Informal Learning: The Musical Future?

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


In this paper, I will present the findings of a three-year study into perceptions of the informal learning branch of Musical Futures (ILMF), based upon Green’s (2008) model. Although there is considerable discussion of informal learning within the music education literature, in-depth understanding of how the approach is understood, implemented and experienced remains limited. Literature has raised tensions and issues, which could threaten the future success and sustainability of informal learning in secondary schools if not further understood. Also, it was proposed that adaptation and misconception has occurred within the field, which this study sought to reveal.

This research was structured into a two-phased design. The first phase consisted of interviews with key figures relating to Musical Futures and informal learning research. The second phase featured multiple case studies of secondary schools, involving music teachers as co-researchers. Within individual cases, teachers were invited to: propose an additional research priority of interest; and select research methods of suitability for student data generation. It was believed that a co-research approach was a risk, but potential benefits of generating trustworthy and rich data outweighed the pitfalls.

Findings of this study will explore areas of dissonance between what was intended and its practice, including adaptation and misconception. Identified pivotal themes are believed to have the potential to contribute towards either the sustainability or demise of ILMF in schools. It will also be argued that an increased height of awareness about the evolution of the approach is needed in order to aid reflection upon values in music education. Due to the cyclic nature of education, the findings will also be of relevance to other initiatives which may seek to infuse informal learning into schools again in the future.

GREEN, L., 2008. Music, informal learning and the school: a new classroom pedagogy. Ashgate: Aldershot.
Period24 Apr 2019
Event titleResearch in Music Education
Event typeConference
LocationBath, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational