Professional musicians as researchers: leading changes through a study on memorisation

Jónasson, P. and Lisboa, T. (2019) Professional musicians as researchers: leading changes through a study on memorisation. In: Leadership of Pedagogy and Curriculum in Higher Music Education. ISME Global Perspectives in Music Education (2). Routledge, Abingdon. ISBN 9780367077327


This chapter emphasises the leading role that professional musicians who are also trained as researchers play when applying their artistic skills to research within higher education conservatoires. To illustrate this, a recent case study on memorisation is discussed. Through participating in the study, students discovered new applications for memorising complex contemporary musical material and both students and staff commented on the importance of including such work in their conservatoires´ curricula. The authors’ method of inquiry is positioned within the context of research into the arts by offering a short historical overview that leads to the current research scenario. The subject is further explored through interviews with four experienced musician researchers working within higher education. The discussions bring a two-fold call for leadership. Firstly, for expert performers to take the lead in identifying areas in need of improvement within their institutions and to engage in research which allows them to seek meaningful solutions. Secondly, for conservatoires to work on creating the adequate conditions for this to happen.

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