MERC - College of Arts - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

National Centre for Research in Music Education and Sound Arts

Breadth, depth, flexibility and relevance

Te Puna Pūoro National Centre for Research in Music Education and Sound Arts (MERC) serves as the national hub for the coordination of and contribution to research in music education and sound arts. Through its activities the Centre aims to enhance the understanding and knowledge of the musical arts in education and in the wider community. MERC is devoted to developing the national profile of music education in Aotearoa New Zealand through its activities, partnerships and collaborations. On this site you will find the New Zealand National Music Education Research Data Base and our peer-reviewed e-journal of studies in music education.

Recognised partnership

MENZA – Music Education New Zealand Aotearoa - the national subject association for music education and a key partner organisation to MERC. MENZA is now generally known as Tune-me-in

This organisation and other key stakeholders are forming partnerships and collaborations with MERC to support music education.

Background to the title and MERC’s interests

Music Education
Music education encompasses specific discipline literacies including symbolic learning, technical skill acquisition, audiation, psychology, aesthetics, acoustics, music history, technology, performance and composition. As inherently co-constructive, music education helps learners to realise socio-cultural forms of expression and to communicate personal emotions and understandings of the world through music.

Sound Arts
Sound Arts encompass artistic practices in the communities of musical arts, embracing heritage and creativity. Whilst encompassing the performative and creative aspects of music they refer to the arts domain in a holistic sense and could include movement and dance, visual and technological aspects of CD, DVD and film. They are the essence of musics and their cultural contexts expressed as sound works of art.

Music and Sound Arts are sciences, and technological forms of communication.

Technologies, including digital Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), are integral aspects of musical sound production processes and increasingly of arts knowledge bases. Learning in, through and about music and sound arts now offers, in the 21st century, highly creative and challenging areas of exploration and research that encompass all nations’ musics (past, present, and possible future), technologies, scientific knowledge leading to new cultural understandings and meaning-making. Creative and social enterprises rely heavily on musical arts practices and understandings. Research in these areas within Aotearoa New Zealand can support development and understanding of personal and group expressive arts, reflecting identity and giving global recognition to our successes.

What does MERC do?

The overall aim of MERC is to provide a national focus for music education research at tertiary level. MERC serves to:

  1. be recognised as the hub of networks for music educators involved in research in New Zealand
  2. facilitate and establish networks between researchers, groups and institutions
  3. act as a home for current and recently completed research and data collection in New Zealand and be a place where new initiatives can be planned and logged
  4. help institutions and individuals identify and refine research projects
  5. feed information to relevant music education bodies and make results available as widely as possible
  6. gather research information and data from overseas relevant to the situation in this country
  7. share information online for national and international audiences.

Research Projects Template

MERC has built up a list of suggested and/or potential research activities. This currently stands at more than forty possible topics, and is constantly reviewed. Some topics are of a kind that suit student post-graduate study. Others are more appropriate to national, regional, or institutional collaborations.

As the national agency for research in progress, research completed and research needed, music educators are invited to download, complete and return the 
Research Projects Template (DOC, 153 KB), or (PDF, 206 KB)

MERC Navigation


The Centre Personnel - Directors

Glenda Keam Glenda Keam
Associate Professor
Phone: +64 3 364 2987
ext 4876
Stuart Wise Stuart Wise
Phone: +64 3 345 8406
Internal Phone: 44406

Editorial Board

Roger Buckton
Glenda Keam
David Lines
Graham McPhail

Errol Moore
Patrick Shepherd
Jane Southcott
Vicki Thorpe
Trevor Thwaites
Stuart Wise
Sheila Woodward