Perceptions of the informal learning branch of Musical Futures

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The purpose of the research is to gain a greater understanding of how Professor Green’s (2002, 2008) model of informal learning is perceived by secondary school music teachers, students and key figures relating to the phenomenon. As the Musical Futures (MF) initiative funded Green’s research, adopted the model as a pathfinder programme, and has continued to advocate the pedagogy, informal learning will be explored within the MF context (ILMF). Lack of student interest in secondary school music lessons remains a contemporary problem, and ILMF can be seen as a potential solution. Although there is considerable discussion of informal learning within the music education literature, in-depth understanding of how ILMF is actually experienced remains limited. Literature has raised tensions and issues which could threaten the future success and impact of ILMF if not further understood.
Qualitative research was conducted using an interpretative lens, drawing upon social constructionist and constructivist ideas. Data collection occurred in two Phases. The first phase involved semi-structured interviews with three key figures relating to ILMF research and MF. Case studies were conducted for the second phase in four English secondary schools. Data collection methods in schools included interviews, observations and document sources. A co-researching model was adopted for elements of the second phase to potentially enrich findings and enhance the trustworthiness of data. Data has been analysed thematically, akin to an approach advocated by Braun and Clarke (2006). Four key themes were identified: ILMF theory is ‘aspirational’; ILMF incites ‘revolutionary change’; there is conflict between ‘the influence of power versus the utopia of freedom’; and ILMF comes to life within ‘the MF community’. It is believed that the proposed original contribution to knowledge will be of wide interest due to shared national and international problems of secondary school music lessons, and national and international implementation of MF.
Date of Award9 Aug 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorTim Cain (Director of Studies), BETHAN GARRETT (Supervisor) & SUSAN GRAVES (Supervisor)


  • Informal learning
  • secondary music education
  • Musical Futures
  • case study
  • co-researching

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