This two-year project, which was supported by the CETL for Music and Inclusivity, tracked the progress of a variety of student ensembles in different genres (folk ensembles, pop bands, string and wind quartets and quintets) and at different stages of their degree programmes.

The research was funded by Palatine (the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Dance, Drama and Music), who awarded the project a grant of £10,000 in July 2007. Tutors and students from each institution met and shared experiences, as well as taking part in joint assessment exercises. The project evaluated how student ensembles are best formed (student self-selection? at random? by audition?); how tutors support student ensembles as they develop; and also those ensembles are assessed.

The project’s final report ‘Promoting excellence: the teaching, learning and assessment of small group performance’ can be downloaded here. The research was further disseminated in presentations at the Second International Reflective Conservatoire Conference at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, 2009; and at the International Council for Traditional Music, Ireland, Annual Conference, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, 2010. Richard Wistreich also authored a further paper about Performance at ICMuS for the Higher Education Academy, called ‘Teaching and Assessing collective Performance in a University Music Department’ which was included in a training resource for the HEA called ‘Starting out in dance, drama and music: workshops for new and early career lectureships’.

Staff from ICMuS:

  • Richard Wistreich (RNCM; ICMuS to 2010)
  • Jane Ginsborg, Research Fellow at the Research Centre for the Vocational Training of Musicians at our ‘sister’ CETL in Music, the Royal Northern College of Music.