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Dr Lilian Simones

Lilian Simones Photo November 2021

Profile summary

Professional biography

Lilian is a music educator and researcher with multifaceted work experiences within and beyond music. She has accumulated many years of professional experiences as a pianist, teacher, researcher development consultant and company founder and director of Enact Music and Future Ready Career (soon to be launched). As a result, she has attained intimate knowledge of the musical learning process, and the skills musicians and music teachers require in their portfolios to succeed in today’s world. 

Her research focuses on the intersection of education, psychology, and communication studies for understanding how teachers can improve their teaching. Her publications in prestigious academic journals revolve around the themes of rethinking instrumental and vocal music pedagogy for the twenty-first century and the role of gesture in music teaching and learning. She has a doctorate and master’s in music psychology in education from Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and Sheffield University and a BA in musicology and Piano from the University of Aveiro (Portugal).

As a Researcher Development Consultant at the Graduate School QUB (September 2017 – November 2021), she supported PhD students from all disciplines developing academic and employability related skills. In this role, she was awarded a Queen’s University Teaching award in 2020 in recognition of her approach to creating interdisciplinary professional development opportunities for diverse adult learners. This included the design and delivery of blended and online courses focused on online HE teaching and courses aimed at developing academic and employability skills through diversified optional professional development training, which resulted in increased student access, engagement and retention.

Lilian is Enact Music’s Course Director for the Certificate for Music Educators (CME), level 4 accredited by Trinity College London and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academic and completed a PG cert in HE Teaching at Queen’s University. As Staff Tutor, Lilian oversees tuition and supports students and Associate Lecturers on music modules A232 and A234. Currently, she works part-time and her core working days at the OU are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Research interests

At the heart of Lilian's research is a vision of a world where music teachers (regardless of context) base their teaching on established teaching competencies, relevant research findings and use technology to promote and develop transformative learning through technology-enabled innovation. 

Her studies on teachers' gestural and verbal communication provide insights for reflective practice and optimisation of teachers' and learners' experiences and effectiveness (funded by the Department for Education and Learning, Northern Ireland).  The framework she developed for the study of gesture in vocal and instrumental music education (widely disseminated in peer-reviewed journals and conferences) has been used by other researchers nationally and internationally to expand gesture studies in music education. This framework also provides a platform for gestural considerations in other disciplines and future expansions on how technology can support teachers and learners.

Lilian's recently published book entitled Certificate for Music Educators: Teaching Children and Young People (2021) (Routledge) is the first book to support learners in the Certificate for Music Educators course (accredited by ABRSM and Trinity College London, validated by Ofqual). This book aims to positively impact standards for professionalisation in the music teaching profession and promote a deeper approach to reflective teaching and learning, specifically for musicians and music teachers. 

Lilian was also awarded funding by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) as Principal Investigator for the first research collaboration established between the music departments of QUB and Ulster University. This project focused on attitudes towards music performance modules (of students, teaching staff and part-time tutors). 

For details of Lilian's publications, please see the Publications page.

Lilian is keen to hear from potential PhD students in any area of music education and music psychology.

Teaching interests

Lilian has a wide range of teaching experiences in university contexts within her subject areas (music psychology in education) and broader interdisciplinary teaching at QUB. She has taught piano and ensemble at the undergraduate level and modules ‘Listening and Repertory’ and ‘Psychoacoustics’.  She has led the development and delivery of postgraduate training for PhD students across disciplines at Queen's University Belfast, creating, designing and delivering several new programmes and workshops for researchers. These new programmes included The Future Ready Programme; Tell your Research Story Series, Introduction to Teaching for Postgraduate Researchers; and others. In this role. She has also mentored researchers applying for HEA membership. She was awarded a Queen’s University Teaching award in 2020 in recognition of her innovative approach to PhD professional development provision.

As Director and founder of Enact Music, she obtained accreditation from Trinity College London and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music to deliver the Certificate for Music Educators (CME) Level 4 and is the CME Course Director at Enact Music ( She has designed learning resources for students as part of this course, including a dedicated online learning platform to support and complement students’ learning and published a guidebook to support learners in the course, entitled Certificate for Music Educators Guidebook: Teaching Children and Young People (2021) (Routledge). She also mentors some of the students in the course.

Impact and engagement

Through her research and her work as course Director, Mentor, Teacher and author for the Certificate for Music Educators course, Level 4, Lilian has continuously advocated and contributed to the professionalisation of music teachers in a variety of music teaching contexts within the UK and internationally.

Working in partnership with PhD students at QUB, Lilian led the creation of the journal International Modern Perspectives on Academia and Community Today (IMPACT) and served as co-editor-in-chief from October 2019 until November 2021. This initiative provided meaningful and authentic learning experiences to prepare doctoral students for life after the PhD by involving PGR students with practical learning experiences in the academic publication process and developing interdisciplinary working skills useful for other professional environments. The journal focuses on community engagement and outreach, with editorial and advisory boards comprising renowned experts from various disciplines relevant to public engagement research.

Lilian is a regular presenter at conferences and a reviewer for various music psychology and music education academic journals.


[Editorial] Introducing the IMPACT Journal and its First Issue (2021)
Kyratsou, Chrysi; McNulty Burrows, Cathrinea; Nguyen, Hoa; Barry, Heather E. and Simones, Lilian
International Modern Perspectives in Academia and Community Today(1)

Understanding the Meaningfulness of Vocal and Instrumental Music Teachers' Hand Gestures Through the Teacher Behavior and Gesture Framework (2019-12-03)
Simones, Lilian
Frontiers in Education, 4, Article 141

A framework for studying teachers’ hand gestures in instrumental and vocal music contexts (2019)
Simones, Lilian Lima
Musicae Scientiae, 23(2) (pp. 231-249)

Seeing How It Sounds: Observation, Imitation, and Improved Learning in Piano Playing (2017)
Simones, Lilian; Rodger, Matthew and Schroeder, Franziska
Cognition and Instruction, 35(2) (pp. 125-140)

Beyond expectations in music performance modules in higher education: rethinking instrumental and vocal music pedagogy for the twenty-first century (2015)
Simones, Lilian Lima
Music Education Research, 19(3) (pp. 252-262)

Communicating musical knowledge through gesture: Piano teachers’ gestural behaviours across different levels of student proficiency (2015)
Simones, Lilian Lima; Rodger, Matthew and Schroeder, Franziska
Psychology of Music, 43(5) (pp. 723-735)

Categorizations of physical gesture in piano teaching: A preliminary enquiry (2015)
Simones, Lilian; Schroeder, Franziska and Rodger, Matthew
Psychology of Music, 43(1) (pp. 103-121)

Certificate for Music Educators Guidebook: Teaching Children and Young People (2021-07-09)
Simones, Lilian
ISBN : 9780367336110 | Publisher : Routledge