present study is situated within the context of a Scottish system that has applied the broad and inclusive concept of additional support needs (ASN) to its legislative and  policy frameworks. This concept refers to any child or young person who, for whatever reason, requires additional support for learning and this may be short-term. This willinclude disadvantaged children who would not necessarily have been recognised within the concept of special educational needs. At the same time Scotland has devel-oped and recently implemented a new curriculum, Curriculum for Excellence (ScottishExecutive 2004). It is a flexible curriculum for all children and young people from 3 to18. The philosophy of the curriculum is an inclusive one. It includes all educationalexperiences planned for all children and young people regardless of the educationalsetting. Its stated purpose is: to ensure all the children and young people of Scotland develop the attributes, knowledgeand skills they will need if they are to flourish in life, learning and work, now and in thefuture. (Learning Teaching Scotland (LTS) 2010) This inclusive stance reflects guidance given in  Supporting children’s learning: Acode of practice  (Scottish Executive 2005, Scottish Government 2010) on theimplementation of the most recent legislation, the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act, 2004 as amended 2009. The guidance makes clear that allchildren with ASN are entitled to have their needs met through appropriate support in all curricular areas. The act stipulates that local authorities (LAs) and therebyschools and teachers within those authorities have a duty towards all children toensure ‘the development of personality, talents and mental and physical abilities of the child or young person to their fullest potential’.The profile of instrumental instruction in Scottish schools has been raised by recent events. Notably there have been expressions of concern that budget cuts should not have a negative impact on the opportunity for Scottish children and young people toreceive instrumental instruction (Hepburn 2010). This opportunity should be equitable.The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the largest teaching union in Scotland,  International Journal of Inclusive Education  647    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   S   t  r  a   t   h  c   l  y   d  e   ]  a   t   0   3  :   0   3   1   8   J  u  n  e   2   0   1   3  recently disseminated a  Charter for instrumental instruction  (2010) to every Scottishschool outlining the value of the instrumental instruction. It states that: Every school pupil in Scotland should have the opportunity to receive specialist tuition ona musical instrument or in voice as part of their school education. (Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) 2010)  Equity and equality of opportunity  Equity and equality are not synonymous. Secada (1989, 2002) argued that there is aqualitative–quantitative distinction to be made between the two, equality having a stat-istical meaning based on groups rather than the individual (Secada 2002, 25). Equity isa complex construct, but it can be seen to be about fairness and in this sense equality of opportunity at the level of the individual which is quite different from equality in thesense of entitlement or the distribution of resources. This study applied an understand-ing of equityas the equality of opportunitythat every individual has not only in terms of what isoffered butalso in termsof whatis broughttothe experience;this acknowledgesa need to recognise that the starting point may be different for different individuals.Although the rhetoric of inclusion and participation may aspire to equality of opportu-nity, it carries no guarantee. Participation in any activity requires more than mere phys-ical presence (Allan and Cope 2004) and equality of opportunity must mean more thansimply being offered a chance to take part. Sen (2010) argues for a need to consider opportunity on the basis of capability which he describes as ‘the power to do some-thing’ (Sen 2010, 19). The extent to which people have the opportunity to achievethe things they value can also be considered in relation to the social and culturalcapital that individuals have (Bourdieu 1977). These constructs help to explain whyinequality continues to be replicated in schools (Monkman, Ronald, and The´rame`ne2005). Considered as competences that are not equally distributed, they become‘capital’ in the advantage that they bestow on the holder. Cultural capital is acquired through exposure to a range of cultural experiences in and beyond home and the school.Children who have rich musical experiences, particularly in a western classical tra-dition, will be advantaged by any selection procedures used in schools and designed toidentify children with musical ‘potential’. This potential may be misconstrued as innatetalent or giftedness, leaving many children who have not had similar prior experiencesto be excluded (Howe, Davidson, and Sloboda 1998). The participation of particular groups of children and young people in musical activity is recognised as problematic.The Scottish Arts Council audit of youth music in Scotland (SAC 2003) identified theneed for better opportunities for minority ethnic groups and those with ‘special edu-cational needs’ to be involved in music activities. Reporting on a study that took  place in Wolverhampton, England, Bunting (1992) questioned why few boys, black and Asian children, slow learners [  sic ] and other children with special educationalneeds learned to play (Bunting 1992, 185).The right to engage in musical activity should not be constrained by factors related to cognitive or physical attributes (Johnson and Darrow 1997). Arguably the culturalhegemony of the western classical music tradition restricts opportunity to participatein musical activity. Reimer (1997, 33) has argued that a culture of performance hasserved a minority at the expense of the majority, concluding that ‘we have so empha-sised the few over the many that most people regard us as special education for theinterested and talented’. Furthermore, what constitutes quality and aesthetics in the 648  L. Moscardini  et al .    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   S   t  r  a   t   h  c   l  y   d  e   ]  a   t   0   3  :   0   3   1   8   J  u  n  e   2   0   1   3   performing arts should be explored and if necessary challenged (Reimer 1997). At arecent pre-show discussion chaired by the Australian dancer and performer CarolineBowditch, now Dance Artist for Change with Scottish Dance Theatre, herself a wheel-chair user, considered whether disabled performers are capable of excellence posing thequestions: ‘What do we see as best practice? Who measures quality, what is it and howdo we know we’ve got there’? (Bowditch 2010). Bowditch’s questioning of what con-stitutes excellence in artistic performance highlights the futility of comparisons particu-larly when qualitative distinctions are made on the basis of a set of rigid performancecriteria. Comparing Pavarotti with Sinatra or the playing of the Malian guitarist AliTarka Foure´ with that of Segovia brings the complex issue of perceived quality intosharp focus. The performing arts are about expression, by imposing the cultural hege-mony of western classical traditions many individuals are denied the opportunity toexpress themselves (Lubet 2009).Qualities such as expressiveness, creativity, passion and emotion are not easilyquantifiable, but in musical performance there are measurable qualities of accuracyrelating, for example, to rhythm and pitch. Within this context, a selection procedurefor identifying potential musicians in schools may appear to be reasonable; however,there are several problems with this approach. The validity of the tests themselves isquestionable (Mills 2001), children may not understand the language used in amusical context, for example, ‘high’ and ‘low’ may only be understood as spatialterms rather than in relation to pitch. Prior musical experiences in the home and else-where may privilege some children. Selection on the basis of physical characteristicsmay eliminate children who have much to gain from learning to play an instrument.Many renowned performers would fail by such criteria, for example, Django Rheind-hart, Evelyn Glennie, Tommy Iommi, Ian Dury and Stevie Wonder to name a few. Fun-damentally, a selection process based on performance criteria overlooks the essentiallyintrinsic nature of musical activity as an expressive and personally gratifying experi-ence. These issues raise important questions about the ways in which selection pro-cesses for instrumental instruction construe children with ASN. Research questions Four research questions formed the basis for this research:Is there equality of opportunity for primary school children to receive instrumentalmusic lessons?What are the processes for selection of primary school children to receive instru-mental music lessons?What are the conceptual understandings which implicitly/explicitly inform the pro-cesses of selection?What aspects, if any, for continuing professional development (CPD) in instrumen-tal instruction might be revealed? Study design The study used a mixed-methods triangulation approach designed over two phases. Amethodological triangulation allows qualitative methods to further develop findingsderived from quantitative research, allowing for a deeper level of understanding. Fur-thermore, qualitative methods can also clarify the results of quantitative findings, for example, inconsistency. Crucially, triangulation is also a useful strategy for increasing  International Journal of Inclusive Education  649    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   U  n   i  v  e  r  s   i   t  y  o   f   S   t  r  a   t   h  c   l  y   d  e   ]  a   t   0   3  :   0   3   1   8   J  u  n  e   2   0   1   3
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