STEM/STEAM initiatives in undergraduate music education


Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Since the introduction of STEM education by the HKSAR government in its 2015 Policy Address, local schools and teacher training institutions have made efforts to implement STEM education within their curricula. Despite the advocacy of STEAM that integrates arts into the STEM disciplines, music teachers were yet to be ready for incorporating STEAM elements into classroom music teaching and learning. To better prepare pre-service music teachers and educators for implementing STEAM education in their future career, a series of teaching and learning activities were introduced to develop their STEAM knowledge and skills in their undergraduate programme.
The STEAM initiatives aim to pilot a series of teaching and learning activities in the undergraduate music education programme to develop students' STEAM knowledge and skills. The activities including live coding, laptop ensemble training, multimedia performance, and electronic music practices, were embedded in the music curriculum as part of the curricular courses or as co-curricular activities. Multi-phase questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews were conducted in relevant components of the curriculum to examine student’s perception and attitude towards the STEAM activities, and their confidence in carrying out STEAM education in their future teaching.
Findings from the study indicated that technical programming skills were the most difficult part for participating students who consider themselves as ‘non-technical’ and ‘non-specialist’ in technology. The STEAM activities provided an opportunity for students to discover knowledge from other disciplines, learn how cross-discipline knowledge could be integrated into the music curriculum and therefore deriving new meanings and innovative teaching practices. Students developed both musical and technological competencies within the STEAM initiatives, which fits with the framework of digital musicianship for musicians and music educators in the digital era.
As STEM/STEAM continues to be the educational trend in the digital era, the development of pre-service music teachers’ knowledge and skills would better prepare them as STEAM-ready music educators of the future. Future work of this project would be the development of standalone STEAM courses and as a minor curriculum. Copyright © 2018 International Society for Music Education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
EventThe 33rd ISME World Conference - Baku, Azerbaijan
Duration: 15 Jul 201820 Jul 2018


ConferenceThe 33rd ISME World Conference
Abbreviated titleISME 2018


Cheng, L. (2018, July). STEM/STEAM initiatives in undergraduate music education. Paper presented at The 33rd ISME World Conference, Haydar Aliyev Palace, Baku, Azerbaijan.


  • TDG project code: T0205
  • Period: TDG 2017-2018
  • Teaching Development Grant (TDG)
  • Teaching Development Grant (TDG) Output


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