UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Name of Author: 
Kwon, Doug-won
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Grashel, John
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The purpose of this study is to chronicle and to investigate the history of Korean music education for elementary schools since 1945 by examining the changes in Korean music curricula and textbooks as well as the changes in Korean music educators' thoughts, and by examining some of the political, social, and educational influences related to those changes. This study was conducted by historical methodology and descriptive statistics. The changes in the objectives of curricula and the contents of textbooks were chronologically examined from a historical perspective. The contents of the textbooks for Korean elementary schools were analyzed in order to investigate the possible relationships between the changes of textbooks and the external influences such as the political, social, and educational ones. Some conclusions were obtained through this study. First, from the Liberation (1945) to 1980s, the main objectives of Korean music education were musical skill and moral character development. Second, since the 1990s, remarkable changes have appeared: (a) Moral development as an aim of music education mostly disappeared; (b) New trends (e.g., Conceptual Approach, Comprehensive Musicianship, Music Education as an Aesthetic Education Child-centered music education have begun to be reflected in the curriculum and textbooks; and (c) The Percentage of Korean traditional music (in textbooks) was increased during the 1980s and 1990s. Third, music educators' discussion on new theories and methods (especially of the United States) of the 1980s and 1990s were a very important factor for the change of the 1990s' music curriculum and textbooks. Fourth, during the 1990s, European methods (e.g., Off, Kod├ály, and Dalcroze) have begun to be introduced as a more appropriate form, but the methods have not been reflected in the music curriculum and textbooks until now. Lastly, since 1945 until the 1980s, it seems to be very clear that each government had tried to control the curriculum (objectives and contents), and that music curriculum and textbooks were also influenced from the political interference.
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