How can music education foster better teamwork abilities?

Peter MosaferiadisIntercultural understanding


It is well-recognized that music is a wonderful form of individual expression. But do you know that music education can help nourish teamwork skills as well? A team of researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia found extraordinary results when music classes were held in socio-economically disadvantaged schools.

Working in four socioeconomically disadvantaged schools located in New South Wales, the researchers Margaret Barrett and Nigel Bond (2015) looked into the skills which music education can cultivate among young people. A wide variety of activities, such as choral singing, drumming and songwriting workshops, were held in the schools over nine months, led by teachers from the Australian Children’s Music Foundation (ACMF).

A series of structured interviews with participants found that the music lessons nurtured students’ team-working skills. Some even developed the capacity to assume leadership roles and accept others in those roles.

One of the teachers in the study commented that: “[the students] are playing in a band, they’re not playing by themselves… they show their friends that they can play it and their friends want to learn.” (Barrett & Bond, 2015, p. 46).

Furthermore, a teacher has witnessed impressive developments in self-esteem in one of the students in the programme. The ACMF teacher recalled:

“I had a kid walk off the stage at this particular performance and she noticed that parents in the audience were crying. She said to me, “They really liked what I did; nobody likes what I do.”… “I am achieving this and I’m a part of this,” and also, “I’m a part of the team that is achieving this.” (Barrett & Bond, 2015, p. 45)

Music might be the answer to cultivating better teamwork skills. How has music made your students work better as a team?



Barrett, M. S., & Bond, N. (2015). Connecting through music: The contribution of a music programme to fostering positive youth development. Research Studies In Music Education, 37(1), 37-54. doi:10.1177/1321103X14560320