To recapitulate:


My research domains are:

  • instrumental music teaching and learning

  • music educational technology


In particular, I investigate:

  • the role of the body in the instrumental music learning process

  • the relationship between musician and instrument

  • how technology can contribute to an embodied approach to instrumental music teaching and learning


The leitmotiv in my work is the interaction between research and practice.That is:

  • my research is practice-based

  • my teaching is research-based

As such, my work emerges at the intersection of content, pedagogical, technological and research knowledge

Based on my academic experience and on my roots (25 years as music teacher, 10 years as teacher trainer) and engagements in the educational community of practice, I have developed a strong and clear general vision on how I want to shape my research. This vision is based on three pillars: 

              Scientific Quality & Integrity   ∣   Integrative approach   ∣   Societal Relevance

In my view, pursuing high quality research is a matter of pushing the boundaries of scientific knowledge by challenging existing theories and methods. This not only requires autonomy and creativity but also theoretical thoroughness, methodological robustness (e.g. sound design, transparent procedures, validity/credibility/transferability, reliability/dependability) and interpretative soundness. 

Scientific Quality & Integrity

・Focus on people・To ensure high quality research, it is necessary to invest in people. This implies supporting and stimulating their creativity, but also valuing their well-beingand facilitating and providing adequate guidance and training in addition to resources and infrastructure that support effective work. One way to achieve this is to invest at master level(e.g. implement a research-based approach) to nurture and retain home-grown talents, and to closely collaborate with the doctoral schools by stimulating PhD students to participate in courses and to organise specialist courses. Another way is to attract the very best researchers from around the world, whatever their country of origin (e.g. organising summer schools with leading scholars as tutors). Here, my affiliation to IPEM is important. IPEM is already such an attractor! Furthermore, a focus on people also requires a specific of scientificleadership, acknowledging people in their strengths, establishing a complementary team, and support team members in overcoming obstacles that prevent team members to fully deploy their strengths. 

・Intense collaboration・Attaining high quality research is facilitated by joining forces with other researchers and research groups. First of all, I would continue collaboration within my current research group, IPEM, the Institute for Systematic musicology. Here, a lot of expertise is gathered on quantitative approaches to music and movement. But I also strongly believe in a cross fertilization of interdisciplinary research groups. Ghent University has very strong research groups that I would like to link to (see also Appendix E). As my research would be conducted at IPEM, the presence of the Ugent consortium (IPEM, MICT, IDLab, Culture and Education) and Imec at the Krook, the new center in Ghent, is an incubator and facilitator to set up firm collaborations. With IDLab collaboration has already been started up (computer vision in classroom observation). Furthermore, I want to establish a firm connection to the dpt. of educational studies.Next to collaboration within Ghent University, it is important to establish partnerships with other universities and university colleges. Currently, I already established a strong network and collaborations are ongoing or being setup (e.g. Universities of the Arts in Stockholm, Amsterdam, Geneva; University of Twente, NL). It is my goal to expand (within and beyond my own discipline) and intensify this network.

・Open focus・In my view, research quality requires a focus on clearly defined research tracks, in my case music educational research. Rather than trying to predict the most promising topics or areas into the future, I prefer to limit the scope of research topics and the persistent pursuit of knowledge within a specific domain. This not only ensures the development of high quality research but also contributes to be at the forefront of one’s research domain and as such become an attractor of high level researcher. However, such a focus needs to be open, seeing opportunities to enrich ongoing research by addressing topics and conducting research that is closely related and relevant to the main research track.

・Research integrity・Research integrity is an essential aspect of research quality. To ensure this, I strongly support the idea of setting up an advisory board that gathers annually to evaluate ongoing research. I already have agreement from several international scholars to be in such an advisory board. 

・The next step・My research is embedded within the domain of systematic musicology. This is a fast-evolving research domain. Many studies in our domain are small scale studies, involving short interventions and small to medium-sized samples. While this has already led to fruitful insights on the nature of human interaction with music and music learning, I believe that future research should strive for much larger samples and longitudinal studies the attain a desired research quality. Of course, this has major implications on methodological, collaborative, organisational and financial aspects of the research. Here, priorities should be determined and choices must be made regarding the scope of the research topics.

Integrative approach
Integrative approach

[to be elaborated soon]

・Interdisciplinarity・pursue cross fertilization between different disciplines

Fundamental ∪ Applied・engage practitioners in defining the research questions, design, interpretation

Theory ∪ Practice・promote mutual dependency between theory and practice to drive research

Beyond Academia・collaborate with the relevant communities of practice

Social relevance

[to be elaborated soon]

・Inspire the community of practice・address authentic questions to produce relevant findings 

・Innovate and transform music education・provide evidence–based arguments and support for curriculum design

・Influence policy・transform research findings into recommendations for policy makers


© 2016 by Luc Nijs