Pitching it right? Selection and learning at a music conservatoire

Burt-Perkins, R. and Mills, J. (2009) Pitching it right? Selection and learning at a music conservatoire. British Educational Research Journal, 35 (6) pp. 817-835. ISSN 1469-3518 (online)


This article focuses on an oversubscribed UK higher education music conservatoire that centres its selection procedures on individual performance auditions. In this mixed-method study, centrally-held assessment scores are used to show that A-level music grades are a more effective predictor of final degree result than performance at audition. This context is then used to consider the learning of two students at the conservatoire who defy the expectations implied by the statistical results. Through six interviews with each student, their stories are probed through the lens of their trajectories of participation. Drawing on the notion of expansive and restrictive learning, the role that depth and breadth plays in learning to perform is unpacked, and it is suggested that both may be of central importance in shaping musical expertise. The authors discuss the results in terms of the specific challenges that the conservatoire faces in broadening its access, and consider the implications for learners of musical performance.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item