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University Academic Awarded Research Fund

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University Academic Awarded Research Fund

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Dr Victoria Armstrong, Senior Lecturer and Director for Education and Social Science at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, has been awarded a research grant from London Music Masters (LMM) to undertake research exploring music provision for children in inner London schools. Dr Armstrong has been awarded the grant to undertake research as part of LMM’s Bridge Project that provides high quality, long term music instrument provision to children from diverse communities in inner-city primary schools in London. The project, entitled Transitions and Trajectories: a case study examining the musical experiences of pupils involved in the ‘Bridge Project’ in their first year of secondary education, will use a case study approach, working with the first cohort of graduates who completed the programme in July 2014 having had five years of high quality instrumental and musicianship training. Current research shows there is a sharp decline in student participation in music as they transfer from primary to secondary school, accompanied by increased alienation from formal music education as they get older, which Dr Armstrong has observed as a “crucial moment”. As such, undertaking research with the Bridge Project graduates offers a rare opportunity to gauge the longer-term impact such an initiative has on their on-going engagement with music, examining the factors that may inhibit or support this engagement during this significant period of change. Dr Armstrong, who is a sociologist of music specialising in gender and inclusion issues, said, “The research project is particularly salient in light of the findings of the recent ABRSM (2014) Making Music report, which showed that many children have no engagement with formal music tuition after primary school and access to tuition continues to remain the preserve of children from affluent backgrounds and raises important issues about equality and inclusion.” Robert Adediran, Executive Director for London Music Masters, said, “We are delighted to be participating in this new research partnership with St Mary's University. Understanding the musical journeys our students make when they graduate from LMM's intensive primary school programmes and move to secondary school will enable us to support our graduates more effectively in the future. It will also add to academic discourse and practical understanding of musical progression at the crucial primary to secondary juncture. “This partnership demonstrates the importance of schools, arts organisations and academics coming together to tackle challenges faced by society. We are highly committed to the process and look forward to sharing the outcomes.” For further information about the research project, please contact Dr Armstrong on victoria.armstrong@stmarys.ac.uk.
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