Exploring the Role of the Music Teacher from the Perspectives of Parents and Teachers in West Malaysia

Keywords: group music lessons, parent-teacher perspectives, role of teachers, role theory, West Malaysia


It is important for music teachers to reflect on the influence of their role during lessons. However, the roles of teachers, and expectations from both teachers and parents are often unclear, resulting in role confusion on both sides. The purpose of this collective case study is to describe and understand the expectations of both parents and teachers of the teacher’s role in group music lessons for pre-school children in the Klang Valley1of West Malaysia. Two semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten parents and three teachers of three group music classes for pre-school children. This study situates role theory as a conceptual framework to explore the perspectives of parents and teachers on the expected roles of teachers in group music lessons. Five broad categories of themes emerged, namely parent-teacher perspectives on teachers’ roles asmulti-faceted professionals, authorities on music, entrepreneurs, mentors and communicators. A novel finding showed that teachers in West Malaysia play the role of entrepreneurs. Teachers are expected to be customer service providers, even babysitters, and are also expected to be generous with their time, which influences their entrepreneurship. The paper argues that role theory is a helpful tool in order to help teachers to understand how their roles play out in West Malaysia and how an understanding of their roles can help teachers to clarify the many expectations placed on them.

Author Biographies

Kathryn Ang, MASARA, North-West University, South Africa

Kathryn Ang is a music educator and pianist based in West Malaysia. She is currently working on a PhD in music at the North-West University in South Africa. Her research interests include music education, piano didactics and the performing arts.

Clorinda Panebianco, Department of Music, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Clorinda Panebianco is a senior lecturer in the Department of Music at the University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa. Her research interests lie in health and wellness issues in the performing artists, as well as music and wellbeing in society.

Albi Odendaal, MASARA, North-West University, South Africa

Albi Odendaal is a senior lecturer in the School of Music at the North-West University in South Africa. His research interests include psychology of music, music education and higher education.


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How to Cite
Ang, K., Panebianco, C., & Odendaal, A. (2019). Exploring the Role of the Music Teacher from the Perspectives of Parents and Teachers in West Malaysia. Malaysian Journal of Music, 8, 52-67. Retrieved from http://ojs.upsi.edu.my/index.php/MJM/article/view/1879