Music as school subject is implemented into primary compulsory, secondary grammar and some vocational schools. The focus of music teaching is the development and advancement of pupils’ musical skills, increasing their knowledge and the formation of their cultural identity. In eight-year primary compulsory school music lessons are carried out one hour per week. In the first three years, the general teacher holds music lessons while from the fourth to the eight grade, the music specialist leads the music lesson. Beside regular lessons, in Croatian schools there is a possibility to choose extracurricular music classes, which influence on better pupils’ musical knowledge and abilities. In the secondary school one hour per week is planned for a music lesson, led by a music specialist. In grammar school (except mathematical gymnasium) the music subject is part of the curriculum in the four year period, but in vocational schools (media technician and web designer) it is organized in two years.
The goal of the subject Music culture in compulsory school (Teaching Plan and Program, 2006) has been focused on forming the general and music culture of students through establishment and adoption of value criteria for music evaluation. In the so-called open model, listening and music elaboration with an emphasis on art music has become compulsory, whereas all the other activities: singing, playing, creativity and music literacy are optional. This means that one of these activities is chosen by the teacher in cooperation with students and in accordance with school possibilities, so they are implemented with more attention and concentration. The openness of the program also enables the teachers’ freedom of independent class work and selection of contents that they consider appropriate for listening, singing, playing. During music lessons in compulsory school pupils learn about musical works of different types, styles, and musical features. Contents of music teaching include exploring musical instruments, singing voices, solo, chamber and collective ways of performing music, musical forms, instrumental, vocal and vocal-instrumental forms, musical and stylistic periods, composers, performers.
By the end of primary compulsory school, pupils should know and recognize the different elements of music and music types, get to know the Croatian and world music heritage, adopt the basic concepts of general music culture. Then, if pupils sing or play they learn and adopt a number of artistic, traditional and popular songs. With a creative approach they acquire factual and theoretical knowledge (from memorizing, understanding, applying the basic facts, analysis and synthesis to the evaluation and creation of new ones), develop cognitive, practical and social skills, getting autonomy and responsibility in their work.
The deeper musicological elaboration of musical constituents is given in the secondary school, through the subject Music Art where music theory and history come into the focus of the lessons. By listening to music the pupils get familiar with the characteristics of the music-style period, composers and music works throughout history. The aim of the course is to provide an understanding of musical art works from the world and national cultural heritage. It is aimed at promoting and developing the interest, habits and needs of practicing music, raising the level of musical and general culture, influencing the students’ aesthetic development. The educational tasks are focused on the fact that the students during musical classes meet and learn different forms of music, memorize a number of musical works, understand and learn the basic data of music history, develop musical taste and extend the general culture.
Professional music education in the Republic of Croatia: primary and secondary music schools
In the Republic of Croatia there is an opportunity to attend the education system paralelly, which means compulsory education and art education at the same time. Public institutions that provide art education are art schools. Educational programmes of artistic education in primary and secondary school in the Republic of Croatia are realized in art, music and dance schools, which perform artistic programmes. Music education is oriented to the student’s preference and talent, according to students’ ability.
Primary and secondary music schools are elective. Primary music education may be conducted into two ways: as a separate educational programme inside regular primary compulsory schools or in independent music schools. If students choose music school, it is necessary that they attend both schools, because in the primary compulsory school they have general subjects, and in music school musical subjects.
The aims of music education in music school are to acquire knowledge, develop students’ skills and abilities in a variety of artistic fields and enable the development of their creative potential. Music education facilitates the development of their cultural expression respecting the traditional and cultural originality from the national and world’s heritage. In addition, it encourages and promotes students’ intellectual, creative, aesthetic and social development in accordance with their abilities and inclinations, developing the ability to connect artworks with the social environment and historical circumstances.
Primary music education is carried out according to the primary art curriculum which embraces the six-year period. The primary music education of students means that they acquire the knowledge and skills to continue their education. Only children who are interested or talented in the musical area attend music schools. There students primarily learn to play a musical instrument, but except playing, the focus of the programme is on Solfeggio (Ear Training). Beside Solfeggio the primary music school offers subjects such as: Choir, Orchestra, Theory of Music (Teaching Plan and Program for the Primary Music Schools, 2006). Secondary art education is carried out according to the art curriculum for the secondary school and lasts four years. The student acquires knowledge and skills for further education. In secondary school the subjects depend on the students’ orientations which could be theoretical, vocal or instrumental (Teaching Plan and Program for the Secondary Music Schools, 2008). Students enrolled in secondary music schools can attend only music school for the degree of musicians or can simultaneously attend another secondary school. The largest number of students attend simultaneously music school and grammar school. In this case, they attend general subjects in grammar school, and the musical subjects in music school. If students attend only secondary music school, their education ends with the submission and defence of the thesis, and may pass the state graduation exam if they want to continue their education at higher education institutions.
During the training in secondary school students can acquire the following occupations: instrumentalist musician, musician singer, musician theorist, builder and restorer of musical instruments. In secondary music school students develop musical knowledge and skills, promoting it through different public musical events.