Music in Schools

Music is an integral part of official Portuguese curricula in two areas: (1) Music Education in Basic Education and (2) Specialized Music Teaching.

1) Music Education in Basic Education

With regard to Music Education in Basic Education, it is worth mentioning its presence in the curricula of Pre-school Education from 1st to the 9th year of schooling. In fact, Musical Education taught by Specialized Teachers, only reaches the students at the 5th – 6th grades (2nd cycle). In Pre-School Education and in the 1st Cycle of Basic Education, except a few exceptions, it is the Childhood Educator and / or the Professor in charge of the class that teachs the Musical Expression activity. The Ministry of Education of Portugal has been promoting the implementation of a National Plan for Aesthetic and Artistic Education (PNEEA), in order to offer specific training to Early Childhood Educators and 1st Cycle Teachers in four key areas (Visual Arts, Dance, Music and Theater). In the specific case of the Basic Education 1st Cycle, the Portuguese Ministery implemented Activities of Curriculum Enrichment (Musical Education, Physical Education, Plastic Expression and English). In reality, these activities do not achieve the desirable goals , since they are not always taught by Specialist Teachers, and are often understood as Free Time Activities (ATL), and take place in extended schedules.

In the 3rd cycle (7th and 9th years), Music / Music Education is not compulsory, being offered in few schools, since it depends on the existence of a specialized teacher with capacity and time available to carry out this task.

2) Specialized Music Teaching.

According to Mota (2014), two modalities of Specialized Music Teaching coexist in Portugal: (1) Artistic Courses Specialized in the field of Basic and Secondary Music, which are offered in public schools, under Articulated and Supplementary Education (Music Conservatories) and Private and Cooperative (Music Academies with State support); (2) Professional Courses are offered in these institutions and Professional Music Schools. The learning carried out in these courses privileges a more practical and directed teaching to the world of work (professional musicians), giving enphasis to the development of musical skills for the exercise of a profession, not excluding the hypothesis of continuing studies in institutions of Higher Education of music (Mota, 2014).