Naomi Kayayan

Through an exploration of Engaging Students and Teachers as Partners (Cook-Sather et al., 2014; Bovill, 2020), Naomi’s PhD takes an interpretative phenomenological approach to understanding partnership and engaged learning practices in conservatoire piano teaching.

Naomi Kayayan

Naomi maintains roles across a diverse range of contexts in music education, performance and research. A tutor in piano at the Junior Department of the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Naomi is also a piano tutor at The City of Edinburgh Music School: a government funded specialist Steinway School. Formerly, she taught piano at two other Scottish Specialist Music Schools: The Music School of Douglas Academy in Glasgow and Aberdeen City Music School. Naomi also coaches on the summer school programme at Chetham’s School of Music, she is a mentor for the UK charity ‘Future Talent’, and she is regularly invited to give masterclasses in the UK and overseas.

Naomi is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AdvanceHE). Her teaching in higher education includes the role of Module Leader on the MA in Practical Music Teaching, and as a mentor/lecturer on the PGCert in Instrumental Teaching at the University of Chichester. She is a Graduate Teaching Associate in Music Education at the RNCM where she delivers seminars on BMus pedagogy modules and on the PGCE jointly delivered by the RNCM and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Naomi has established a global reputation as a music educator. Pre-pandemic, she was Head of Keyboard and subsequently Director of Music at an international school in China where she coached a number of prize-winning pianists and established conservatoire progression programmes with leading institutions in the UK and USA. She has also held the role of Director of Music at three independent Prep schools in England in addition to extensive experience in classroom teaching in a range of primary and secondary schools. Naomi has delivered professional development courses for instrumental teachers in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the UK, including numerous presentations on music pedagogy and psychology. Naomi is also an examiner for ABRSM in which capacity she has worked all over the world in examining, presenting and consultancy roles.

Naomi has trained in person-centred therapeutic counselling which informs much of her current work. Her teaching philosophy is rooted in person-centred psychology, the critical response process and relational pedagogy. After completing undergraduate studies in performance at the RNCM, postgraduate studies in Music Education Research followed at the University of Reading. Subsequent studies in Performance Pedagogy in Higher Education at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama preceded a return to the RNCM to pursue a doctorate.

Naomi’s PhD takes an interpretative phenomenological approach to exploring partnership and engaged learning practices within conservatoire piano lessons. Her broader research interests include the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in higher music education, instrumental teacher training, pedagogical care in the teaching of gifted musicians, and the impact of historic pedagogies on modern-day music education.

Naomi regularly presents her work at academic conferences, and is regularly called upon as a peer-reviewer for a number of international academic journals. In 2023, Naomi was the recipient of five grants which enabled her to present her research at the Centre for Engaged Learning at Elon University, North Carolina, USA. She has since given presentations at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Chester, and at the Students as Partners Roundtable Conference at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Conferences and Dissemination

August 2020: 4th Asia Kodaly Symposium, Singapore: ‘Interaction in instrumental teaching in an online space’.

May 2021: Postgraduate Research Conference, RNCM, Manchester, United Kingdom: ‘The location of learning: The space between the roles of the master and apprentice in music education.

May 2023: Postgraduate Research Conference, RNCM, Manchester, United Kingdom: ‘Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: A researcher’s journey around the hermeneutic circle.’

June 2023: Conference on Engaged Learning – Elon University, North Carolina, USA: ‘Engaging Students as Partners in a Music Conservatoire.’ Funded by Elon University, Royal Northern College of Music and Manchester Metropolitan University.

August 2023: Blogpost for Manchester Metropolitan University: Joining a Community of Co-creation and Engagement as a Researcher, Teacher and Student.

October 2023: Students as Partners Roundtable Conference, University of Melbourne, Australia: ‘Respect, Reciprocity and Responsibility: A Foundation for Trust in Engaging Students as Partners in Conservatoire Instrumental Teaching.’

November 2023: University of Edinburgh, Reid School of Music, United Kingdom: Presentation and practical workshop: ‘What does it mean to Engage Students as Partners in Instrumental Teaching?’

December 2023: Students as Partners Special Interest Group: University of Chester, United Kingdom: ‘Reflections on Students as Partners Research in a Conservatoire: A Multi-Cultural Perspective.