Research on Music Education

1st year music teachers

March 4, 2013

New music teachers are encouraged sign up to The Music Teacher Project online forum at

This is a new online community especially for first-year music teachers. Share stories about your music teaching experiences – positive, negative and everything in between. It is a dynamic and exciting place, where you can explore who you are as a teacher, ask questions and support one another through this first crucial year.


25.7.13 Music education and neuroscience take center stage

July 20, 2013

“You are invited to a live, public webinar on Thursday, July 25, 2013 from 3:30 pm until 4:30 pm ET. [USA time, we think!]

As part of a growing body of research on arts and brain function,  music research has many people listening.  Neuroscience  has helped to demonstrate the work of innovative music-education programs around the country.  One such program, Harmony Project, is an award-winning organization that provides research-based music education to at-risk youth in Los Angeles, California.”


ABC Keys to Music podcasts

February 15, 2011

ABC Keys to Music – listen to a 4-part series of audio podcasts from May 2009. Richard Gill and Graham Abbott discuss the importance of quality school Music Education for all Australian children.

(Scroll down the webpage to the heading “Music Education Series”)



May 23, 2011


Arts program closes Indigenous gap in 1 year (article)

November 30, 2012

Read more here:


ASME publication: Principles, Policy & Guidelines for Music Education

October 9, 2011;isbn=0959630481;res=IELHSS

Available for purchase is this 1999 research paper by ASME.


Assessment in Music Education (Martin Fautley)

September 21, 2010

Go to resource: Assessment in Music Education, written by Martin Fautley, is published by Oxford UP, 2010. Read more…


Assessment symposium – call for papers

March 7, 2013

Assessment in Music: Principles and Practices

International Assessment Symposium

July 16-17, 2013

Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University

Call for Papers

Please click here for information.


Aus Journal Mus Ed

March 10, 2013

The Australian Journal of Music Education 2012 No. 2 has been released as an e-issue.

The issue covers a diverse range of areas of research including:

Where is music?: A philosophical approach inspired by Steve Dillon

– Georgina Barton and Kay Hartwig

Sharing ownership in multicultural music: A hands-on approach in teacher education in South Africa

– Dawn Joseph

“It all begins with the beat of a drum”: Early Australian encounters with Orff Schulwerk

– Wei Cosaitis and Jane Southcott

Root Tone: A holistic approach to tone pedagogy of western classical flute

– Arya BastaniNezhad

The provision of classroom music programs to regional Victorian primary schools

– Jennifer Heinrich

What Would Peggy Do? 14th Annual Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address 2012

– Michael Kieran Harvey

The bands culture in Victoria, Australia: Live music benefits career paths, employment and community

– Amanda Watson, David Forrest

City Beats: A creative community partnership initiative at ArtPlay

– Neryl Jeanneret, Robert Brown

The art of pianism meets science, sustainable performance: Use of arm weight

– Barbara James

If you would like to receive a copy of this e-journal or you have any comments on ASME publications

please send a message to

If you would like to contribute an article to the Australian Journal of Music Education,

the guidelines for submission are available on


Australian journal of music education

February 21, 2010

Go to resource: The Australian journal of music education is a research periodical published by the Australian Society for Music Education. Read more…


Australians’ Attitudes to Music – research

August 15, 2011

Read the research brief here

This report presents results from a study of Australian households which was commissioned by the Australian Music Association. The results are based on 1,000 interviews with households randomly selected across all of Australia.

Here are some of the findings:

  • 36% of Australian households contain at least one person who now plays a musical instrument. This equates to a rough estimate of 4 million people of all ages (5+ yrs) who play.
  • Music players have a young profile. It was found that 35% are aged 5-17 yrs and a further 28% are aged 18-34 yrs. That is, almost two-thirds of music players fall within the 5-34 yrs age bracket – compared to just under half of the total population (5+ yrs).

BAMER – Bibliography of Australian Music Education Research

June 6, 2013

BAMER – Bibliography of Australian Music Education Research

Established in 1989 as a collaborative project between ASME and Associate Professor Robin Stevens (then Research Editor of The Australian Journal of Music Education), BAMER is a database of music education research studies undertaken at Australian universities or by Australian music education researchers at overseas institutions.

The links below let you view the May 2013 version of BAMER. Once the file or page is open, you may search the page to find a particular word of interest.

If you would like to include your own thesis information on the BAMER database, please go to:

BAMER links:


CMER – Centre for Music Education Research

June 20, 2011


contribute to IMC World Forum, Brisbane 2013

March 19, 2013

March 31st 2013 is the proposals deadline for contributions to the 5th IMC World Forum on Music in Brisbane, Australia (21-24 November 2013).

Make sure your organisation highlights its work in this unique global gathering of opinion leaders, scholars, captains of the music industry, cutting-edge technologists, world-class administrators, and great creative minds and performers.

Be part of forging the future of music. See, hear, and experience the latest developments in this vibrant art form.


Course: Music to enhance children’s experience and development

January 22, 2012

HERE is a link to an Open University course on using music to aid children in multiple ways.


Early Music lessons have longtime benefits: Article

September 27, 2012

Read the article HERE.


European Perspectives of Music Education

August 25, 2013

“Artistry can be regarded as one of the core aspects of music education. It is important, however, to realise that the concept of artistry has to be observed in many different contexts. In this book artistry is not only related to performance of high art, it also refers to all kinds of musical activities in school related situations.

The book focusses on three main areas: the concept of artistry, pupils’ artistry and the artistry of music teachers.”

Ex-Cathedra Singing Playgrounds

March 27, 2011

A UK education program which trains primary school students to lead singing games in the playground – with cross-curricular results!


FLAME Awards finalists 2011

September 19, 2011

2011 Flame Awards have announced 23 finalist schools. This year’s finalists use technology and social networking to engage students, teach ukulele during class music lessons, promote song-writing to reinforce literacy, employ music therapists to work with special needs students, and timetable music lessons for every day of the school year.

More details of schools and attributes will soon be here.


Guitar Hero exploration

January 27, 2012

THIS primary school unit on rock and guitar used the video game “Guitar Hero” to inspire a cross-curricular unit of learning. Navigate using the sub-headings at the top of page.


Instrumental programs help memory

March 25, 2013

Read the article HERE.  ”Effects of a School-Based Instrumental Music Program on Verbal and Visual Memory in Primary School Children: A Longitudinal Study”


International Journal of Music Education

December 2, 2009

Go to resource: The IJME is a peer-reviewed academic journal about music education practice and research, published by ISME (International Society for Music Education). Read more…


JMRO – Journal of Music Research Online

April 8, 2011

an MCA publication -

Journal of Music Research Online this refereed journal includes music education research


Journal of Music Teacher Education

February 9, 2010

Go to resource: The Journal of Music Teacher Education is a periodical published by the National Association for Music Education (MENC USA) and the Society for Music Teacher Education (USA). Read more…


Kids transformed by Music (TED video)

July 10, 2012
This TED video (10 mins) describes 30 years of Jose Abreu working with El Sistema and at-risk kids.

Leading Notes – free podcasts and lectures on Music Education

August 20, 2011


Free podcasts and online presentations re. connecting with students while teaching Music.

Philosophy and pedagogy discussed.


Making Music Being Well – 16 to 22 May, 2011

April 19, 2011

Have you signed up yet to be part of Making Music Being Well?

This national initiative, which takes place from 16 – 22 May, is a collaboration between Music: Play for Life and the Australian Music Therapy Association and it’s all about a grassroots celebration of the links between music making and wellbeing.

When you register to participate – it’s FREE – we’ll send you event posters, stickers and brochures and you’ll get access to lots of downloadable resources including event planning and promotional tips. How you participate is up to you.

The best way to be involved is to take something you may already have planned for that week and hitch it to the national wagon of Making Music Being Well 2011. You don’t have to do something on every day during the week – one event is enough. Your event will be outlined on the MMBW website and you and your group members or students will be helping to shine the national spotlight on an important fact: music is good for you!

Here are a few ideas based on previous years: Open the doors to the community for your rehearsal that falls within the MMBW week and turn it into a free performance. Take your choir or group to a nursing home, hospital or school. Organise a big sing at your workplace. Turn a school assembly into a musical celebration and tell students and parents about the value and benefits of making music. Convene a drum circle in your school playground. Run an open mic session at your local pub or club. Organise a gathering of community music leaders and organisers in your area and discuss how you could pool resources and share skills.

Register to be part of it at

AND … don’t forget – registration for our biggest school music initiative, Music: Count Us In, opens soon too!


MCA response to ACARA / National Curriculum

September 16, 2012
The final version of the MCA's comments on the draft national curriculum for
arts and music is at under Advocacy, 2012 Papers (or click HERE).

The national curriculum is key to our current strategy to get more music
into schools. The states have agreed to teach the national curriculum. This
cannot happen until they train the teachers to be able to deliver it to the
students. The current draft curriculum offers only the vaguest of benchmarks
for what that training should entail. It does not treat music as a serious
study and should be rewritten.

Minister Peter Garrett speaks about Music in education

November 30, 2012 Minister Peter Garrett speaks about the importance of music education to all students.


More on Music Instruction of Classroom Teachers: Early Childhood

February 21, 2010

Go to resource: More on Music Instruction of Classroom Teachers: Early Childhood, by Rachel Hocking, was published in the Music Forum Vol. 14, No. 3. Sydney: Music Council of Australia. Read more…


Music Advocacy Top 10 (for parents)

September 26, 2012

This advocacy site is chock-full of reasons why parents should insist on a musical education for ALL children. ENJOY!


Music education & Music therapy

April 3, 2011

an article illustrating the great work done by music therapists with school-age students


Music Education Articles – Music Forum

March 1, 2010

Go to resource: Music Education Articles – Music Forum, by the Music Council of Australia, is a list of sample articles on music education that have been published over the years.

Read more…


Music gives stimulus to other school subjects

August 25, 2013



Music in Aus Knowledge Base

June 4, 2013

The Music in Australia Knowledge Base as updated regularly by the MCA. You can click through from the articles or go to and poke around for yourself.

·         Genres of New Australian Music Recordings

·         Advocacy for Music Education in Schools

·         Australian Content Requirements for Broadcasters

·         Manufacture and Trade

·         The Complexity of Choice: Finding the Right Tertiary Music Program

·         Music Study in Australia Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom

·         Postgraduate Music Study: Buyer Be Aware!

·         Variations on a Higher Degree

·         The Different Beats Survey 2004

·         The Cost of the Uncollective Unconsciousness

·         Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs Worthington…

·         Business and Other Training Why the Music Business Matters

·         Estimating the Value of the Music Sector

·         Multicultural Arts: Change Must Come from the Top

·         Multicultural Arts

·         World Music

·         Bondi Pavilion Community Cultural Centre

·         Australian Hip-Hop’s Multicultural Literacies

·         The National Cultural Policy: Creative Australia


new Music Education publications

January 22, 2012

HERE is a selection of textbooks and resources re. music education, as used by some Australian universities.


Overview of Early Childhood Music Education Research (MPFL)

February 3, 2010

Go to resource: Overview of Early Childhood Music Education Research by Dr Peter De Vries and Dr Greg Hurworth gives an outline of available research and directions for future advocacy. Read more…


Oxford Handbook of Music Education (ed. Welch & McPherson)

September 9, 2013

2 volumes of recent research on Music Education around the world, edited by Welch and McPherson:


PhD – instrumental teachers collaborate online

July 3, 2011

Welcome to the web portal for my PhD project. This project seeks to investigate the ways in which instrumental teachers can improve their teaching practice through collaboration with other instrumental teachers by means of a web based forum. It expects that the forum will facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experiences and become a medium for group problem solving thereby allowing teachers to learn from each others’ experiences and improve their own teaching practice.


Primary Arts Education: a brief Australian history

March 1, 2010

Go to resource: Primary Arts Education: a brief Australian history, by Deirdre Russell-Bowie, was published in the Music Forum Vol 15 No 3, 2009.

Read more…


Research and Issues in Music Education (RIME)

March 1, 2010

Go to resource: Research and Issues in Music Education (RIME) is an international periodical published online through the University of St Thomas (USA). Read more…


Research studies in music education

February 21, 2010

Go to resource: Research studies in music education, published by the University of Queensland, is a periodical on music education research. Read more…


RIME – April 2013, UK

June 7, 2013

Research in Music Education Conference in UK (April 2013)

Summaries and abstracts can be found HERE


Sistema Australia

January 24, 2011

Sistema Australia – A school music education system based on a Venezuelan model. Currently being trialled in Laverton (VIC), the model involves instrumental learning and high-quality performances at school.


Study: Music Training Boosts Brainpower

January 28, 2013

Study: Music Training Boosts Brainpower
Pacific Standard, 1/23/13
“Want your child to get better and better with words? Put a musical instrument in his or her hands. That’s the implication of a new paper from Germany, which confirms and augments research conducted in Canada and Hong Kong. Across cultures, it appears, training on a musical instrument improves kids’ verbal memory. The results of an 18-month study suggest ‘a positive transfer effect from musical expertise onto speech and language processing,’ writes a research team…[they] note that no similar effect was found for kids taking an enriched academic curriculum. The study featured seven- or eight-year-old children (37 boys, 36 girls), recruited from seven primary schools scattered around Germany. Twenty-five received special music training above and beyond the basic school curriculum. Specifically, they participated in weekly 45-minute lessons, where they played the instrument of their choice.”


“Playing music requires continued monitoring of meaningful chunks of information,” they write. “Rather than individual notes, these chunks entail clusters of notes that are combined into meaningful melodic gestures and phrases.”

There’s an obvious parallel between that process and the way clusters of syllables, meaningless in themselves, combine in our brains to form words. And in contrast with the verbal results—and in line with previous research—there were no similar increases in visual memory.


Survey of School Principals with Music Programs

August 7, 2013


Dr Richard Letts, June 2013

There is a statistical element to this survey but with only 19 respondents, it is of mainly anecdotal significance. The real interest is in the personal statements by the principals of the role music plays in their schools and for their students. Most testify to its importance.

Read more…


The Australian School System

February 10, 2010

Go to resource: The Australian School System is an article on the Music in Australia Knowledge Base site that summarises the history and structure of music education in Australian schools, and is written by Dr Richard Letts. Read more…


The new Blooms – implications for music education

June 26, 2013

Read the article here:


thesis and analysis

March 17, 2013

Irina Petrova’s recent dissertation on Music Education in Australia is on

And now, on the MCA’s Music in Australia Knowledge Base, Hans Guldberg has written a summary and statistical analysis. You can read this at

articles 1, 2 and 3.


Thesis on regional classroom music programs

January 25, 2013

HERE is a link to download Jenni Heinrich’s recent thesis:



TROVE – research tool

September 13, 2011

National Library of Australia has a new online catalog called TROVE – research for books, journal, video, audio, websites, pictures and more. You can even click through the website to purchase many of the items, if you wish.


Value of Music Ed (literature survey)

August 6, 2013


Mandy Stefanakis and Assoc. Prof. Robin Stevens, May 2013

This survey identifies sound Australian and international research into the benefits of music education. The purpose in part is to offer a reliable basis for advocacy for better provision of music education in schools. There are sections on aesthetic development; personal, social, cultural expression and identity formation; brain function; creativity; learning outcomes across disciplines; social cohesion and skills.

Read more…


Vic review on Music Ed 2012/3

December 5, 2012

Notice of an inquiry into Music Education in Victoria. More info HERE on SMAG website site and HERE on Vic Parliament website.

“An inquiry will be held into music education in Victorian schools amid fears it is not taught in many primary schools and is being cannibalised by preparation for NAPLAN tests.”

AN INQUIRY will be held into music education in Victorian schools amid fears it is not taught in many primary schools and is being cannibalised by preparation for NAPLAN tests.
Read more:


VMTA lecture – instrumental learning research

July 3, 2011

This year’s VMTA Clifford Lecture is to be held at the State Library Theatrette on Sunday August 7, 2.00pm.

It will be presented by Prof Gary McPherson, Ormond Professor and Director,
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music.

The topic is:

“Evidence based approaches to teaching music to children and adolescents”

Every year, thousands of Australian children begin learning a musical
instrument and embark on an aspect of skill acquisition that is not only
complex and time-consuming, but which also requires years of dedicated
practice and commitment in order to achieve success. A major challenge for
research, therefore, is to find better and more efficient ways for
developing the range of skills required to perform proficiently.

With the above as his context, Professor McPherson will describe recent
research that provides new insight into the nature of musical ability,
development and identity.  His presentation will be framed to show how
development is uniquely individual and how various forces act to either
enhance or hinder each learner¹s musical potential. Practical examples will
be included and discussed that teachers may like to consider in their
everyday teaching practice and that have been shown to enhance student
learning and motivation to continue learning and participating well into
adult life.

Tickets: $20 VMTA members/ $25 non-members/ $12 full-time students

To book, simply call 03 9415 1314 or email the office
Booking forms are also downloadable from our website


Why students don’t learn what we think we teach (video)

July 4, 2011

This interesting online lecture is aimed at Tertiary (Music) educators, spoken by US educator Robert Duke.