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Rebecca Berkley

Dr Rebecca Berkley

Institute of Education

  • Associate Professor in Music Education, SFHEA
  • Programme Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes
  • BA in Primary Education (QTS) with Music Specialism Subject Convenor
  • Music Education Pathway convenor, MA in Education


  • Rebecca is a member of the University Senate
  • Artistic Director Universal Voices, a community choir for children aged 7-12 at the University of Reading. Email Universal Voices.

Areas of interest

  • Rebecca’s work focuses on the importance of musical literacy in creative classroom practice and musical cognition and the development of musical knowledge in music teachers and students. She focuses on reflection on professional practice and leadership training for musicians working in education, with a particular emphasis on developing confidence as a leader in the classroom.
  • Rebecca is an experienced choral director with a wide ranging professional practice including conducing children’s, youth and adult choirs, music theatre and operatic repertoire. She has research interests in choral conducting, choral education and conducting training, and extensive experience working as a mentor to colleagues at all levels of their professional development.
  • Rebecca teaches musicianship from Foundation to Advanced levels, both in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at the University of Reading and as a consultant. She is in particular demand teaching musicianship to community choirs. Her work focuses on the significance of developing fluent musical literacies in all individuals to support inclusive practice in formal and informal music education. She is the director of the Sing for Pleasure BROKEN LINK Musicianship for Singers programme
  • Rebecca leads on developing Academic Literacies for postgraduate students, focusing on practical tools and resources for PGCE and Masters students to use to enhance their study skills, their critical reflection and research skills.

Postgraduate supervision


    • Amy Nokes Evaluating the impact of a skills-based intervention on the readiness of general class teachers in a special school to use and teach music (with Professor Cathy Tissot)
    • (Name redacted) The impact of performance accountability and marketization on secondary school leaders in the independent sector (co-supervisor with Professor Karen Jones)


    • Georgina Kilner Understanding and supporting the landscape of social connectedness in undergraduates in a UK business school, completed 2018 (co-supervisor with Professor Helen Bilton). 


    • Rebecca is the Artistic Director of Universal Voices, a free children’s community choir at the Institute of Education. Unique among schools of Education at UK HEIs, Universal Voices offers excellent choral and musicianship education to all children in the Reading area; along with teacher training in choral education to teachers.
    • Rebecca leads a team of students on the BA in Primary Education (Music Specialism) to deliver the Institute of Education Partnership Festival annually as part of the Universal Voices programme. The 2021 Partnership Festival, Colours of my life, is a digital exhibition of creative work in Art and Music with primary children.
    • Previous Institute of Education Partnership Festivals:

    Professional bodies/affiliations

    Rebecca is a Senior Fellow of Advance HE, and a FLAIR CPD mentor and assessor at the University of Reading

    Selected publications

    Recent and Forthcoming Conference Presentations:

    • May 2020 Keynote speech: Classroom Musicianship: Facilitating Leadership Skills in Trainee Music Teachers, Institute of Musical Research Study Day
    • March 2020 Lifelong career development for music teachers, from ITT to doctoral study, Music Education Expo
    • May 2019 The Virtuoso Music Teacher; and Musical Learning through Play: KS1 classroom pedagogy, Music Teachers Association Conference
    • July 2018 Universal Voices: Creating a Children’s Choir with Undergraduates, Advance HE conference
    • 2021: Berkley, R (due 2021) ‘Music Everywhere, Everyday’ in Teaching the Arts in the Primary Curriculum, ed. Susan Ogier and Suzy Tutchell. Sage, London.
    • 2017:Berkley, R. (2017). Shosholoza, 10 arrangements of Traditional South African Songs. Sing for Pleasure, Bolton.

    Previous Institute of Education Partnership Festivals:

    • 2017 Songs and Stories
    • 2018 Benjamin Britten: Noye’s Fludde
    • 2019 Animal Crackers, with the University of Reading Big Band
    • 2020 Under the Sea, with the University of Reading Big Band

    Rebecca is developing digital and text resources to support Musicianship training in choral singers and for choral educators to integrate into their rehearsals and programmes.