Practice and Research in Integrated Music Education (PRIME)

A Network among Researchers and Practitioners in Integrated Music Education around the World

Recent Publications: 



The ISME focus group PRIME or Practice and Research in Integrated Music Education formed in Kuala Lumpur at ISME 2006. The first gathering of PRIME was a symposium at ISME 2006. Scholars Markus Cslovjecsek from (Switzerland), Liora Bresler (USA/Israel), Koji Matsunobu (Japan), Joan Russell (Canada), Frits Evelein (Netherlands) and Discussant Kari Veblen (Canada/USA) examined integrated music education from a variety of perspectives. The forum in Malaysia sparked much discussion as session participants from South Africa, Hong Kong, Europe, South and North America and parts of Asia brought forth their varying perspectives. Participants continued the session throughout the conference, forming an official focus group at that time.
Over the past years, a committed core of individuals has continued to meet either face-to-face (at conferences such as AERA, RIME in Exeter and ISME in Bologna as well as in a PRIME-Seminar in Solothurn, Switzerland) or electronically. Actually some 130 scholars and practitioners from allover the world are registered members of the network. This SIG PRIME website serves to connect the community across time and space.


The members of the founding board (Monday 17 July 2006 10am in Kuala Lumpur) of the Practice and Research in Integrated Music Education (PRIME) focus group are:

  • Kari Veblen, University of Western Ontario 
  • Deirdre Russell-Bowie, University of Western Sydney 
  • Deborah Blair, Oakland University 
  • Frits Evelein, University of Rotterdam 
  • Koji Matsunobu, University of Illinois 
  • Khin Yee Lo, Indiana University 
  • Diana Blom, University of Western Sydney 
  • Markus Cslovjecsek, University of Applied Sciences North-Western Switzerland 
  • Liora Bresler, University of Illinois 
  • Joan Russell, Mc Gill University




Subject integration initiatives are currently taking place in many parts of the world (Russell & Zembylas, 2007). Organization of schooling based on expedient use of time, and material and human resources has led increasingly to fragmentation of curricula. Relations across subject areas have become obscured. For music education, the musical experiences of many children are at best limited to a set amount of time at a particular time of a particular day. The issues around integration of the arts across the curriculum are contentious and complex, especially when it comes to integrating music across the curriculum. One of the reasons for this is that most classroom teachers feel inadequately equipped to do musical activities or music-related activities in their classrooms. These teachers tend to think of subject integration in simple terms, such as using songs to teach the alphabet, or counting. Second language teachers can, but often do not, use songs to teach language patterns, sounds, rhythms and poetic forms of expression. The task of performing, composing, making, exploring music then falls to the specialist, who may have little training or interest in engaging in musical activities whose aims are extra-musical.
Our Network will contribute to the advancement of the discourse in music education by stimulating discussion of the theoretical, philosophical, methodological and applied issues around the topic of curriculum integration, specifically integration of music across the school curriculum. The concept of subject integration as it pertains to music raises questions of fundamental importance that should be of concern to music educators everywhere. Questions to be addressed by symposium presenters and in an interactive session include: What is the rational basis for integrating music across the curriculum? What are some of the ways in which music can be integrated across the curriculum without losing what is valuable to know and experience, musically? Which types of musical goals could be met in a situation of integration? What could be the value of integrating music across the curriculum? With which subject areas in the curriculum could music be logically integrated, and how? What are the potential gains and losses involved with integrating music across the curriculum? On what basis and by what means could achievement be assessed? What types of achievement would be considered valuable in terms of musical objectives and extra-musical objectives?
In the discussion of the above mentioned issues we have to solve the following basic problems of music education research (according to Liora Bresler’s Talk in Bologna 2008): 

  • How can we relate to the realities of practice
  • How can researchers and practitioners communicate without jargon loaded languages
  • How can we include the practitioners voices
  • How can practitioners see the relevance of research
  • How can practitioners learn from researchers attitudes
  • How can we connect to others conceptions and beliefs
  • How can we connect to other disciplines
  • How can we soften boundaries without loosing sharpness
  • How can we communicate across language and cultural barriers



Although PRIME is not a ISME-Commission, this group did meet in Solothurn Switzerland for five days before the full ISME conference in Bologna, Italy. Hosted by Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, Pädagogische Hochschule [School of Teacher Education in Switzerland] and PRIME, some twenty participants (scholars from Canada, Greece, UK, Nederlands, Germany, Switzerland and Swiss teachers from early childhood to secondary level and teacher training) had been selected from the general call for papers. Themes embraced research and practice in this important area of curricular concern. The title for the pre-conference seminar is: Practice and Research in Integrated Music Education: Perils and Possibilities (Opportunities and Dangers)
Music is a school subject with many different faces. Is musical activity also a tool to facilitate learning? We know a lot about the intrinsic values of the arts in education. Horowitz and Webb-Dempsey (2002) describe the relationship of arts and other learnings as "parallel, symbiotic, interactive or multi-layered". Russell & Zembylas (2007) report that subject integration initiatives are currently taking place in many parts of the world. In this seminar we intend to stop thinking in dualisms and move beyond the either/or, disciplines/handmaidens dichotomy. During the symposium-week we will build, together with teachers and experts from different disciplines and professional ideologies, a "transformative practice zone" to "provide spaces to share and listen to others' ideas, visions and commitments..." (Bresler, 2003)


The following visualization shows our model for working and interacting:


If you would like to participate in PRIME, please get in contact by suscribing the newsletter or send an email to markus.cslovjecsek@fhnw.ch (MarkusCslovjecsek)



 We are planning to extend this website with a resources section. At the moment, we offer a blog and infos about events and news.

You can find our archive and some historic documents on our old wiki repository (not updated).