ACARA and the generalist push: What does it mean for music education from a teacher-training perspective ?

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Australian Society for Music Education Incorporated


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Education




Lowe, G. M., & Lummis, G. W. (2013). ACARA and the generalist push: What does it mean for music education from a teacher-training perspective ?. In XIX National ASME Conference. (pp. 125-131). Parkville, Australia: Australian Society for Music Education. Availablehere


ACARA's push for generalist teachers to teach music in primary schools has generated considerable discussion, ranging from music's place in an increasingly crowded curriculum, the impact of NAPLAN testing and the APPA push for 'core' subjects (English, maths, science and history). However, what is not necessarily considered is the impact of ACARA's decision on pre-service teacher training. Rather than pre service music education provision increasing to accommodate ACARA's expectations on generalist teachers, music education appears to be increasingly marginalised in most universities, resulting in a growing number of graduating teachers potentially less-equipped to teach music and meet ACARA's expectations. In the Western Australian context, Lowe and Lummis (2013) hypothesise that an increasing number of generalist primary teaching applicants are arriving at university with little or no prior formal music experiences. Both issues threaten the viability of ACARA's push for generalist music teaching, as research suggests that lack of experience and effective training impacts teaching efficacy. It is conceivable that many new teachers may avoid teaching music at all, despite it being mandated in the new Australian curriculum. This paper considers the issues associated with pre-service teacher music education at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia. It examines past practices in Western Australia, the long-term implications of ACARA's decision, current research at Edith Cowan University and signposts some potential solutions for the difficulties facing music teacher training