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Dr Jennie Henley

Jennie Henley is Area Leader for Music Education at the Royal College of Music, London. Her role involves developing music education provision for undergraduate and postgraduate students, and steering music education research.  

Her research interests cross over music education and community music, with a focus on the ways that teachers and facilitators work inclusively in different contexts. Her first research strand focuses on music in prisons. She has conducted a sequence of studies looking at the social and emotional development of incarcerated people who participate in specific music programmes. These studies explore the musical learning processes that lead to reported positive social and emotional development, and most recently the pedagogy that underpins a music programme that engages diverse people in social music making.

Her second research strand is centred on the musical starting points of primary generalist student teachers who are beginning to teach classroom music. As well as contributing to understandings of the ways that younger adults engage in music making, this research aims to provide insight into the ways that generalist teachers can draw on their musicianship in the classroom to model music making at an everyday level.  

She has worked on a number of funded research and evaluation projects including a large DCSF Music Partnership Project, a national KS2 CPD programme, a Cormenius funded European Music Portfolio project, and a DfE funded Primary Music ITE project. Recently her research has led to a Good Vibrations Youth Music funded series of CPD workshops on Effective Facilitation, she has been awarded an AHRC Research Network grant to interrogate the notions of excellence and inclusion in music programmes that seek to achieve social as well as musical outcomes, and she continues to provide consultancy for curriculum design and development at a national and international level. 

Selected publications

Journal articles and book chapters

Henley, J. (in press) Music, Emotion, and Learning. In P. Gouk J., Kennaway, J. Prins, and W. Thomählen (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Music, Mind and Wellbeing: Historical and Scientific Perspectives. Routledge.

Henley, J. (2017) Young Offenders. In A. King and E. Himonides (eds.) The Routledge Companion Music, Technology and Education. Farnham; Routledge.

Henley, J. (2016) How musical are generalist primary student teachers? Music Education Research. 0(0), 1-15.

Henley, J. (2016) The Musical Lives of the Self-Confessed Non-Musician. In R. Mantie and G. Dylan-Smith (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Music Making and Leisure. New York; Oxford University Press.

Henley, J. (2015). Music: Naturally Inclusive, Potentially Exclusive? In J. M. Deppeler, T. Loreman, R. A. L. Smith, & L. Florian (Eds.), Inclusive Pedagogy Across the Curriculum. Bingley; Emerald Publishing Group Limited, 161-186.

Henley, J. (2015) Prisons and Primary Schools: using CHAT to analyse the relationship between developing identity, developing musicianship and transformative processes. British Journal of Music Education. 32(2), 123-141.

 Henley, J. (2014) Musical learning and desistance from crime: the case of a “Good Vibrations” Javanese gamelan project with young offenders. Music Education Research. 17(1), 103-120.

 Henley, J. (2010) ‘Learning Gamelan: A teacher’s experience. NAME Magazine, Summer 2010, No. 30, Matlock, National Association of Music Educators. pp.7-10.

Henley, J. (2008) Learn As You Play; Gloucestershire’s ensembles from scratch. NAME Magazine, Autumn 2008, Matlock, National Association of Music Educators. pp.31-5.

Henley, J., Caulfied, L., Wilson, D. and Wilkinson, D. (2012) Good Vibrations: Positive change through social music-making. Music Education Research, 14(4), 499-520.

Henley, J., Cohen, M. L., & Mota, G. (2013) Musical development and positive identity change within criminal justice settings in Rethinking Education: Empowering individuals with the appropriate educational tools, skills and competencies, for their active cultural, political and economic participation in society in Europe and beyond. Brussels; ACP, 120-149. 

Cohen, M. and Henley, J. (2017) Music-Making Behind Bars: The Many Dimensions of Community Music in Prisons. Bartlet, B, and Higgins, L. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Community Music. New York; Oxford University Press. 154-172.

Gooderson, M. & Henley, J. (2017) Professional Song-Writing: Creativity, collaboration, and tensions between higher education song-writing and industry practice. In G. Dylan-Smith, M. Brennan,  P. Kirkman, Z. Moir and S. Rambarran (eds.) Routledge Research Companion to Popular Music Education. Farnham; Routledge.

Viladot, L., Hilton, C., Casals, A., Saunders, J., Carrillo, C., Henley, J., … Welch, G. (2017). The integration of music and mathematics education in Catalonia and England: perspectives on theory and practice. Music Education Research, 0(0), 1–12.

Welch, G. F., & Henley, J. (2014). Addressing the challenges of teaching music by generalist primary school teachers. Revista da ABEM. 22(32).

 Teaching Resources

Henley, J. (2016) Chira Chacho Project for Secondary Schools, Sing Up Website, January 2016.

Henley, J. and Hilton, C. (2015) Sound Symmetry, activity plan, Sing Up Magazine, Autumn 2015. Henley, J. and Hilton, C. (2015) EYFS: The Amazing Alice the Camel, activity plan, Sing Up Magazine, Spring 2015 (STEM Special)

Henley, J. and Hilton, C. (2015) KS1: Surround Sound, activity plan, Sing Up Magazine, Spring 2015 (STEM Special)

Henley, J. and Hilton, C. (2015) KS2: Chocoholics, activity plan, Sing Up Magazine, Spring 2015 (STEM Special)

Henley, J. (2015) Alice and her amazing mathematical humps, article, Sing Up Magazine, Spring 2015 (STEM Special)

Henley, J. and Wakeling, K. (2015) High Score!, article, Sing Up Magazine, Spring 2015 (STEM Special)



Faculties / departments: Research


Research areas


Music Education


Research projects



Research students

Khalid Al Jabri

David Barton

Wei-Lin Huang


Latest Publications

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For enquires please contact:

Dr Jennie Henley

Area Leader in Music Education