Many studies and accounts argue that collective music-making can contribute to building social cohesion and training social skills, and particularly that student interdependence in collective music education programmes can foster this. I argue that this implies two assumptions: first, that students mostly experience interdependence in music programmes positively, and second that their experiences of interdependence are not significantly affected by their experiences in other settings. To address these assumptions, this paper reports on findings from a mixed-methods case study of a French in-school collective music education programme targeting disadvantaged students. The findings suggest that students could experience interdependence negatively in the music programme, and that this was informed by the tendency for interdependence to be framed negatively in the school context. Further, the study suggests that the school's pedagogical notion of the cadre led students to frame negative interdependence not as an encouragement to act cohesively, but rather as an adult imposition. The paper ends by discussing the implications of these findings and arguing for further studies investigating the mechanisms that link different collective music-making and educational settings with positive outcomes.