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Dr David Baker
Room 931 (Core B, Level 9)
UCL Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way
Dr David Baker profile picture
  • Associate Professor
  • IOE - Culture, Communication & Media
  • UCL Institute of Education

David Baker is Associate Professor at the UCL Institute of Education, London where he is Programme Leader for the Music Education MA. In tandem with his research, MA programme leadership and teaching, David has a wide-ranging role including supervising and examining doctorates, and serving on the panel of ethics reviewers at the Institute. David also runs the Institute's Music Special Interest Group, a series of research seminars for staff members and students relating to music education and related fields presented by internationally-recognized scholars from the UK and overseas. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and, in 2018, became a fellowship assessor for UCL Arena. David’s other academic activities include peer-reviewing for a number of leading music education journals, writing book reviews, and he has published various research articles and book chapters on music education. From 2018 to 2022, he was also on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Community Music. David's co-authored book with Lucy Green on their Arts and Humanities Research Council "Visually-impaired musicians’ lives" work (see below) was published by Routledge in 2017. More recently, he has contributed chapters on disability and music to the Routledge international handbook of music psychology in education and the community (edited by Andrea Creech, Donald Hodges and Susan Hallam, 2021) and the Oxford handbook of care in music education (edited by Karin Hendricks, 2022). 

From 201822, David served as Academic Head of Learning and Teaching for the Department of Culture, Communication and Media working with his Head of Department on departmental quality assurance procedures and onward initiatives, supporting programme teams with validation activities, working on student casework, chairing clustered MA examination boards, and participating in both Programme and Module Approval Group and Student Recruitment and Admissions Group meetings. He has also been Module Leader for the MA in Instrumental Teaching at Reading University, UK in the past, and also for the postgraduate certificate and diploma “The teaching musician” at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London. He has supervised MA research on a variety of music education topics since 2002. David has also participated in the development of a music degree course at Plymouth University in the past, including later serving as External Examiner, and also supported the validation of one of Trinity Laban's MA programmes and the periodic review of the Royal Academy of Music's LRAM.

Some of David's early musical experiences were in brass bands on the South Coast of England. He comes from a background as a trumpet player and music teacher, having taught in UK primary and secondary schools for over 10 years. He learned the trumpet with David Mason who can be heard on “Penny lane” by the Beatles. David is a member of the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain; and is also committee member for the Baluji Music Foundation, a UK registered charity that supports blind and partially-sighted musicians. He received his PhD in Music Education in 2005, which gained a Bernarr Rainbow Award in 2003. 

Research Summary

David was Principal Investigator for "Visually-impaired musicians’ lives", a UCL project concerning blind and partially-sighted musicians funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, 2013–15, and supported by the Royal Academy of Music, London and Royal National Institute of Blind People, UK. This work has taken him as a researcher, seminar and conference presenter to Australia, India, Norway, Sweden and the USA. As an extension of this, he travelled to Chennai, Bangalore, Calcutta and New Delhi, India in 2016 visiting blind musicians and special schools with a British Council/Arts Council England grant. David has also collaborated with Mary Stakelum on a Research Endowment Trust Fund project at Reading University that explored primary teachers' conceptions of musical ability, 2011–12. He has been appointed UCL Honorary Senior Research Associate, 2016–19; and, in the past, held posts as Senior Research Officer at UCL, including his work for Lucy Green on the "Ear playing project". This was funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, 2011–12, and brought Green's "informal learning" approaches as applied in Musical Futures into the instrumental teaching studio.

Selected research interests:

  • blind and partially-sighted musicians' lives and learning
  • visual impairment, music and education
  • accessible music technologies
  • musicians' life stages
  • playing music by ear
  • biographical research, narratives and life histories
  • musical ability
  • pedagogical training in the music conservatoire


Teaching Summary

MA in Music Education (Programme Leader)

PhD and EdD supervisor

Current doctoral candidates:

  • Mark Cronin, PhD *LG
  • Jiaqi Luo, PhD EH
  • Marie McNally, PhD EH
  • Gemma O'Herlihy, PhD JY
  • Simon Parker, EdD WG, HM
  • Michelle Qi, PhD EH
  • Emily Sayers, PhD RW
  • Tim Smart, PhD LG
  • Jonathan Still, PhD LG
  • Xinlu Zheng, PhD WG

*Principal or co-supervisor: Will Gibson (WG), Lucy Green (LG), Evangelos Himonides (EH), Hilary McQueen (HM), Richard Widdess, SOAS (RW) 

Prospective doctoral candidates for supervision with David Baker should click here for details of the required format for making a proposal.

2018 Associate Professor Department of Culture, Communication and Media UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom
2018 – 2022 Academic Head of Teaching and Learning Department of Culture, Communication and Media UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom
2016 Programme Leader, MA in Music Education Department of Culture, Communication and Media UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom
2016 – 2018 Lecturer in Music Education Department of Culture, Communication and Media UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom
2015 – 2019 Honorary Senior Research Associate Department of Culture, Communication and Media UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom
2015 Module Leader, "The teaching musician" Music Faculty Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, United Kingdom
2012 – 2015 Principal Investigator, AHRC project Department of Culture, Communication and Media UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom
2011 – 2012 Senior Research Officer, Esmée Fairbairn project Department of Culture, Communication and Media UCL Institute of Education, United Kingdom
2002 – 2015 Course Tutor, MA in Instrumental Teaching Institute of Education Reading University, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2017   ATQ03 - Recognised by the HEA as a Fellow University College London
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