Rebekah Donn, Bryden Stillie, and Zack Moir

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This article, which is intended as a contribution to wider conversations around music literacy, explores current conceptions of music literacy within the UK, using the area of aural skills training as a focus. Specifically, it considers the nature of music literacy and aural training in secondary (ages 11–18) music curricula and the role of aural training in supporting the development of music literacy. Contemporary secondary music courses now explore a far wider range of musics than their historic counterparts, yet the ways in which these are taught, practised, and assessed continue to be driven by pedagogic models that were designed to develop music literacy within a narrower range of musics associated with a specific tradition. This is compounded by the fact that contemporary secondary music courses have become somewhat diluted in terms of their focus and the main curricular components (performance, composition, and listening/appraising) are unnaturally separated into disconnected areas of practice to conveniently be assessed in isolation. This article concludes by proposing potential enhancements that educators might consider as they look to develop a student-centred approach to aural training and how this might better support the development of multiple forms of music literacy within their curricula.

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