MERC - National Centre for Research in Music Education and Sound Arts

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.

The Centre aims to enhance the understanding and knowledge of the musical arts in education and in the wider community and is devoted to developing the national profile of music education through its activities, partnerships and collaborations.

The latest issue of the e-Journal of studies in music education - Volume 10 No. 1 is now online.

As with the previous issues, it is a FREE online journal, downloadable as a pdf file (e-Journal of studies in music education Volume 10 No. 1).

Follow the link to see the latest issue and previous issues of the e-Journal of studies in music education.

Find out about other prizes available to music students at the University of Canterbury.

Malcolm Tait Music Education Scholarship

This scholarship was instituted in 2010 with funds donated by Dr Malcolm Tait. Malcolm Tait, an alumni and Adjunct Professor of the University of Canterbury, has had a distinguished career in music education. 

NOTE: The current value of the scholarship is $1,000 per annum.

Rayward Memorial Scholarship in Music

Principal Scholarship - From 2005 a new award valued at $10,000 will be offered for research leading to a Master's degree or a PhD. The award is available for research in a field of music education supervised at any New Zealand University. One Principal Scholarship may be awarded annually. The tenure of the award is one year.

Application Deadline: The application deadline is normally 1 October.

Vernon Griffiths Prize in Musical Leadership

This prize was established to honour the work of the late Professor Vernon Griffiths who was Professor of Music and Dean of the Faculty from 1942 to 1962.
It is awarded to a present or past student of the School of Music who has demonstrated outstanding qualities of musical leadership.

The current value is $850. No application is required.

Michael Toovey Memorial Prize

This prize was instituted by Mrs Michael Toovey, and by the friends and colleagues of the late Dr M H Toovey who was on the staff of the School of Music from 1959 to 1965. It is awarded to a senior student in music and may be used at the discretion of the recipient, in the furtherance of their musical studies.

The current value is $1,600.

University Madrigal Singers Prize

This prize was instituted by the Trustees of the University of Canterbury Madrigal Singers for the encouragement of the practice of vocal music.
It is awarded to a senior student of the School of Music who shows outstanding promise as composer or performer in the field of vocal music. It shall consist of music or books to do with music.

The current value is $550.

MERC has built up a list of suggested and/or potential research activities. There are now more than 40 possible topics, a list that is constantly reviewed. Some topics would suit student postgraduate 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.

Recognised partnerships

MENZA – Music Education New Zealand Aotearoa is 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.

MERC’s interests

Music education

Music education encompasses symbolic learning, technical skill acquisition, audiation, psychology, aesthetics, acoustics, music history, technology, performance and composition. 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 musical arts, embracing heritage and creativity. As well as 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 as sciences and technological forms of communication

Technologies, including digital technologies are integral aspects of musical sound production processes and increasingly of arts knowledge bases. Contemporary study in, through and about music and sound arts offers highly creative and challenging areas of exploration and research that encompass all nations’ musics (past, present, and possible future), technologies, and 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 in 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.

Centre Directors

Glenda Keam

Associate Professor
Associate Professor / Head of Music
Music 107
Internal Phone: 94963

Stuart Wise

Senior Lecturer
Wheki 164
Internal Phone: 94142

Editorial Board