Nurturing Future-Ready Learners Through the Arts: A Case Study of an Exemplary Primary School Band

  • Leonard Tan
  • Pamela Costes-OnishiEmail author


In this qualitative case study, we examined how the arts serve as a powerful tool to nurture future-ready learners. In particular, we employed ethnographic research techniques to document how an exemplary primary school band in Singapore could be a conduit to develop twenty-first-century competencies (21CC)—skills and dispositions needed for a rapidly changing world. Data included observations of band activities, field notes, material artefacts, and interviews. They were collated, transcribed, and analysed using Shuler’s (Music Educators Journal 97:9–13, 2011) framework, which posits that the “Three Artistic Processes” (i.e. performing, responding, and creating) enable students to develop the “Four Cs” (i.e. creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration). Students expressed how they enjoyed performing with their bands through descriptions that suggested that they were in flow (Csikszentmihalyi in Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. Harper & Row, New York, 1990). Accordingly, efforts to mine the power of the arts to nurture future-ready learners should stay close to the true nature of band as a performing arts ensemble: to perform—and as a corollary—to share the joy of music with the wider community.



This study was funded by the Education Research Funding Programme, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, project no. OER 17/15 TYC.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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