Programme: Music - PhD/MSc by Research

Start date: September 2014

Mode of study: Full time

Research title: All music, music for all: exploring a creative approach to musical learning that is accessible to all.

Diljeet Bhachu is a PhD research candidate in Music at the University of Edinburgh, funded by the AHRC through the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities. Prior to this, Diljeet completed an MSc in Applied Educational and Social Research and a BA in Applied Music, both at the University of Strathclyde. While there, she developed an interest in music education, completing two research projects looking at memorisation skills, performance anxiety and performing, teaching and learning experiences. Diljeet also works as a freelance musician, and is a practitioner and researcher in inclusive arts settings. Her PhD will draw on the influence of her practice, to explore and develop the use of community music principles for Primary classroom music activities that are accessible to all learners and teachers. Research interests include inclusion, and diversity in music education and the wider music industry.

Research abstract

This research project will focus on music in Scottish primary school classrooms. There are two reasons for this: the importance of musical experiences in childhood; inequitable and varied access to music provision. We know that music is beneficial in our lives in many ways, yet little is done to ensure that every learner is given the opportunity for musical exploration in education. Access to instrumental music services and classroom music specialists varies between schools, and many gatekeepers and barriers can prevent some learners from accessing musical learning opportunities. Primary classroom music may be left to the generalist classroom teacher, who may not feel confident in doing this due to their self-perceived musical identity, and prior musical training and experiences.

The aim of this research is to explore the use of community music practices within the primary classroom as an inclusive, whole-class approach to musical learning that both allows non-specialists to facilitate musical learning, and allows learners to explore music without judgement. This qualitative project will explore teachers' own musical experiences and perceptions towards musicality, before an action research intervention introduces the learners and teachers to an explorative, creative, collaborative and inclusive model for musical learning.  The fundamental principles of the model are that all participants in the activity are musical, and all musics are accepted.