Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Learning labs in conservatoire education

Music profession requires strong reflective, collaborative, creative and improvisational skills, yet prevailing one-to-one tuition in conservatoire education focuses mainly on transmission of craft skills. Examining effects of students' collaborative and experiential learning, as in learning labs, creates understanding of relations between pedagogical models applied and professional qualities developed.

2014 - 2021
Wilfried Admiraal


  • Tamara Rumiantsev - PhD candidate
  • prof.dr. W.F. Admiraal - supervisor
  • dr. R.M. van der Rijst - co-supervisor

Research question

What are effects of learning labs including collaborative learning approaches with respect to students’ educational experiences and learning outcomes?


This study provides perspectives and discloses dimensions and expertise of one-to-one teaching, small-group teaching and learning labs. Introducing learning labs in conservatoire education implies a major and significant change in teaching and learning, and may be regarded as an innovation. A secondary function is serving as a platform to discuss pedagogical and professional goals, together with teachers. Another aspect is the change of role model for students who are the next generation of teaching musicians, and implications thereof for their future pedagogical practice. 

With this research, including both quantitave and qualitative methodologies, my aim is to contribute to evaluation and innovation of conservatoire education, as well as reinforcing the connection of higher music education to professional practice. Increase of knowledge of conservatoire practice is needed (Johansson, 2012), since it is underexplored and no systematic studies of classical musicians' learning trajectories exist (Smilde, 2008).

Foreseen scientific innovation concerns generating methods to evaluate learning models in the field of conservatoire education, and generating knowledge regarding the use of learning labs, as a learning model for education in creative practices and industries. 

Impact on my own educational practice, being a teacher of both practice and theory, is being able to teach in a collaborative environment where theory and practice can be integrated, as well as having a clear relevance for professional practice. 

Publications in peer-reviewed journals aimed at higher music education (Music Education Research, British Journal of Music Education, International Journal of Music Education). Presentations and lectures at institutions and conferences.

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