Prof Gary McPherson

DipMusEd Syd Con MMusEd Indiana PhD Sydney LTCL FTCL

Ormond Chair and Director, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music

T: +61 3 8344 7889

Ormond Professor Gary McPherson is a multi-faceted music professional whose career includes performances as a trumpeter and conductor with various ensembles throughout Australia, three major longitudinal research studies involving musicians in Australia and the United States, and over 25 years as an academic in Universities teaching music education, research techniques, music psychology, performance science, and musicianship.

Gary completed his undergraduate training in music education 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, identity, and wellbeing 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 60 universities in 25 different countries, and well over 50 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. His published output is prolific, with well over 100 articles and book chapters in a wide range of journals and books. Included among these is a co-authored volume entitled Music in our Lives: Rethinking Musical Ability, Development and Identity (OUP, 2012) and co-edited books such as The Science and Psychology of Music Performance: Creative Strategies for Teaching and Learning (2002), Children Composing (1998), The Child as Musician: A handbook of musical development (2006), Orientamenti per la didattica strumentale Dall’esperienza alla ricerca (2007), and the two volume Oxford Handbook of Music Education (2012).

Since arriving in Melbourne, Gary has been instrumental in establishing interdisciplinary connections across the university and part of the driving force behind the Music, Mind & Wellbeing initiative. Previous positions have included serving as the Marilyn Pflederer Zimmerman Endowed Chair in the School of Music at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Professor of Creative Arts at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.


Gary McPherson