British Journal of Music Education

From the Western classics to the world: secondary music teachers' changing attitudes in England, 1982 and 1998

Lucy Green a1


Two parallel samples of secondary music teachers in England, taken from 1982 and 1998, reveal similarities and differences in their evaluations and uses of twentieth- and pre-twentieth-century Western classical music, folk music, popular music, jazz and ‘world’ music. Least change occurs with relation to folk and pre-twentieth-century classical music; most with relation to popular and world music. The status of classical music is high in each of the two time periods, but in different ways. By the end of the century, teachers' views of musical value had, overall, shifted radically towards more global perspectives, and their classroom approaches included far more integrated practical work involving performing, composing and listening, with an emphasis on cross-stylistic comparisons and musical universals.