|dc.description.abstract||This thesis reports on a possibly unique example of gifted and talented provision in New Zealand music education. The Music Heartland Project was a holistic programme of learning for musically gifted children based in eight mainstream, publically-funded schools in New Zealand from 2003 to 2005. As the director of the project, I was in an advantageous position for collecting data throughout its duration. The data included work samples, performance recordings, administrative records, Independent Education Plans, observations of child participants in music lessons and their regular classroom, and interviews with child participants, parents, school liaison teachers for Heartland and specialist tutors.
More than half of the selected children (aged 8-13) had no previous music learning other than classroom music. Students who successfully completed the initial selection received a mix of ensemble experience, instrumental learning (mostly keyboard and guitar) and creative projects with children from their own or other schools, mostly in school time. Children retained their place in the Heartland Project based on on-going evaluation of their commitment and musical progress. Music Heartland was dependent on the goodwill and commitment of the participating schools, as well as the teaching and musical expertise of the tutors it employed.
The research design, research questions, and data analysis and interpretation were heavily based on my professional experience and the findings from an extensive review of the literature on the identification and education of gifted and talented students, particularly in music. Research questions focused on the effectiveness of music provision, views of a diversity of participants about the three year programme, and implications for school communities with domain provision occurring as part of the curriculum. The most interesting data pertained to dfferent components of the programme, and how these linked, impeded or enhanced musical growth.
The key conclusions relate to the development and effectiveness of musical ensembles and creative work, and implications for schools engaging children in domain (music) gifted and talented provision. Involvement in sustained and challenging ensemble work, including a diversity of genre and cultural forms, appears to enhance the quality of children’s general musicianship, encourage productive links with instrumental learning and foster a sense of ownership about musical growth. Sustained creative work, in the form of collaborative projects, appears to support the development of situated creativity and innovative product, relative to the declarative expertise of children, as well as offers advantages of enhanced contexutalisation of instrumental growth. Domain (music) provision undertaken on a withdrawal basis, and taught by teachers with specialist knowledge appears to be cost effective relative to advantages for children’s music learning, and contributes significantly to their social confidence, leadership and personal organisation without affecting wider achievement levels. A supportive school culture allows cross-class, and even cross-school activity, of varying intensity in class time throughout the year. It appears that attitides of school staff are positively influenced as they observe longer term effects of domain provision on children.||