Research Strengths

Research at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music includes creative work in performance and composition and music-related scholarship in the fields of western musicology, ethnomusicology, music education and experimental research in music performance and production.


Performance as research at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music emphasises the values of creativity, originality and intellectual integrity. Members of the Sydney Conservatorium performance faculty maintain highly active and international profiles in their specialty areas. Our research covers a wide range of performance, recording, performance practice and analysis of eras from early music to jazz and all genres of contemporary music from Australia and abroad; pedagogical methods and teaching repertoire; historical development and repertoire; and style and technique as well as technological understanding and development of instruments and performers’ physical and intellectual involvement.

The Sydney Conservatorium offers excellent support for performance students, including state-of-the-art performance venues with cutting-edge technology and research laboratories. We encourage performance students undertaking research at the doctoral, masters or undergraduate level to explore traditional as well as innovative avenues of study that inspire them.


At the postgraduate level, students can undertake a PhD in Musicology or a Master of Music (Musicology). Students work in a wide range of areas from early music and performance practise to 19th and 20th-century art music, as well as studies in Australian music history and contemporary popular music. Our musicology staff conducts research in areas ranging from medieval chant, to the latest works of Stockhausen and other contemporary composers, to analysis of current popular music genres. Their diverse interests include ethnomusicology studies, compositional process, musical analysis, sketch studies, manuscript studies and performance practise. Their research is published in books and journals, and they also present their work in musicological conferences and seminars both nationally and internationally.

Staff and senior students also contribute to the broader musicological arena with reviews in newspapers and online publications, pre-concert talks, public lectures and workshops, program notes and CD liner notes, as well as radio broadcasts.

Music Education

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music Education Unit offers postgraduate training in many types of music teaching and learning. The Music Education Unit places creativity and cultural diversity at the centre of its pedagogy, informed by specialist knowledge of the music of Southeast Asia, Melanesia, and indigenous Australians. Research is interdisciplinary, combining the methodologies of education with those informed by ethnomusicological, sociological, psychological, historical, and cultural studies influences. Research students undertake topics that reflect the Sydney Conservatorium’s broad view of music education. The Unit examines music teaching and learning from a range of perspectives, in all contexts, from early childhood through various levels of school and university systems, to studio teaching, community music activity, popular music, music therapy, and music in notated and non-notated traditions.

Our staff also brings expertise in wider educational fields, such as gifted education, educational psychology, social foundations of education, e-learning and behaviour management for adolescents. Their work is widely published in books and major international journals in music education, ethnomusicology, music psychology, popular music and cultural studies.


The Composition and Music Technology Unit makes an important contribution to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s research profile. This research is largely based in creative work such as composing for chamber music, orchestral music, opera and music theatre, as well as electronic and electro-acoustic music. The production of more traditional research publications normally associated with the development of the creative work often supports this research.

The postgraduate program allows students to specialise in the composition areas that interest them most, and all students find ample opportunities for the performance of their new works. The Unit’s staff represents a substantial cross-section of the most talented and internationally recognised Australian composers.