Exploring Green's model of informal learning in the current music education landscape

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This presentation will focus upon Green’s model of informal learning (IL) in music education. Green’s model is based upon how popular musicians learn music in the informal realm, valuing attributes such as student choice, aural learning and integration of musical components. The approach recognises that learning can be ‘haphazard’ at times, often acting as an antidote to problems attributed to the historical dominance of formal and traditional pedagogy, for example, low motivation and a lack of authenticity. Green’s IL approach has sparked vast debate in the literature, and the complexity of key themes that have arisen will be discussed, including teacher role, student autonomy and marketisation. Over 20 have passed since Green’s ‘How Popular Musicians Learn’ publication, and current music education policy in England often favours more formal, traditional approaches. Western Art music repertoire, values and knowledge permeate through documents such as the Model Music Curriculum and the Ofsted Research Review for Music, suggesting strain between dominant ideologies and IL. Impact of lockdowns due to the pandemic resulted in a switch to online learning, causing restriction to in-person IL for lengthy periods of time. However, despite adversity, IL continues to inform practice in schools nationally and internationally and continues to be supported by Musical Futures. This presentation will explore some of the factors which contribute towards the prevalence and success of the approach in many schools, drawing upon empirical research. IL can offer the utopia of freedom for some teachers and can have the appeal of revolutionary change to remedy historical problems. However, to what extent IL theory has evolved beyond the original under-pinning research in some settings will also be considered. To conclude, implications will be proposed for the sustainability of the IL approach. Continued debate will be invited about the place of IL in current music education.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2023
EventResearch in Music Education - Online
Duration: 11 Apr 202314 Apr 2023


ConferenceResearch in Music Education


  • Music education
  • informal learning
  • Pedagogy
  • Musical Futures


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