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Health promotion in instrumental and vocal music lessons. The teacher’s perspective

Norton, Naomi Claire (2016) Health promotion in instrumental and vocal music lessons. The teacher’s perspective. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University and Royal Northern College of Music.


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This thesis addresses health promotion in the context of instrumental and vocal music lessons from the perspectives of UK teachers. Instrumental/vocal teachers have been identified as potential allies in the prevention of performance-related problems (PRPs) because they are key stakeholders in music education and are in a position to influence primary and secondary prevention of PRPs. However, very little research had investigated these stakeholders’ personal characteristics or their health-related beliefs or behaviours. Therefore, a survey study was designed to investigate the demographic characteristics, educational pathways, and performance-related health of a large group of teachers (N=496), and to explore their health-related beliefs and behaviours. An interview study was conducted to follow up survey findings and explore health promotion in more detail with a smaller sample of teachers (N=12). Results indicate that teachers’ engagement with health promotion is influenced by their personal characteristics – in particular their sex, teaching instrument, and experience of PRPs – and that many teachers already address health promotion by listening to pupils, providing advice, and reporting or referring pupils when necessary. These behaviours were influenced by various factors including, in many cases, teachers’ fundamental belief that they bear at least partial responsibility for pupils’ health and well-being. This perceived responsibility was shared with pupils, their families and institutions, and healthcare professionals; interactions between these stakeholders were explored. Two intervention studies were conducted to investigate teachers’ practical engagement with health-related resources; these studies centred on evaluation of health-related books (N=33) and the provision of an event for teachers and other relevant stakeholders (N=44). Teachers’ participation in these studies demonstrates that there is interest in health promotion among UK teachers and the findings provide information that can be used to improve the content and delivery of resources. The results of all four studies indicate that UK teachers are appropriately placed to act as health promotion advocates, in most cases are already doing so, and to a large extent are interested in learning more about health promotion. The conclusion of the thesis outlines five main implications of this research and identifies directions for future research.

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