Observing teacher autonomy support and children’s potential in musical creativity in primary school music lessons

Activiteit: Invited talk


In primary music education an important question is what school teachers can do to stimulate their students’ creative potential in music. To answer this question, looking closely into the creative processes happening in teacher-student interaction in the naturalistic setting of music lessons is required.
A framework provided by Complex Dynamic Systems theory and Enaction theory was used in this study to explore the relation between offering autonomy support and children’s divergent and convergent thought and action in verbal and musical interaction.
For this study twenty-six music lessons were recorded in order to examine the extent to which thirteen teachers, working in the middle grades of seven Dutch primary schools, offered autonomy support to their students. Also the extent to which their students showed musical creativity was investigated. To examine the relation between teachers’ autonomy support and emergence of childrens’ musical creativity quantitative sequential analysis and thematic analysis was combined.
The results demonstrated that in this study predominantly low to medium autonomy support was offered in music lessons. Students showed mainly low to medium level divergent thought & action, based on imitation and rule-based play. For convergent thought & action the majority of children’s musical activity consisted of playing concise and simple rhythmical patterns. The sequential analyses demonstrated that, compared to lower-level autonomy support, higher-level autonomy support based on a student centered approach, is more likely to lead to higher-level student divergent thought & action. For convergent thought & action lower-level autonomy support was more likely to lead to play of basic rhythmical pattern.
The results provide an indication that the nature of the musical task and the way teachers interact with the task, have an impact on children’s creative thought & action in music lessons.
Periode20 jan. 2022
EvenementstitelGerman-Dutch Colloquium on Research in Arts Education
LocatieHannover, Germany, Lower SaxonyToon op kaart
Mate van erkenningInternational


  • muziek onderwijs
  • creativiteit
  • autonomie ondersteunende manier van lesgeven
  • creatief denken
  • basisschool