2024-02-27 17:00Pressmeddelande

The music classroom affords a universe of translations

A new review of research on teacher-student interaction in music education provides knowledge of possibilities for teachers in promoting students’ musical learning, The study shows, among other things, that translations among representations of sounding music are crucial for students’ learning.

Children’s right to aesthetic expression is linked to the right to education, and education of high quality depends on skilled teachers. According to Swedish law, all education should be based on proven experience and research, but finding relevant and accessible research can be a challenge for music teachers. The study reports a meta-synthesis of 14 empirically grounded qualitative studies on how teachers can support students’ learning in music, aiming at inspiring music teachers to hone their craft.

– The studies included in the review describe and provide an understanding of situations in music education that we believe teachers can identify with. They also offer ideas about what the challenges are and what one needs to be aware of and attentive to, says Karolina Fredriksson, researcher and project manager at the Swedish Institute for Educational Research.

In the synthesis of the studies, four aspects emerged as crucial for students’ musical learning: (1) the framing of the teaching, (2) taking the learners’ perspectives, (3) teachers’ scaffolding strategies, and (4) representations of sounding music − verbal, bodily, and material. Representing a sounding musical quality means that the musical quality is translated into a representation. Almost all included studies show that translations between representations, in one way or another, poses pedagogical challenges.

Apart from presenting the results of a meta-synthesis, the study contributes to the methodological development of meta-syntheses in qualitative research. The literature highlights at least two challenges in synthesising qualitative research: (1) achieving a proper integration of the results of the studies and not just short summaries of each study included (ibid.), and (2) summarising and thereby reducing the results without losing the meaning and understanding conveyed by the results. The article elaborate on how these challenges are tackled.

About the study

The study, conducted by Cecilia Wallerstedt, Olle Zandén and Karolina Fredriksson, is based on the institute's systematic review To support learning in music education (Att stödja elevers lärande i musik – undervisning i grund- och gymnasieskolan).

About us

The Swedish Institute for Educational Research is a government agency with the sole objective to enable those who work in the Swedish school system to plan, carry out and evaluate teaching, on the basis of research-based methods and procedures. The objective of the Swedish Institute for Educational Research is ultimately to contribute to children’s and pupils’ development and learning.


To support learning in music education: https://www.skolfi.se/other-languages/english/research-summaries/to-support-learning-in-music-education/

Teaching and learning in music education – a meta-synthesis: https://doi.org/10.1080/14613808.2024.2319579

The Swedish Institute for Educational Research: https://www.skolfi.se/other-languages/english/

AlphaGalileo press release: https://www.alphagalileo.org/en-gb/Item-Display/ItemId/243200

Om Skolforskningsinstitutet

Skolforskningsinstitutet är en statlig myndighet som verkar för att undervisningen i förskolan och skolan bedrivs på vetenskaplig grund. Det gör vi genom att sammanställa forskningsresultat och fördela forskningsbidrag för praktiknära forskning.


Eva Grönlund