PROF Gary McPherson

PROF Gary McPherson




  • Ormond Professor Gary McPherson is a multi-faceted music professional whose career includes performances as a trumpeter and conductor with various ensembles throughout Australia, three major longitudinal research studies involving musicians in Australia and the United States, and over 30 years as an academic in Universities teaching music education, research techniques, music psychology, performance science, music psychology, and musicianship.

    Gary completed his undergraduate training in music education at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music before gaining a Licentiate (L.T.C.L) and Fellowship (F.T.C.L.) in trumpet performance from Trinity College, London, a Master of Music Education at Indiana University and a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney. He is a former President of the Australian and International Societies for Music Education who has has been conferred "Honorary Life Membership" of the ISME and the honour "Fellow" of the ASME. He is respected as an international advocate for the power of music in people’s lives and in children’s education.

    Gary’s research has provided an increased and deepened understanding of how individuals develop wide-ranging musical skills. Investigating the biological, cognitive and social process involved in acquiring and applying musical competencies, and the personal, environmental and developmental factors that affect musical development, ability, identity, and wellbeing more generally, he is widely accepted as having had very considerable impact on both music education theory and, not least, its everyday international practice. The value of this contribution is evidenced by widespread citations, guest lecturing at over 100 universities in around 30 different countries, and well over 100 keynote presentations at national and international conferences in various parts of the world.

    Gary has served on the editorial boards of all the major English language researc   


Member of

  • Australian Society for Music Education. Membership of professional society 1983 -
  • International Society for Music Education. Membership of professional society 1983 -


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • DP1093041 Prof GE McPherson; Prof JW Davidson; Prof MS Barrett; Dr R Faulkner

    Approved Creating musical futures in Australian schools and communities: Refining theory and
    Project Title planning for practice through empirical innovation
    2010 : $ 90,000
    2011 : $ 90,000
    2012 : $ 108,000
    2013 : $ 85,000

    Administering Organisation The University of Melbourne

    Project Summary
    This proposal forms a logical and much needed extension of the Commonwealth Government's (2005) National Review of Music Education. It will establish international leadership for Australian music education research by constructing the most complete picture of children's motivation to study music ever attempted. A series of interconnected studies will refine theory in ways that can be used to mobilize public awareness of the life long sense of wellbeing and enjoyment that artistic appreciation and participation in music can offer, and future efforts to promote more effective

    DP1094998 Dr E Schubert; Dr DA Cabrera; Prof GE McPherson

    Approved Redefining conceptions of child and adolescent emotional responses to music using
    Project Title time series analysis
    2010 : $ 80,000
    2011 : $ 85,000
    2012 : $ 100,000
    2013 : $ 20,000

    Administering Organisation The University of New South Wales

    Project Summary
    The National Review of Music Education recognizes the need to understand more fully how musical experiences impact on children's emotional and general development. Australian researchers are leaders in the field of continuous response to emotion in music. Our international leadership on this critically important issue will result in new ways of understanding music and teaching music to children through to adults because our explanations of affective aspects of mu   


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Sydney 1993
  • MMusEd, Indiana University 1982
  • DipMusEd, Sydney Conservatorium of Music 1977
  • FTCL, Trinity College London 1976
  • LTCL, Trinity College London 1975

Awards and honors

  • Honorary Life Member, International Society for Music Education, 2016


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • Broad Areas of Expertise:
    Music Psychology
    Music Performance Science
    Music Education

    Education and development of instrumentalists/vocalists from novice to expert levels
    Research on self-regulation, self-determination and motivation
    Musical ability, development and identity
    Giftedness and talent in music
    Music in everyday life
    Music and wellbeing