Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr John Williamson


This thesis has arisen from a desire to enhance the benefits of musical development, in particular, rhythm, for children in junior primary classrooms. Music plays an important role in the overall development of the child as it ''aids a child's development in other areas such as overall academic achievement, ability to concentrate, creative and artistic expression, social skills and emotional stability" (Parkinson, 1989, p. 3). Therefore music education plays an important part in the academic curriculum. The researcher selected rhythm as the element of music to focus on as it is "the most basic element of music" (Latham and Sadie, 1985, p. 17). The case study methodology was used with the study of three primary school music specialists and one primary school classroom teacher who were each observed teaching two rhythm-based lessons to a Year One or Year Two class. On two separate occasions the teachers were observed on their teaching approaches and the activities in which the students were engaged. The two forms of data collection, interview and observation provided a thorough perspective on the strategies which the four teachers used to enhance rhythm development in their junior primary classrooms. The results of the study of four cases identified trends in the teachers' strategies, although, their personal styles varied markedly. There were fifteen processes identified which highlighted the major teaching strategies used to teach rhythm to Year One and Year Two children. The processes are: the use of rhythmic songs; the use of rhythmic games; progression of using the body then musical instruments to perform rhythms; concrete to abstract application activities; activities which are developmentally appropriate; relevant activities; practical work; modelling; scaffolding; use of visual teaching aids; problem solving strategies; repetition; gaining the students prior knowledge; positive and specific feedback; and establishing the framework for success. These teaching practices are consistent with much of the established research on the topic of rhythm development in music. The outcomes of this research have implications for both music educators and classroom teachers who are interested in teaching strategies which enhance rhythm development. In studying the teaching practices which enhance musical development in the area of rhythm, this research will contribute to our understanding of how classroom teachers and music specialists might improve their own practices and foster children's sense of rhythm and rhythm skills.

Included in

Art Education Commons