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Dr Catherine Preston
Berwick upon Tweed
Dr Catherine Preston profile picture
  • Senior Teaching Fellow - Dissertation Supervisor - Music
  • IOE - Culture, Communication & Media
  • UCL Institute of Education

I was appointed as a senior teaching fellow April 2020 to be part of the team delivering the MA in Music Education. My formal academic career began in 2002, when I received a bursary from Keele University to enable me to study with Professor Alex Lamont and Professor John Sloboda for an MSc in Music Psychology. The work of Professor Lamont and Professor Sloboda is at the forefront of approaches to psychological research in music and music education and my dissertation at Keele, awarded in June 2004, formed the basis for my doctoral thesis which was awarded July 2010. My research was conducted whilst I was director of Music and Expressive Arts at a high school in Manchester.

My thesis, ‘An investigation into the nature and quality of children’s experiences of group composing in the secondary classroom based on the concept of flow’, is an in-depth study into the effectiveness of group work in classroom music lessons. My aim was to address the lack of practitioner-based studies into group composing to focus on the quality of pupils’ experiences. With this in mind, flow theory provides the ideal theoretical focus to investigate the quality of individual subjective experience and the ways in which it is possible to be immersed in an activity for its own sake rather than for extrinsic reward. 

In 2010, following an extensive career as a classroom music teacher, music adviser and as an instrumental teacher in schools across the North West of England, I accepted a post as associate tutor and supervisor at Edge Hill University and assisted Professor Martin Ashley to establish an MA in Music Education programme. Part of my success with students is the wide range of topics that I am able to supervise because of my range and knowledge of the literature in music education. For example, in terms of curricula and notable music education programmes, I was a tutor on the combined BMus and PGCE music programme for the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. I was a founder member of the instrumental teaching team to introduce and evaluate the Wider Opportunities Instrumental teaching programme in schools in the North West. I have contributed chapters to two books on music education and recently published an updated edition of my thesis.

I re-located from Manchester to live in Berwick upon Tweed in February 2019 and have a new focus on community music making. I have founded a community choir and joined the Cobweb Orchestra in Newcastle. The orchestra recently featured in the Brundibar Festival in February 2019, the first annual festival dedicated to the Music and Arts of the Holocaust. I am also an independent researcher in music, psychology and education and work part time as a test administrator for the National Foundation for Education Research.

04-APR-2010 – 05-MAY-2012 Lecturer in Music and Education Education Edge Hill University, United Kingdom
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