Photo of Robert Faulkner

Robert Faulkner

Associate Professor, MA PhD Sheff., GradCertEd Reading, GRSM Royal Academy of Music (UK), LRAM

  • The University of Western Australia (M428), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 222 Citations
  • 7 h-Index
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Personal profile


Robert Faulkner is an Adjunct Honorary Research Fellow at the Graduate School of Education where he was formerly Course Coordinator of the Master of Teaching (Early Childhood). Previously, he held a joint position with the School of Music at UWA with special responsibility for Primary Music Education.

Before moving to Australia, Robert played a leading role in music and arts education in Iceland, where he lived for more than a decade, developing and writing national curriculum both in general school and in community and instrumental music school contexts. Innovative music education work has included early childhood music programmes, children composing and improvising, closing the gap between instrumental and classroom music provision, and the instigation of the first world music performance project of its kind in Icelandic schools - Zimbabwean marimba, mbira, dance and song. Robert has extensive experience at every level of education from kindergarden through to tertiary and adult education. He has been Head of Music at a London inner city comprehensive; head of a rural community music school in Iceland; part-time lecturer at the University of Akureyri and at the Icelandic Academy of Arts in Reykjavik; Deputy Chair of the Icelandic Music Schools Examinations Board; and took part in a range of education projects in local, regional, national governmental and international forum. Robert taught regularly in early childhood settings for more than 15 years and played a key role in pre-service and in-service arts and music education for early childhood and primary teachers in Iceland. He was the first foreign national to be elected to local government in Iceland and sat for several years on a regional Child Protection committee, including a period as its acting chair.

Graduating with Honours from the Royal Academy of Music, London, where he was awarded the Royal Academy’s Peter Latham Scholarship, Robert had already studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and holds a licentiate diploma in singing teaching. He completed a postgraduate certificate in education at the University of Reading and later an MA with Distinction in music psychology at Sheffield University, before completing his PhD at Sheffield University. His thesis, an investigation into vocal identity and the role of singing in everyday life, spans phenomenological psychology, ethnomusicology, music sociology and gender studies. As a choral conductor Robert has conducted at venues in Iceland, the UK, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Finland and Australia and has made 4 full-length CD recordings.

Apart from articles in leading international journals and several book chapters, Robert is the author of Icelandic Men and Me: Sagas of Singing, Self and Everyday Life, published by Ashgate Publishing in 2013 He is also joint author of ‘Music in Our Lives’ (with Gary McPherson and Jane Davidson) - a summative account of a 14-year longitudinal research study of the musical lives of 150 young Australians. Other publications and research grants, including an ARC Discovery project, cover a range of research interests: children composing; peer teaching; music and gender; music and everyday life; well-being; instrumental music learning; teaching and learning world musics; musical exceptionality; music and its role in migration/immigration. Presently, Robert is also engaged in a research project investigating the use of mobile technologies in West Australian independent schools.

Robert has written teachers’ handbooks and journal articles in Icelandic and has given papers, workshops and keynotes in Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, the UK, Northern Ireland, Canada and the USA, as well as in Australia.

Robert is currently Director of Music at Methodist Ladies' College, Claremont, WA.

Roles and responsibilities

 Music education
 Early childhood, arts and music education
 Music psychology

Funding overview

 Associate Professor Grace Oakley, Associate Professor Mark Pegrum, Associate Professor Robert Faulkner 2011, 'Exploring the Pedagogical Applications of Mobile Technologies - iPod Touch & iPad - for Teaching Literacy in Western Australian Independent Schools', Association of Independent Schools of WA - $20,0000.

 Dr Andrea Emberly, Dr Sally Treloyn, Winthrop Professor Jane Davidson, Associate Professor Kathryn Marsh, Associate Professor Robert Faulkner, Mrs Patsy Bedford, Miss Siobhan Casson 2011, 'Children, Knowledge and Country: Evaluating and developing music-based strategies for teaching and learning in remote Aboriginal communities in WA', University of Melbourne.

 Faulkner, R., Sharplin, E. (2012). Teaching Fellowship Scheme Project “Identifying inherent requirements to enhance practicum experiences and course outcomes in education.”

 Wildy, H., Oakley, G., Faulkner, R., Pegrum, M. (2012). Public Endowment Trust “iPad my Story: Belonging, being and becoming through multimodal storytelling”. How does use of mobile technologies to create multimodal stories impact on the literacy learning of young children? $54,981.98

 UWA Research Collaboration Award – A$5000, for Migrating Songs. CI1.

 ARC Discovery - ARC DP1093041 ($370,000) Creating musical futures in Australian schools and communities through detailed theory building and collaborative planning for implementation. CI4. Managed from Melbourne University.

 “The influence of teenage engagement with music and digital media on wellbeing, social group allegiance and pathways to future livelihoods” Education, Arts and Social Science Research Award, $12,000, 2011-12. University of South Australia, CI

 2004-7 c.A$ 30,000 Zimbabwean Music Performance in Icelandic Schools. Project Manager and Musical Director. A range of grants from national and local business partners & sponsors,international collaboration with Iceland Academy of Arts, University of Malmo, musicians and music educators from Norway, Sweden, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

 1998-2000 c.A$ 20,000 European Union Comenius Linkage Project. Project Leader. Including competitive European Union grant c. $10,000. International collaboration with schools in Iceland, Germany, Finland and UK.

 2000 – 2008 c.A$ 200,000 Male Voice Choir Hreimur. A range of grants from national and local business partners and sponsors in support of Hreimur Male Voice Choir (Concert programmes, overseas tours and CD release).

Previous positions

 School of Music, University of Western Australia,
 University of Akureyri, Iceland
 Icelandic Academy of Arts, Reykjavik, Iceland
 Hafralækjarskóli, Iceland
 Icelandic Music Examinations Board (Deputy Chair)
 National Curriculum writer - The Arts 6-16 Icelandic Ministry of Education
 Musical Director - Male Voice Choir Hreimur
 St. Bernards School, Bethnal Green, London

Teaching overview

Recent teaching includes:
Master of Teaching (Early Childhood
EDUC8545 Development, Teaching and Learning: Theory and Practice EDUC8520 The Artistic and Creative Child
EDUC8503 Social Interaction and the Developing Child
EDUC8509 Interventions in Primary and Early Childhood Education
Undergraduate music education:
MUSC3601/2 Primary Music Curriculum and Ensemble Training 1 & 2
MUSC3611/2 Primary Music Teaching Practice 1 & 2
Undergraduate music:
MUSC1010 Music in World Cultures
Posgraduate music:
MUSC8911/2 Study Principles and Practices A & B
MUSC8922 Human Music Development B
MUSC8931 Music, Teaching, Learning and Practice A
MUSC8941 Music as a Social Science A


 music education and development (children composing, teaching and learning world musics)
 music and everyday life
 music and gender
 social psychology of music
 mobile technologies in schools


 Icelandic
 English


  • Music education
  • Psychology of music
  • Singing and choral music
  • Music and gender

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Robert Faulkner is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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school Social Sciences
music Social Sciences
motivation to study Social Sciences
rural school Social Sciences
Iceland Social Sciences
learning Social Sciences
economics Social Sciences
pupil Social Sciences

Research Output 2003 2016

8 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)

Exploring the academic and psychosocial impact of El Sistema-inspired music programs within two low socio-economic schools

Osborne, M. S., Mcpherson, G. E., Faulkner, R., Davidson, J. W. & Barrett, M. S., Jun 2016, In : Music Education Research. 18, 2, p. 156-175

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Motivation to study music in Australian schools: The impact of music learning, gender, and socio-economic status

Mcpherson, G. E., Osborne, M. S., Barrett, M. S., Davidson, J. W. & Faulkner, R., 2015, In : Research Studies in Music Education. 37, 2, p. 141-160

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

motivation to study
1 Citation (Scopus)

Leading the small rural school in Iceland and Australia: Building leadership capacity

Wildy, H., Siguräardóttir, S. M. & Faulkner, R., 2014, In : Educational Management Administration and Leadership. 42, 4 suppl, p. 104-118

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

rural school
social isolation

Music in Our Lives

Davidson, J. & Faulkner, R., 2013, The Complexity of Greatness: Beyond Talent or Practice. Kaufman, S. B. (ed.). USA: Oxford University Press, p. 367-389

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapter

Projects 2007 2015