Document Type

Conference Proceeding




Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Education




Lowe, G. M. (2011). Students voting with their feet: The values students attach to class music learning activities in lower secondary school. Paper presented at the Australian & New Zealand Association for research in Music Education 2010 XXXVII conference. James Cook University. Available here


Retaining students in elective class music programs is an issue in Western Australia, particularly in lower secondary school. While class music can enjoy relatively high enrolments in the first year of secondary school (Year 8 in WA), numbers decline sharply into the second year and continue to decline into the post compulsory years. This paper investigates the role of class music learning activities in shaping student motivation towards class music, because values have been found to be accurate predictors of students' future enrolment decisions. Specifically, this paper reports on a study into the values and beliefs of 222 Year 8 students in their first year in secondary school in WA towards class music learning activities. The initial study indicated a statistically significant decline in 10 out of 12 values measures across the course of Year 8. Follow-up focus group interviews with 56 students from the same schools then explored reasons student attribute for the declines. Based upon focus group responses, the paper concludes by presenting a brief overview of the types of activities which enhance students valuing of class music, and those which contribute towards a decline in students' values. Introduction

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