Student reading in library

Research Projects


NEWS in MAP: Women in Leadership in Music

As part of the Erasmus+ NEWS in MAP project, RIAM asked women in leadership in music to complete an anonymous questionnaire. It concerned the presence of women in formal leadership positions in music organisations, programmes or other structures (as artistic directors, conductors, music school directors, CEOs, etc.), the competences (abilities, skills, knowledge and/or values) and training of those in formal leadership positions, their opinions of the skills and training that is necessary to assume a formal leadership position, and perceptions surrounding barriers to leadership for women.

Full results and analysis of the survey can be read in the report Comparative Country Analysis on Leadership in Music Employability, available at the link below. 

Comparative Country Analysis on Leadership in Music Employability

News in Map (2019-2022)

New Employability within Self-Leadership Academic Programs

Training for the Music Profession 

NEWS in MAP is a three-year strategic partnership project funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme. The context for this project lies in the discrepancy between the skill set required by the music profession and the traditional education available at music college. For example, most institutions do not develop basic skill sets in team building, business establishment, marketing and event design, which are amongst the most important facets of establishing a new career in music.

The path from music student to successful professional is an extraordinary, but often difficult journey. In recent years the landscape for musicians has changed drastically, and the route to becoming a professional musician is in no way a straightforward journey into a single job. Instead, music students must develop a broad range of abilities, knowledge and skills in order to successfully work as a successful music professional, with self-leadership playing a significant role.

Leadership and Gender

“72% of today’s leaders are not equipped with the critical core skills needed to lead tomorrow’s workforce” (DDI 2015 Global Leadership Forecast) and research has shown that women are underrepresented in leadership positions. Particularly striking is data from within the orchestral profession. A 2019 UCL survey showed that in the symphony orchestras of continental Europe, 36.6% of members were women. In terms of leadership, however, that same study showed that across 40 orchestras in the UK, the USA and Europe, 83.2% of persons occupying Principal Chairs were male, and 16.8% were women.

NEWS in MAP seeks to raise the consciousness of women in relation to their suitability for positions of leadership, to increase both the participation of women at all levels of decision making and the opportunities for women to assume leadership roles. Accordingly, RIAM's current research approaches the question from two different perspectives: the student perspective and the perspective of women in leadership in music. The results of this research will help to inform the development of the module that is at the heart of NEWS in MAP to provide the necessary data and information to incorporate an explicit gender dimension.

Research Methodology 

The RIAM has surveyed music college students throughout Europe to better understand student perspectives on leadership and the traits and competencies that music college students possess. This survey also measured whether leadership aspirations, competencies, confidence and conceptions vary by gender. In addition to the student survey, the RIAM also surveyed female leaders to gather their opinions of the skills and training necessary to assume formal leadership positions, and their perceptions of barriers to leadership. Full results and analysis of the surveys can be read in the final report Comparative Country Analysis on Leadership in Music Employability.

Research Impact

The NEWS in MAP project seeks to promote student self-leadership to increase employability for graduate musicians. The next event, Mosso con brio (Moved with Vigour), is a virtual mobility hosted by the RIAM in March 2021. The week will consist of a range of activities focussing on internationalisation and cross-border collaboration.

Every journey needs a map and NEWS in MAP will also create and implement a 14-week course, a “map” that enables students to gain the self-leadership competencies needed for employability in the modern world. The course will blend theoretical knowledge with small apprenticeships in a variety of subjects. The synthesis of these two facets, the theoretical and the applied, will result in an internship that offers a real-world experience.

Partner Organisations

Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia Roma

European University Cyprus

Yaşar Üniversitesi Association

Européennes des Conservatoires, Academies musique et Musikhochschulen (AEC)

RIAM Research Team

Deborah Kelleher, Sarah Sew, Vourneen Ryan, Lynsey Callaghan, David Collins


Late 19th and early 20th Century Styles of String Playing (Part of the Rediscover, Recreate Research Strand)

Rosalind Ventris (RIAM Strings Faculty)

Violist, Rosalind Ventris is an Edison Fellow at the British Library. She is also the recipient of funding under the RIAM's 'Amplify Research' Staff Research Scheme for 2019/20.

Read Rosalind's guest blog post on the British Library's Sound and Vision blog [published 25 September 2019]

Sounds from Bohemia: exploring the Bohemian Quartet’s recordings of Dvorak and Smetana

Rosalind Ventris


An investigation of Aaron Copland’s Night Thoughts (1972) through a performative analysis

Alexander Bernstein (DMusPerf)

Pianist, Alexander Bernstein is the latest graduate of the RIAM’s DMusPerf programme. His doctoral research on Aaron Copland's Night Thoughts provides players and listeners with a performance analysis which demonstrates possibilities for shaping, voicing, and timing within each phrase, among other aspects.  

The full dissertation is available on TARA.