The Psychosocial Benefits of School Music: Reviewing Policy Claims

Alexander Hew Dale Crooke, Paul Smyth, Katrina Skewes McFerran


While policy-based advocacy for music in schools has previously focused on arguments for cognitive and academic benefits, scholars have increasingly critiqued this rationale. Such critique is now reflected in Australian policy documentation, which now emphasises psychosocial benefits as the most notable non-musical advantage of student music participation in mainstream schools. This paper uses recent research to review these claims, with a specific focus on the type of music participation that policy documents claim will achieve psychosocial benefits. This aims to both assess the suitability of current advocacy in this area, and bring existing evidence to the attention of policymakers. The article concludes that models of music participation must be broadened beyond the current definitions of music education if psychosocial benefits are to be experienced by students in mainstream schools.


School music, psychosocial wellbeing, policy, extrinsic benefits, music programs, music participation

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ISSN: 1836-8336