Volume 18 Number 16 April 28, 2017

Music in the Early Childhood Curriculum: Qualitative Analysis of Pre-Service Teachers’ Reflective Writing

Nancy H. Barry
Auburn University, USA

Sean Durham
Auburn University, USA

Citation: Barry, N. H., & Durham, S. (2017). Music in the early childhood curriculum: Qualitative analysis of pre-service teacher’s reflective writing. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 18(16). Retrieved from http://www.ijea.org/v18n16/.


This qualitative study employed grounded theory to explore how a university-based summer practicum experience with community children (N=55) revealed and shaped pre-service teachers' (N=24) understanding of young children and their musical skills and dispositions; how early childhood music curriculum is designed; and supports and barriers to music instruction. We learned that a collaborative professional setting, training and mentoring, and access to developmentally appropriate music curriculum resources scaffolded pre-service teachers’ abilities to develop a music unit within the curriculum. These university students gained understanding and appreciation for the music theme’s connection to academic content and how music bridged cultural boundaries. We also observed contrasts in students’ musical self-efficacy that seemed to be related to their perceptions of the children’s musical interests. Continued teacher education research is needed to discern the pre-service preparation that yields curriculum and teaching suffused with rich and joyous music learning experiences for young children.

Visual Abstract

This article is available in PDF format.


The International Journal of Education & the Arts currently serves as an open access platform for scholarly dialogue. Our commitment is to the highest forms of scholarship invested in the significances of the arts in education and the education within the arts. Read more about our mission…


IJEA holds strong commitment to research in interdisciplinary arts education. Our editors are respected scholars from different arts fields working together to achieve our high standard. Read more about editors…