Filling the Gaps

What Research is Needed to Assist with Music Education Advocacy in Australia


  • Dr Robin Sydney Stevens Melbourne Conservatorium of Music
  • Ms Mandy Stefanakis Christchurch Grammar School


Music instruction, music learning, music teaching, postgraduate theses, research, music education advocacy


Despite advocacy by professional organisations, recommendations from successive government reviews and inclusion of The Arts in the forthcoming new Australian Curriculum, music still remains in a highly vulnerable position within the school curriculum. While there are many voices advocating better provision for and improvements in music curriculum implementation, some arguments rely on subjective opinion and therefore represent unsubstantiated assertion. In order for the benefits of music education to be taken more seriously by governments and education authorities, there is a need for more persuasive arguments that are evidence-based and therefore irrefutable.

While there are numerous international studies that provide evidence-based findings, these are often perceived as lacking cultural relevance or, given differences in education delivery, being less applicable to the Australian context. Findings from local research give both currency and relevance that can be usefully employed in music education advocacy in Australia.

The quantum of research in music education has grown exponentially over the past few decades and much of this research may be used for advocacy. Nevertheless, there are significant gaps in music education research that, if filled, could strengthen not only the rationale for music education, but also provide accurate data on the current provision for and implementation of music in schools.

This article will discuss the growth and current state of music education research and include an analysis of postgraduate award. It will also identify some of the current gaps in the national research profile which, if filled, would significantly assist with music education advocacy. Proposals for filling these gaps and more generally promoting research relevant to music education advocacy will be discussed.

Author Biographies

Dr Robin Sydney Stevens, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

Principal Fellow, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Faculty of Fine Arts and Music, The University of Melbourne; formerly Associate Professor of Music Education, Faculty of Education, Deakin University.

Ms Mandy Stefanakis, Christchurch Grammar School

Director of Music
Christchurch Grammar School
South Yarra
VIC 3141




How to Cite

Stevens, R. S., & Stefanakis, M. (2022). Filling the Gaps: What Research is Needed to Assist with Music Education Advocacy in Australia. Journal of Music Research Online, 5. Retrieved from