Dr Graham McPhail

EdD, MEd, MMus, MusB(Hons), DipT, AIRMT


Graham McPhail is Senior Lecturer in Music Education in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the Faculty of Education. He taught secondary school music for 21 years and for three years was the national moderator for NCEA music working for NZQA. His research interests include the place of knowledge in curriculum development, 21st century education, and pedagogy in one-to-one music tuition.  Graham is a past President of the New Zealand Suzuki Institute (NZSI), a member of the baroque ensemble Extempore, and artistic co-director of New Zealand’s original instrument orchestra NZ Barok. He also teaches baroque violin in the School of Music  and is one of New Zealand’s leading figures in the critical approach to performance of 17th and 18th century European art music.

Research | Current

An international Delphi study - One Direction: Curriculum Futures for Secondary School Music Education

The Knowledge Rich School Project (a KERU research project)


Teaching | Current

  • EDCURSEC 691 & 692 (Music Education)
  • EDPROF 702 The Twentieth Century Classroom/Centre 
  • MUS 223, 323 (An Introduction to Instrumental Pedagogy)

Postgraduate supervision

Current supervisions:

Robin Lane (Doctoral) - An ecology for teaching and learning: Integrating mind, brain and education science into teachers’ pedagogies  

Deborah Lomax (Doctoral) - Muslim Students in the New Zealand Education System

Cris Lynch (Doctoral) - A history of science education in New Zealand: Influences and Consequences

Edward Pinel (Doctoral) – Primary Teacher’s Experience with Future Focused Learning

Xiaoming Tian (Doctoral) - China's 'socialist market economy' and its curriculum policies and practices

Julie Skelling (Doctoral) - Tensions in Special Education Policy and Provision in New Zealand? Day Special School Perspectives

Pauline Cooper-Ioelu (Doctoral) - The Academic Nurse: The discipline and the development of academic nurse identities

Angelina Wang (Masters) - Student autonomy and teacher intervention in a Musical Futures context


Completed supervisions:


Alexis Siteine (co-supervisor) - Identity, Knowledge and Curriculum: A Sociological Study of Ethnicity in New Zealand Education.

Bobby Hung (Doctoral) - Hitting the street : The legitimation of street art in visual arts education in New Zealand

Sheraz Akhtar (Doctoral) - Urban Refugees and Education in the Contemporary World: A Case Study of Pakistani Christian Refugees in Bangkok, Thailand

Temi Adelekan (Doctoral) - Knowledge and the Creative Tension in the New Zealand University


Sokuntharath Sou (Masters) - Investigating Curriculum Design in the Bachelor of Education in Teaching English at Three Cambodian Universities.

Julie Skelling - Tracking the Transformation of Symbolic Discourse: Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and non-Māori teachers’ selection of Māori cultural content.

Villiami Telefoni  - Musical instrument instruction for NCEA music via YouTube

Shannon Coulomb - Conceptual progression in the teaching of composition

Steve McDonald  - Youth Smoking - why do they do it?

Stephanie Lees - Creativity in the secondary music classroom.

Adam Driver - Whānau leadership: The reciprocities of right relationship at Kia Aroha College.

Neil Morrow - Subject-specific mathematical vocabulary in mathematics lessons

Mary Kerrigan  Pasifika Transitions: A case study of a secondary school mentoring programme.          



  • Faculty of Education nominee for the Vice Chancellor’s award for Best Doctoral Thesis 2012
  • 2012 NZARE Sutton-Smith Award
  • 2012 Dean’s List for excellence in doctoral thesis
  • 2010 Marion Rayward Memorial Scholarship for a New Zealand music education doctoral candidate


Secondary school Music Education

Areas of expertise

School Music Education

Music studio pedagogy

Sociology of knowledge

21st century education

Committees/Professional groups/Services

The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee (UAHPEC)

KERU (CRSTIE Research Unit)

ANZARME (Australian New Zealand Association for Research in Music Education)

Cambridge Symposium of Knowledge in Education


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 117
New Zealand

Web links