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Student research

The music scholars of tomorrow
Student 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.

We hold research seminars each year to showcase the work of our postgraduate and undergraduate students. Our postgraduate research students pursue degrees at the Master of Music, Doctor of Philosophy (Conservatorium) or Doctor of Musical Arts levels.


As part of the Musicology Colloquium Series we hold a Graduate Symposium twice a year.

During this day-long event graduate students have an opportunity to present aspects of their research to their peers and staff in a friendly environment. Students will get feedback on content and presentation style from others besides their immediate supervisor. It also prepares students for attending and presenting at national or international conferences.

Further information for postgraduate students and those contemplating future study can be found:


Current student projects

Niall Edwards-fitzsimons: Documenting and understanding the national and international popularisation of a family of song and dance forms from Aceh in Indonesia, here grouped as ‘Acehnese sitting dances’.

Heath Henn: Diminution techniques in late sixteenth-century Venetian keyboard toccatas

Bethany Carter: The impact of learning to play harp on self-efficacy and self-concept.

Grace Chan: The evolution of practice instruments for organists and the impact of virtual historical keyboards on learning, teaching, performance and digital documentation.

Austin Har: A 60-minute composition of a contemporary tragic opera-in-progress "The Ghost" for orchestra, choir, ancient Greek, ancient Chinese, ancient Egyptian, and electronic instruments, and a 30,000-word thesis following on prior research on spectral music. The thesis component contributes a conceptual framework of my compositional process based on original interpretation of what the French pioneer of spectral music, Gérard Grisey, distinguished as “music as a discourse” and “music as a state of sound” in his late career. 

Jenny Robinson: Influences Affecting the Working Life of Music Teachers in Australian Secondary Schools.

Sally Blackwood: Has the institutionalised opera house failed contemporary Australia? Why is opera so peripheral in the Australian idiom of national identity? Is it the institutionalised repertoire, or the way in which these stories are staged that perpetuates a disconnect between opera and twenty-first century Australia?

Bradley Kunda: Leadership as a field of study is currently evolving from a former preoccupation with the competencies and traits of individual leaders, to an increasingly systemic view of leadership as systems of human interactions (See for example Osland, Bird and Mendenhall, 2006; Hughes, Ginnett and Curphy, 2015; and Avery & Bergsteiner, 2011). From myriad definitions of leadership comes a common theme, which considers the ways in which people work together to achieve common goals in particular contexts. Musicians working in small ensembles, such as for example piano trios and quartets, will perhaps find this view of leadership broadly descriptive of the work typically done in rehearsing and performing chamber music. Indeed, the type of leadership exemplified in small chamber ensembles may well fit one of the most interesting paradigms of leadership currently being researched: the "leaderless" (or "leader-full") concept known as 'organic leadership'.


New students have the opportunity to attend the Undergraduate Research Showcase at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where they can hear what existing students have been working on, find out about what academic classes are like and how to go about developing their own original research projects.

A refereed journal dedicated to publishing work by undergraduate students of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.