About Dr Michael Webb

Michael’s research work in music education and ethnomusicology is informed by his belief that music can assist us in widening our understanding of human experiences, in learning through engaging with cultural differences and in imagining and comprehending alternative ways of living.

Michael Webb’s recent research focuses on cross-modal literacies and expanding musical competencies in classroom music learning, ethnomusicology and music education, and effects of globalization on Melanesian musical cultures.

Michael holds an MA in world music and a PhD in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University, Connecticut, and has taught at secondary and/or tertiary levels in Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and USA. He currently lectures in music education methods and has been involved in trialling non-Classical pedagogies in the development of a broader-based musicianship among pre-service music education students. For more than a decade, he was Head of Visual and Performing Arts at St Paul's Grammar School in Western Sydney where he implemented an innovative program that involved world music ensembles and stage productions including an adaptation of Rachel Perkins’ film, One Night the Moon. He is currently collaborating on a volume in the successful Oxford University Press Global Music Series on Pacific Islands Music Cultures, as well as exploring ways to expand the canon of the secondary music curriculum to include contemporary Australian jazz. In Papua New Guinea and the Republic of Vanuatu he is studying music change and the development of national and public culture through research in urban hymnodies.

Areas of current and recent supervision include: 
Music education

  • Teaching Karen (Burma/Myanmar) indigenous music to Karen youth in Sydney as a case study in cultural maintenance
  • Narrative Inquiry into formative musical experiences and pre-service music educator musical identity
  • Developing models for teaching and learning Australian indigenous music in Australian secondary schools
  • Musical pathways of home educated students in Australia and New Zealand
  • A secondary school cross-cultural music exchange trip to Cuba
  • Music canons in the musicology component of the NSW HSC Music 2 Course
  • A case study of perspectives and perceptions about music participation among teachers and their students in two NSW secondary schools
  • Music among the Mapuche in Chile, South America
  • Becoming a garamut (slit drum) ensemble musician in Baluan Island, Manus Province, Papua New Guinea
  • Koreanizing the Drumkit: Engaging with South Korean ritual and folk music in developing a personal musical ideolect and Australian and regional jazz dialect.

Selected publications

For information about publications see my academic profile