Musical Futures: An Australian perspective

Research Team


Funding Source

Chief Investigators:
Dr Neryl Jeanneret
Rebecca McLennan

Research Assistants:
Rebecca McLennan
Jennifer Stevens-Ballenger

April 2010 to February 2011

Australian Music Association


Musical Futures is an approach to music education in the classroom that has the capacity to involve all students in performing and composing. It aims to make classroom music more relevant by engaging young people in the practices of real world musicians, recognising that the way in which popular musicians learn is quite different from the structure of the traditional music classroom.

The program was implemented in a number of schools in the UK in 2003 after three years of research and development, and implemented in 10 Victorian government schools in terms 2 and 3 in 2010. This research supported the UK findings (Hallam et al, 2010), with evidence of a powerful impact on 11 music teachers and over 1,200 of their students. The Musical Futures approach is a music pedagogy that clearly and demonstrably engages and empowers students in music and benefits other areas of learning in schools. It is a cost-efficient as well as an effective pedagogy for engaging all students in learning about music and developing performance skills. One major difference between the UK implementation and the Victorian was the inclusion of a primary school.


The research methodology replicates aspects of the Hallam, Creech and McQueen (2010) research by using the UK teacher questionnaires for each of the ten pilot schools. The questionnaires were adapted slightly for the Victorian context with items related to the following areas:

  • background information about the teachers
  • how Musical Futures has been implemented
  • the impact on teaching
  • the impact on students
  • the integration of Musical Futures with the VELS and the e5 instructional model
  • difficulties and constraints relating to the use of Musical Futures
  • the level of support from Senior Management Teams
  • the impact on take-up of elective music and
  • the impact on take-up of extra-curricular instrumental and vocal activities.

Two schools, Trafalgar Primary School and Carranballac College were selected as case study schools in consultation with the Soundhouse. Two members of the research team visited these schools to undertake recorded interviews with the music teachers, a focus group interview with students, and two class observations. The case study schools were also measured against an adaptation of the National Review of School Music Education's success factors for school music programs used to examine best practice music education in Victorian primary schools in 2009.

Hallam , S., Creech, A. & Sandford, C. (2010). Survey of Musical Futures: A report from Institute of Education, University of London for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.


Learning and Teaching Initiatives Grant, University of Melbourne

Publications/ Presentations

Jeanneret, N. (2010). Musical Futures in Victoria. Australian Journal of Music Education, 2, 148-162.

Jeanneret, N. (2011). Musical Futures: The Victorian Pilot. In L. Mackinlay (Ed.) Making Sound Waves. Proceedings of the Australian Society for Music Education National Conference, Gold Coast.

Jeanneret, N. (2011). Musical Futures: An Australian perspective. Report on research conducted for the Australian Music Association.
Available at Musical Futures,

Jeanneret, N. (2011). Musical Futures: The Victorian Pilot. Colloquium for Artistic and Creative Education, August.

Jeanneret, N. (2011). Musical Futures: The Victorian Pilot. Making Sound Waves: The Australian Society for Music Education National Conference, Gold Coast, July.