Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


New diverse, modern and relevant teaching offer for music

Creating a modern-day and globally-minded music teaching offer involving relevant and diverse artists that resonate with young people.

A women smiles as she listens to music whilst writing.
Organised byMonica Lakhanpaul, Austen Smart and Scott Smart (Virtuosos) and Jake Martin

Our team is excited to initiate our new music teaching project with the aim of contributing to the creation of a modern-day and globally-minded music curriculum that involves relevant and diverse artists that resonate with young people. We are grateful to UCL Music Futures for choosing us for this award.

Who are we? 

  • Professor Monica Lakhanpaul, Professor of Integrated Community Child Health at the Population, Policy & Practice Dept, UCL GOS Institute of Child Health.
  • Virtuoso, founded by Austen Smart and Scott Smart, professional DJs and music producers. 
  • Jake Martin (Hodge), Music Teacher and Bristol-based DJ and Producer.

About the project

It is the centralisation of the music curriculum development that our team have come to believe needs radical transformation with a long-term view to ultimately becoming decentralised and more in tune with the music that young people listen to today. We believe this work can be the start of this radical transformation of creative learning. Surrounded by hopes of fame and fortune, today’s young musician does not have the skills and pathways to get ahead, regardless of the fact that they are constantly invited to participate in online platforms such as YouTube, Tik-Tok, Spotify and Epidemic.

Therefore, our team will create a totally new modern teaching offer which bridges the gap between education, industry, and community in this collaboration between academics from UCL, Virtuoso, teachers, well-known artists, and students. Our aim is to build a complete modern-day music teaching offer that involves relevant and diverse artists that resonate with young people.

The teaching offer will include in-person meetups, podcasts to help students learn music theory, and real-world outcomes for students aged between 18 to 21. We intend to do this in partnership with online teaching platform, Virtuoso, which specialises in music production and DJ-ing. We wish to explore whether this teaching offer, teaching method and community-building will result in increased take-up, engagement in other areas of learning and positive outcomes for students.

The format of teaching will be through video content, podcasts and in-person workshops with artists and students in order to understand what they want and how to deliver that whilst still providing rigorous pedagogy worldwide.

We will then measure the impact, results and engagement of the content on students and compare that to standard teaching in schools and colleges that is happening today and has led to year-on-year decreases in GCSE and A level enrolment. We also seek to understand what happens to university-aged students when they are provided with access to music learning and what the direct benefits are.

Finally, we will organise qualitative interviews with students to explore which medium is best for learning, how important collaboration is and the difference a well-known, famous teacher can have on a person’s learning.

If our project proves successful, we hope to roll our new curriculum out to A-Level, AS Level, GCSE, K12 and KS3 age-groups in the long-term.