Studies in the history of music education reveal much about the place and purpose of music in the changing curriculum. In this article, the ideas of some significant British music educators of the twentieth century are considered, in an evaluation of the apparent goals of music teaching that have been articulated over the decades. The connections between rationale and practice are discussed, with published ideas placed alongside the views of contemporary teachers in a small-scale questionnaire survey. The conclusion is proposed that school music, as a small part of the child's musical identity, must be modest in its intentions but ambitious in its provision.
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