Original Research

Mathematics in South Africa’s Intermediate Phase: Music integration for enhanced learning

Marna Hendriks, Sonja Cruywagen
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 14, No 1 | a1535 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v14i1.1535 | © 2024 Marna Hendriks, Sonja Cruywagen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 February 2024 | Published: 10 May 2024

About the author(s)

Marna Hendriks, School of Arts: Music, Faculty of Humanity, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Sonja Cruywagen, School of Arts: Music, Faculty of Humanity, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: Embracing the influential role of music in education, teachers an cultivate an environment that fosters learners’ curiosity, creativity, and enthusiasm for acquiring knowledge. The first author, experienced in teaching Intermediate Phase music and mathematics, was keen to explore how to bridge the gap between the educational vision for 21st-century knowledge and skills and current teaching practices through the adoption of active music integration and appropriate pedagogy to full engage learners.

Aim: The study aimed to explore how general teachers, with no previous formal music exposure perceived and engaged with the process of correlating concepts and learning experiences in music and mathematics.

Setting: The research was conducted over nine weeks in three South African, Afrikaans-medium, middle-class governmental primary schools located in the Tshwane North district of the Gauteng province.

Methods: This study employed a qualitative case study research approach and was situated within the pedagogical design of constructive alignment for effective teaching and learning.

Results: The results underscore the significance of generalist teachers’ ability to effectively incorporate music into mathematics lessons without extensive musical training or instrumental skills.

Conclusion: The article challenges the notion that musical expertise is a prerequisite for integration, highlighting the fact that generalist teachers can successfully incorporate music into mathematics instruction by fostering meaningful connections between the two subjects.

Contribution: This article draws attention to the importance of constructive alignment in promoting independent thinking and the practical application of knowledge. These findings offer guidance for the development of pedagogical frameworks and instructional practices that prioritise meaningful teaching and learning experiences.


music-mathematics integration; constructive alignment in education; constructivism; generalist teacher; Intermediate Phase; music education; conceptual understanding of music; conceptual understanding of mathematics

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education


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