Transforming Musicianship Research Project

Title of the research: ‘Transforming Musicianship: Developing Musicians’ Learner Identity Through Multidisciplinary Pedagogy’

Principal investigator: Adj. Prof. Dr. Guadalupe López Íñiguez 

Supervisor:Prof. Heidi Westerlund

External evaluator:Prof. Dawn Bennett

Dates of research:1.9.2018—31.8.2021

Funder:Academy of Finland (grants for postdoctoral researchers, 2017 call)

Public Description of the Project

Despite the popularity of music learning and music making in Finland, the pedagogies that underpin instrumental studio teaching are outdated and ineffective. Based at the Sibelius Academy, the Transforming Musicianship Project will renew learning and performance practices among musicians and transform pedagogy in higher music education by highlighting the importance of learner identity. The project will revive historical music learning conventions to develop autonomous learners who can direct their learning and careers. The multidisciplinary project comprises an intra-individual, experimental and longitudinal study with seven classical musicians including the PI. The research involves questionnaires, reflexive diaries, interviews, concerts and rehearsals, and naturalistic observations of behaviour. The project’s theoretical and practical contributions have the potential to position Finnish music education at the forefront of instrumental pedagogical practice globally. 


  • Highlight the need to see instrumental music learning as a lifelong reflexive process in professional musicianship and western classical music; 
  • Nurture a professional learner identity among music instrumental students in higher education and graduate performance musicians through the development of strategies, resources, and tools to provide them with the means to improve and enhance their practice; 
  • Rebuild the traditional concept of guided learning and challenge rigid conceptions of transmission or apprenticeship models of instrumental learning; 
  • Challenge the status quo of classical music performance present in the orthodoxy of contemporary and historically informed performances; 
  • Extend the artistic research field, usually characterized by a single artist collecting data on his/her own artistic work, through a unique and multidisciplinary collaboration; and 
  • Develop a network of academics, performers, and institutions, providing opportunities to share ideas and develop collective and transformative pedagogical and performative knowledge. 

Results of the Project

(N.B.: The information below will be updated regularly.)

Scholarly and Popularized Publications

  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2019). Report from the symposium ‘Transforming Musicianship: Understanding C19th Historical Style and its Implications for Learning‘, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, 12th of November 2018. Manuscript in press.
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2018). On the road to musicking: Employing grounded theory in a cellist’s autoethnographic study. Manuscript submitted for publication.
  • López-Íñiguez, G. & Author. (2018). Variability in and effects of intentional self-regulation across concerts and recordings: A longitudinal-intraindividual study of a cellist studying Beethoven and Mendelssohn. Manuscript in preparation.

Concerts and Performances

  • (11.11.2018). Concert at Organ Hall, Musiikkitalo, Helsinki (Finland).
  •  (25.10.2018). Concert at the Moscow Philharmonic Society’s Small Hall, Moscow (Russia).
  • (10.9.2018). Inaugural concert at the Conference ‘Perspectives on Historically Informed Practices in Music Conference’, Faculty of Music, University of Oxford (United Kingdom).



  • (12.11.2018). ‘Transforming Musicianship:Understanding C19th Historical Style and its Implications for Learning’. Event hosted at Wegelius Hall, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki (Finland). Speakers: Claire Holden (keynote, University of Oxford, United Kingdom); George Kennaway (keynote, University of Oxford, United Kingdom); Tuija Hakkila and Guadalupe López-Íñiguez (Sibelius Academy, Finland). Organized by Uniarts’ CERADA, Uniarts’ CfAr, and the University of Oxford (United Kingdom).

Invited Talks and Guest Lectures

  • March 2018 (28th-30th). INVITED TALK: Symposium on artistic performance education organized by The Alliance for Higher Education (Lehren), Radialsystem V, Berlin (Germany).
  • Spring 2018 (dates open). INVITED TALK: Talk on Artistic-Scientific Research, Folk Music Doctoral Programme, Sibelius Academy, Helsinki (Finland). More info later.

Conference Presentations (Papers & Posters)

  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2018, September). The Beethoven-Mendelssohn Project: Constructing Historically Informed Performance Musicians’ Learning Identities, or How Time’s Up on Nineteenth-Century Music OrthodoxyPaper presented at the Conference ‘Perspectives on Historically Informed Practices in Music’. Faculty of Music, University of Oxford (United Kingdom).
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2018, September). Learning Identity vs. Classical Music Performance Orthodoxy.A Cellist’s Autoethnography of Embodied Cognition and Self-Regulation. Paper accepted for the 3rd “Doctors in Performance” festival conference. Vilnius (Lithuania).
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2019, April). Presentation TBA. 11th International Conference for Research in Music Education (RIME), Bath Spa (United Kingdom).
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2019, July). Presentation TBA. 7thInternational Symposium on Performance Science (ISPS), Melbourne (Australia). 
  • López-Íñiguez, G. (2020, dates TBD). Presentation TBA. 34thWorld Conference by the International Society for Music Education, Helsinki (Finland).

Research Visits

  • (2019 May 20 to June 28). Visiting fellowship, Curtin University, Perth (Australia).
  • (2019 July 21 to August 18). Visiting fellowship, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Melbourne (Australia).
  • (2019 August 19 to September 20). Visiting fellowship, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, South Brisbane (Australia).
  • (2020 Spring). Visiting postdoctoral researcher, Faculty of Music, Oxford University, Oxford (United Kingdom).
  • (2019-2021 several dates). Visiting fellowship, Faculty of Psychology, Madrid Autonomous University (Spain).

Training events 

  • (January-February 2019) Course: Application-oriented course of Structural Equations Model (SEM) using R software (5 ECTS) with Kimmo Vehkalahti, University of Helsinki (Finland). 
  • (28.11.2018) Lecture: Grounded Theory lecture (10:30-12:00) by Markko HämäläinenLecture hall U3, Aalto main building, Espoo (Finland).
  • (31.10.2018) Workshop: Media Training for Researchers (9am-4pm) with TV presenter and journalist Kirsi Heikel, Theatre Academy, Helsinki (Finland).
  • (18.9.2018) Seminar: Viewpoints to societal impact in the humanities and social sciences (11:30am-3:30pm), Academy of Finland, Auditorium, Helsinki (Finland).
  • (27.8.2018) Meeting: Kick-off meeting for the new Academy of Finland researchers (10-12am), Uniarts Rector`s office, Botta, Helsinki (Finland).


  • (3.5.2018). Press release of the project at the Spanish newspaper Las Provincias.

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