An Examination of Creative Music Making in the General Music Programme (GMP)

Project Number
OER 36/08 ED

Project Duration
April 2009 - September 2012


This study seeks to examine the role of creative music making in the General Music Programme (GMP) in Singapore primary and secondary schools. The current syllabus for the GMP for Primary and Secondary schools in Singapore has as one of its aims to develop ability for creative expression through music making, and its second objective (O2). Creative work in music is defined here as the musical skills of composing and improvising. Pupils are encouraged to be creative by learning to make decisions about sound through selecting timbres, pitches, rhythms and sound patterns, later progressing to selecting melodies chords and structures to create musical compositions or improvisations. It is felt that this approach is in line with current broader educational aims to develop individuals with the capacity to be creative and imaginative and that music may have an important educational role to play in this respect. The general aim of this research is, therefore, to research ways in which a shift in the paradigm of music teaching and learning towards this more creative approach may be most effectively enabled. This research project will be conducted in two phases. In the first phase, a needs analysis survey will be sent out to primary and secondary school music teachers to determine the quantity and quality of musical creative activities currently taking place in the general music classroom and the level of readiness (i.e. training and extent of confidence) of teachers in conducting musical creative activities. The analysis from the needs analysis surveys will be used to inform the researchers in creating an 18-hour teacher training workshop targeted specifically at the training and facilitation of creative music programmes. In the second phase, the researchers will be working closely with four primary schools (two lower primary and two upper primary music teachers) and two secondary schools (two lower secondary music teachers) to implement a creative music programme in the school's music programme. The teachers will be chosen from the pool of teachers who have attended the 18-hour workshop. The intervention will be for a period of 10 weeks (one half-hour lesson per week) where the researchers will co-teach with the music teachers in facilitating the creative music programme for one class in the school. In the subsequent 10 weeks, the researchers will hand over the teaching to the music teachers but will remain as a field-observer in the classroom. Each intervention/observation will be followed by a post-interview so that the teachers can talk about how they felt the activity went and questions that might have arisen for him/her and subsequent plans for the next lesson. Outcomes from this research will inform the next curriculum initiative in music.

Funding Source

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