‘Turn up the volume and listen to my voice’: Students’ perceptions of Music in school

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Music teachers are often faced with students’ negative attitudes towards Music as a school subject, and dilemmas of what would be most important to teach and at the same time interesting, useful and relevant to students. Looking at music teaching and learning through the eyes of students can play a key role in re-shaping the condition of learning and promoting a positive and motivating musical learning environment. The aim of this study was to ‘turn up the volume’ of secondary students’ views of their music lessons in secondary school, including what they value and how they would have liked lessons to be if they had the opportunity to change things. A self-report questionnaire was devised for the purposes of the study and was administered to 749 secondary school students in schools in Cyprus. Our findings reveal that participants enjoyed Μusic, ranking it as their second favourite out of 15 secondary school subjects. However, there was a reported discrepancy between the activities students are engaged with and what they would like to be engaged with. Students called for more focus on singing, to play a greater variety of instruments besides the recorder (i.e., drums, guitar and piano) and to play the music they like. Building on students’ perspectives, recommendations are made for music teachers and policy makers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch Studies in Music Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • music as a school subject
  • secondary school
  • student voice
  • students’ attitudes


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