Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education




Professor Goodson

Second Advisor

Professor White


Recent socio—historical studies of school subject development have revealed patterns that become apparent as subjects are introduced and then gradually find a place in the curriculum. Layton and Goodson in particular have shown that some subjects, when they are first introduced, tend to be utilitarian and pedagogic in nature, but as time passes they become increasingly academic in nature. This transformation is seen to be a function of several forces that define the nature of school knowledge, including universities, teacher—training institutions, key players and professional subject associations. This thesis examines the implications of these theories, both as frameworks for the analysis of past subject development and as grounds for predicting future trends in a particular subject's development. Secondary school instrumental music is presented as a school subject particularly suited for such an examination. Introduced to the secondary school curriculum in 1945, the subject has been present in schools long enough to permit an analysis of trends. As well, many of those who were a part of the pioneering generation of teachers are still available as a valuable primary resource. Those involved in subsequent developments of the subject are also available to give their account of events, allowing a iii relatively clear view of some of the forces that shaped the subject- Thus, socio-historical methodoligies —especially the life-history interview—were appropriate for the purposes of this study. With this in mind, key players in the introduction and development of instrumental music in Ontario were interviewed. The resulting history of the development of the subject was compared to proposals set forward by Layton, Goodson, and others. It is clear that music in Ontario schools has in many respects followed the patterns proposed. Initially offered and promoted on utilitarian grounds, the subject has become progressively more academic in nature. The universities, key players, the teachers' association, and in this case the central government authority have all had a role to play in this development. At this time music is at a critical point in its development. As it becomes progressively more academic in nature and content, it risks losing the basis for its acceptance as a school subject among both students and school administrators. The balance between performance as a subject activity and the teaching of an increasing body of knowledge defined in part by the universities is clearly at stake as new curriculum guidelines and a new generation of teachers begin to influence the subject. Socio-historic examinations of school subject development can clearly inform us about the nature of school subjects and the forces that influence their development.



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