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Department of Arts Education & Physical Education

 Dr Ailbhe Kenny

B.Ed., M.Ed. (DCU) Ph.D. (Cantab)

Lecturer in Music Education

Department of Arts Education & Physical Education

Office C106

Tel: 00353 (0)61 774721

E-mail: ailbhe.kenny@mic.ul.ie






Ailbhe Kenny is Lecturer in Music Education. Ailbhe holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge and gained both Bachelor of Education and Master in Music Education degrees from St. Patrick’s College, Dublin City University.  Ailbhe was a EURIAS fellow at the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study in Germany for 17-18. A Fulbright Scholar, Ailbhe spent the academic year 14/15 at Teachers College, Columbia University and New York University. Before taking up her current position at MIC, Ailbhe held a research fellowship and also lectured in Music Education at St. Patrick’s College. Ailbhe has worked as a primary teacher in a mainstream, learning support and specialist music teacher capacity and spent a year on secondment as Arts and Education Officer to ‘The Ark - A Cultural Centre For Children’ in Dublin. Ailbhe has led numerous professional development courses for teachers and is actively involved in community projects which includes directing the MIC Children's Choir (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=890Gm24Uvb4). Ailbhe was awarded the MIC President's Bursary for Outstanding Academic Achievement in 2014 and was a finalist in the Shannon Consortium Award for Excellence in Higher Education Teaching and Learning in 2016.

Course involvement

  • B.Ed Bachelor of Education
  • PME Professional Master of Education
  • MA in Music Education
  • MA in Education and the Arts (META)
  • M.Ed Master of Education
  • Structured PhD (Education)

Research Interests

'Communities of musical practice’; musical lives of children of asylum seekers; teacher/artist partnerships; arts education policy and curriculum; teacher education; music and arts governmental policy; music education practices in formal and informal contexts; social processes in music; creativity and the arts



Christopherson, C. and Kenny, A. (Eds., 2018) Musician-Teacher Collaborations: Altering the Chord Abingdon: Routledge.Access at https://www.routledge.com/Musician-Teacher-Collaborations-Altering-the-Chord/Christophersen-Kenny/p/book/9781138631601

Kenny, A. (2016) Communities of Musical Practice. Abingdon: Routledge. Access at https://www.routledge.com/9781472456755

Articles (Peer reviewed):

Kenny, A. (2018) ‘Come into the Parlour: A Response to ‘Co-constructing global visions for intercultural music teacher education’.The Finnish Journal of Music Education, 21, pp.64-67.

Kenny, A. (2018) ‘Building Student Leadership Through A University-School-Community Children’s Choir’, British Journal of Music Education. 35 (2), pp. 203-216

Kenny, A. (2017) Arts in education within Irish cultural policy: the "ins" and "outs". Cultural Trends. Online First: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09548963.2017.1343003

Kenny, A. (2016) 'Beginning a journey with music education:Voices from pre-service primary teachers'. Music Education Research, 19 (2), p. 111-122. : DOI:10.1080/14613808.2015.1077801.

Kenny, A. (2016) ‘聚在一起做音乐: 音乐的实践共同体中的学习与共享’ (‘Making Music Together: Learning and participation within communities of musical practice’) Chinese Journal of Aesthetic Education, vol. 6 (7), pp. 39-46.

Kenny, A., Finneran, M. and Mitchell, E. (2015) 'Becoming an educator in and through the arts: forming and informing emerging teachers’ professional identity'. Teaching and Teacher Education, vol. 49, pp. 159-167.

Kenny, A. (2014) ‘Practice through partnership: examining the theoretical framework and development of a ‘community of musical practice’’. International Journal of Music Education, vol. 32(4), pp.396-408. Access at hhttp://ijm.sagepub.com/content/32/4

Kenny, A. (2014) 'Collaborative creativity' within a jazz ensemble as a musical and social practice. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 13, pp.1-8. Access at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1871187114000078

Kenny, A., Ní Chróinín, D., Mitchell, E., Vaughan, E. and Murtagh, E. (2014) In their shoes: exploring a modified approach to peer observation of teaching in a University setting. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 51 (2), pp.218-229. Access at http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/xDxIe4Qzenvqve3DGepk/full

Kenny, A. (2013) ‘The next level': investigating teaching and learning within an Irish traditional music online community. Research Studies in Music Education, 35 (2) pp. 234 - 248.  Access at http://rsm.sagepub.com/content/35/2/239

Ní Chróinín , D., Mitchell , E., Kenny , A.,  Murtagh, E. & Vaughan, E. (2013): How can pre-service primary teachers' perspectives contribute to a pedagogy that problematises the ‘practical’ in teacher education?, Irish Educational Studies, vol 32:2, pp.251-267.

Kenny, A. (2011) Mapping the context: insights and issues from local government development of music communities. British Journal of Music Education, Vol.28:2, pp. 213–226. Access at http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8292765&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S0265051711000088

Kenny A. (2010) Too cool for school? Musicians as partners in education. Irish Educational Studies, Vol. 29:2, pp.153 - 166.

Book Chapters

Kenny, A. & Christophersen, C. (2018). ‘Musical Alterations: Possibilities for Musician-Teacher Collaborations’. In Christophersen, C. & Kenny, A. (Eds.) Musician-Teacher Collaborations: Altering the Chord (pp.3-12). Abingdon: Routledge.

Christophersen, C. & Kenny, A. (2018). ‘Alteration, Disruption or Reharmonisation? Pathways for Musician-Teacher Collaborations’. In Christophersen, C. & Kenny, A. (Eds.) Musician-Teacher Collaborations: Altering the Chord (pp.233-244). Abingdon: Routledge

Kenny, A. (2017) ‘”Placing” technology within music education communities’. In Ruthmann, S.A. and Mantie, R. (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Technology and Music Education (Ch. 21), Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kenny, A. (2014) 'Sound connections for institutional practice: cultivating 'collaborative creativity' through group composition'. In Burnard, P. (Ed.), Developing Creativities in Higher Music Education: International perspectives and practices (Chapter 25 pp.469-493), Oxford: Routledge.

Kenny, A. (2013). Between the jigs and the reels (in cyberspace): Investigating an Irish traditional music online community. In M. Waligórska (Ed.), Music, longing and belonging: Articulations of the self and the other in the musical realm (pp. 94–113). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Colley, B., Eidsaa, R,M., Kenny, A. and Leung, B.W (2012) Creativity in Partnership Practices. In McPherson, G. & Welch, G. (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Music Education (vol2, pp.408-426), Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kenny, A. (2012) ‘Scene and heard’: exploring a jazz ensemble as a community of
musical practice. In Coffman, D.D. (Ed.) Proceedings from the International Society for Music Education (ISME) 2012 Seminar of the Commission for Community Music
, pp.7-14. Access at http://issuu.com/official_isme/.

Kenny, A. (2011) Social Questions, Musical Answers: Local Government Music Policy and Practice. In O’Flynn, J. (ed.) Proceedings from the 6th International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education. Dublin: St Patrick’s College.

Research Reports

Kenny, A. (2017) Music at the Margins: Research Briefing. Mary Immaculate College: Limerick.

Kenny, A. and Morrissey, D. (2016). Exploring teacher-artist partnership as a model of CPD for supporting and enhancing arts education in Ireland. Dublin: Government of Ireland. Access at: http://artsineducation.ie/wp-content/uploads/Research-Report.pdf

Kenny, A., Bourke, R. and Ní Chondúin, M. (2016) All Together Now: A Review of the Mary Immaculate College Children’s Choir. Limerick: CDU, Mary Immaculate College.

Kenny, A. (2014) Evaluation Report: Noye’s Fludde. Limerick: commissioned by St Mary’s Cathedral.

Kenny, A. and Moore, G. (2011) Sing out with Strings Evaluation Report, commissioned by the Irish Chamber Orchestra, University of Limerick

Kenny, A. (2009) Knowing the Score: Local Authorities and Music. Dublin: St. Patricks College, Wexford Co. Council, Sligo County Council.

Kenny, A., Larkin C., MacSithigh D. and Thijssen J. (2009) Reforming Irish Education for a Globalised World: A Policy for Chasing Black and White Swans. Dublin: FBD.

Media Publications

Kenny, A. (2018) Other Voices: The power of music for children in direct provision, RTÉ Brainstorm, 9th Jan 2018.

Kenny, A. (2016) Power in Numbers: Ways Forward for Musical Communities, Journal of Music in Ireland, 18th October, 2016.

Kenny, A. (2012), Report on National Music Education Conference, Journal of Music in Ireland, 4th October, 2012.

Kenny, A. (2011) Future direction of education in Ireland, Public Affairs Ireland Journal, April/May 2011 Issue no.76, Dublin.

Kenny, A (2008) Important First Steps: Innovation and Primary Education, Irish Times, 3rd November 2008  

Kenny,A., Larkin,C., MacSíthigh, D. and Thijssen, J. (2008) The Missing Link, Irish Times, 6th October 2008

Kenny, A. (2008) World Music in the Classroom, Intouch Magazine, Irish National Teachers Organisation, Issue October 2008.  


Recent Conference Presentations

Kenny, A. (2018). ‘Getting out of Carnegie Hall: Problematising a Musician-Teacher Collaboration’ Music In Schools and Teacher Education Commission (MISTEC), ISME World Conference, NYU, Prague.

Kenny, A. (2018). ‘Making music as research with children in asylum seeker centres’ Research Symposium on the Social Impact of Music Making. Porto Polytechnic Institute, College of Education, Porto.

Kenny, A. (2018) ‘Musician-Teacher Collaborations: A field of tensions’ Nordic Network for Research in Music Education Conference, Oslo.

Kenny, A. (2017) ‘Voicing the Musical Lives of Children of Asylum Seekers in Ireland’, International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education, Institute for Contempory Music Performance, London.

Kenny, A. (2017) ‘Music at the Margins: Exploring the Musical Lives of Children Living under Direct Provision’, New Frontiers: Arts Participation Amongst Young Refugees & Asylum Seekers, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

Kenny, A. (2017) ‘A second pair of ears’: Insights from a musician-teacher collaboration in Ireland. The 10th International Conference for Research in Music Education. Bath Spa University.

Kenny, A. (2016) ‘Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Role of University-Community Partnerships in University Music Education’. New Directions for Performance and Music Teacher Education A Symposium on University Music Education in China. Xiamen University.

Kenny, A. (2016) 'Power in Numbers: Insights into Communities of Musical Practice', SMI (Society for Musicology in Ireland) Annual Plenary Conference, Dublin City University, 10-12th June.

Finneran, M. & Kenny, A. (2016) ‘Researching Professional Praxis in Arts Education within Times of Programme and Policy Change’, IRMSS, MIC, 27th-29th May.

Kenny, A. & Morrissey, D. (2016) ‘Teacher/Artist Partnership: Locally significant, nationally important’, ESAI Annual Conference, March 31st - April 2nd.

Kenny, A. (2015) ‘Collective Music-Making as a Musical and Social Practice’. International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education (ISSME2015), Loyola University, New Orleans, June 14-17.

Kenny, A. (2015) ‘Communities of Musical Practice: Examining Musical Learning, Collaboration and Participation within Music-Making Communities’. American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Conference, AERA15, Chicago, April 16-20.

Mitchell, E., Kenny, A. and Finneran M. (2015) ‘Arts educators' beginnings: Necessitating academic enagement with the arts in student teacher identity formation’. American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Conference, AERA15, Chicago, April 16-20.

Kenny, A. (2015) ‘It’s the journey that counts: voices from pre-service teachers on beginning music education’, Suncoast Music Education Research Symposium (SMERS X), University of South Florida, Tampa, February 4 -7.

Kenny, A. (2014) ‘The Old in the New: teaching and learning traditional music online’. Researching Music, Technology & Education: critical insights, SEMPRE conference, Institute of Education, University of London.

Kenny, A. (2013) ‘The Lived Reality of Policy: examining the policy-practice interface of music communities’. The Music Education Gathering Conference, St. Patrick’s College, Dublin.

Kenny, A., Dineen, S. & Finneran, M. (2013) ‘Re-imagining Arts Education: teaching and learning perspectives’. The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Bahçeşehir University, Istanbul.

Kenny, A. (2013) ‘Rhetoric and Reality: Examining the policy-practice interface of European and Irish arts policy’. The European Conference on Educational Research (ECER), Bahçeşehir University, Istanbul.

Kenny, A. (2013). Creative collaboration within a jazz ensemble: ‘exhilarating and frightening’?. The 8th International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education, Hedmark University, Norway.

Kenny, A. (2013). ‘More Irish than the Irish themselves’: investigating the ‘place’ of tradition within an Irish traditional music online community. The 8th International Conference for Research in Music Education, University of Exeter.

Kenny, A., Dineen, S. & Finneran, M. (2013). ‘Things do not change; we change’: new directions for the arts within teacher education. Educational Studies of Ireland Annual Conference, Limerick.

Kenny, A. (2012). Fostering communities of musical practice. Voicing national music education conference, Trinity College, Dublin.

Kenny, A. (2012). Scene and heard: exploring a jazz ensemble as a ‘community of musical practice’. ISME Commission for Community Music Activity, Corfu, Greece.

 Kenny, A. and Malambo, S. (2012). Tuning in or tuning out? Investigating teacher attitudes towards teaching music in Zambian basic schools. ZITEP international conference, Lusaka, Zambia.

Kenny, A. (2011). Between the jigs and the reels (in cyberspace) – investigating an Irish traditional music online community. Music and Imagined Communities Conference, European University Institute, Florence. 

Kenny, A, (2011). Sound connections: bridging the third level-community gap through musical partnership. The 7th International Conference for Research in Music Education, University of Exeter

Kenny, A, (2010). ‘It just shows you like, cause we’re not arguing’: building a community of music practice through a university-school partnership. Irish Social Science Platform Annual Conference, University of LimerickKenny, A, (2010). What's it worth? Evaluating music education initiatives. International Society of Music Education World Conference, Beijing, China

Kenny, A, Colley, B., Eidsaa, R,M., Leung, B.W, (2010). International Perspectives on Interdisciplinary Partnerships: Music-Literature Initiates in Ireland, Norway, China, and U.S, International Society of Music Education World Conference, Beijing, China

Kenny, A, (2010). Change the record: the role of musicians in schools. ESAI Annual Conference, Dundalk

Kenny, A., (2009). Evaluating Arts Education Initiatives: complexities and dilemmas. European Conference on Educational Research, University of Vienna. 

Kenny, A., (2009). Mapping the context: local government and music in Ireland.  Research Perspectives in Music: Sharing Practice Seminar, Cambridge University.

Kenny, A., (2009). Social Questions, Musical Answers: Local Government Music Policy and Practice. International Symposium on the Sociology of Music Education, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

Kenny, A.  (2008). Signs and Symbols: making sense of children’s musical representations.   Teachers as Researchers Conference, St Patrick’s College, Dublin 

Kenny, A. (2008). Music for all citizens: local governments role in music in Ireland, International Society of Music Education World Conference, Bologna, Italy


  • Editorial Board member for MayDay journal ‘TOPICS for Music Education Praxis’.
  • Invited international member of research group ‘Culture-Criticism-Community’ at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences
  • Researcher with the Swan Research Group in partnership with Trinity College, Dublin and University of East Anglia, U.K.
  • International Society for Music Education (ISME)
  • Society for Musicology in Ireland (SMI)
  • Society for Music Education in Ireland (SMEI). Founding Committee member (2011-2012).
  • Association of Irish Choirs
  • Management Committee member of ZITEP (Zambia Ireland Teacher Education Partnership) (2009-2012)

Completed Research Students

Cramer, J. (MA, 2016). Musical Identities, Relationships and Roles in the One to One music lesson.

Crosse-Ryan, A. (MA, 2016) From Both Sides Now: A Bifocal Examination into the Provision and Delivery of Music Education in Irish Primary Schools: National and Local Perspectives.

Curran, L. (MEd, 2013) The impact of Utilising Integrated Drama and Music Methodologies into comprehension and writing lessons.

Dervan, A. (MA, 2014) How to develop and explore rhythm in a diverse Infant Classroom.

Fitzmaurice, M. (MA, 2014) Approaching Music Literacy: An exploration of the contribution whole-class tin whistle lessons can make to children’s music literacy development in the primary school classroom.

McLoughlin, U. (MA. 2012) Towards a Creative Classroom: An investigation into teachers' practice of the composing strand in the Irish primary school.

Moloney, C. (MA, 2012) The Significance of having a background in Music for a teacher in the Irish Primary School System with particular reference to the Strand Composing.

Ryan, A. (MA, 2013) Lyrical Learning: An action research study investigating the value of integrating song-singing into the Irish language classroom.

Shaughnessy, N. (MA, 2012) Sing it in Solfa: The contribution of solfa singing on primary school children’s music literacy development.

Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Tel:+35361 204300  V94VN26

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