Adam Whittaker

Head of Pedagogy

Adam is Head of Pedagogy and a Lecturer in Music at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, having previously worked as a Research Fellow in BCU’s CSPACE, and at the University of Nottingham.

  • Expert
  • Head of Course
  • Active in Industry
  • Pedagogy


I am a musician, music educator and researcher who is interested in histories of musical learning from the Middle Ages right through to the present day. I have research interests in a number of areas, including present-day music education, musical thought in the Middle Ages, and the reception history of early music on stage and screen.


As a music education researcher, I have a deep knowledge of UK government policy relating to music education. I was one of the analysts responsible for the national Music Education Hub data return over a three year period, working closely with Arts Council England and the Department for Education. I was the co-investigator on an Arts and Humanities Research Council Funded network exploring classical music in the 21st century and I have also conducted research as part of projects funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Youth Music. I have expertise in a range of data collection and analysis methods, including analysis of large-scale public datasets (indices of multiple deprivation, schools census data) and creative interviewing techniques. I have a particular interest in issues of access in music education, having led research which has been quoted in national media and featured in a recent BBC Radio 4 documentary series, Rethinking Music.

Industry connections

My research has led me to work closely with key figures and organisations in the music industry. I have done quite a lot of work associated with Arts Council England, Music Mark, and the OHMI Trust, helping them to evaluate their programmes or develop new schemes to improve access to musical opportunities. I have also appeared on various BBC radio programmes relating to music education, and have published magazine articles in Music Teacher Magazine. I work regularly with various music charities and organisations.

Notable projects

At the moment, I am working on two main projects, both of which are fascinating to me. One is exploring the landscape of musical opportunities across the Midlands as part of Arts Council England’s Fair and Inclusive Music Midlands programme. This involves talking with musicians right across the region to find out about their work, their aspirations, and the things that we can do to help them realise their goals. The other is working on a database of early Scottish church musicians, helping to establish a much richer picture of who was involved in music making in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Studying Music in Birmingham

Birmingham is a great place to work and research. At Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Birmingham City University, we have the Birmingham Music Education Research Group, which is a cluster of researchers working across a range of topics in music education. Being part of such a thriving interdisciplinary institution opens doors to all sorts of collaborations that you might not normally expect! I have benefitted greatly from this, collaborating with colleagues in computing, health research and artistic practice.