Professor Gary McPherson

Deputy Director MMW

Ormond Chair and Director,

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

Professor Gary McPherson completed his undergraduate training at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music before gaining a Licentiate (L.T.C.L) and Fellowship (F.T.C.L.) in trumpet performance from Trinity College, London, a Master of Music Education at Indiana University and a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney. He is a former President of the Australian and International Societies for Music Education and is respected as an international advocate for the power of music in people’s lives and in children’s education.

Gary’s research has provided an increased and deepened understanding of how individuals develop wide-ranging musical skills. Investigating the cognitive and social process involved in acquiring and applying musical competencies, and the personal and environmental factors that affect musical development, ability and identity more generally, he is widely accepted as having had very considerable impact on both music education theory and, not least, its everyday international practice. The value of this contribution is evidenced by widespread citations, guest lecturing at over 50 universities in 25 different countries, and over 40 keynote presentations at national and international conferences in various parts of the world.

Gary has served on the editorial boards of all the major English language research journals in music education and is currently an Associate Editor for Psychology of Music, Research Studies in Music Education (which he helped establish in 1993), and the Journal of Interdisciplinary Music Studies. He has published well over 100 articles and book chapters in a wide range of journals and books.

Research Interests

Gary currently holds two ARC Discovery Grants

  1. Creating musical futures in Australian schools and communities: Refining theory and planning for practice through empirical innovation

    Constructing the most complete picture of children's motivation to study music ever attempted. A series of interconnected studies will refine theory to mobilize public awareness of the lifelong sense of wellbeing and enjoyment that artistic appreciation and participation in music can offer, and future efforts to promote more effective strategies for the provision of music education for all young people in Australia and beyond.

  2. Redefining conceptions of child and adolescent emotional responses to music using time-series analysis

    Explaining affective aspects of music within a scientific perspective that moves beyond learning technical and subjective aspects of music appreciation. This will guide new ways of understanding music and teaching music to children through to adults.

Contact details:

T: +61 3 8344 7889