Project Management and Music in Education and Related Fields


By Raji Sivaraman

ASBA LLC, Singapore / USA


Chris Wilson

University of Derby, UK


Project Management (PM) is a well-established field of research with the scope of inquiry now ranging far beyond the industrial and corporate sectors from which it first emerged. Starting from the premise that PM expertise is a valuable professional attribute and life skill of relevance to many if not all educational disciplines, questions emerge both as to how relevant techniques can be most effectively applied in educational contexts, and how insights might potentially be drawn from the study of different disciplines to enrich the PM profession.

This paper focuses initially on higher education (specifically university level study) within the United Kingdom (UK) and other countries, and provides a contextual analysis of the discourse and practice of PM in undergraduate degree subjects. Discussion then narrows in on the discipline of music, as a specific context for consideration of PM through the educational and professional continuum. Identifying a relative absence of explicit PM theory or terminology in the vast majority of degree subjects at least in the UK, there is, nevertheless, an underlying presence of project-based activity at least implicit in all university education and music, in particular, presents a distinctive example of a creative, cultural, educational, where PM is an integral component and experience of subject and discipline. This paper concludes by identifying significant value in the development of a more explicit approach to PM in educational contexts and considerable scope for the development of professional relationships between PM organizations and the higher education sector in particular.

Keywords: Project management; Education; Music.

  1. Introduction

Higher education has arguably never been subject to higher levels of scrutiny and accountability. As universities grapple with fundamental changes in funding structures and an increasingly market-driven and internationalised recruitment environment, there is an increasing focus on performance indicators, ratings, rankings, and attempts to determine quality of impact both socially and economically. Consequently, as highlighted by Page (2014) in discussion with a series of graduate recruiters, there is an active discourse surrounding the knowledge, skills and professional attributes required by graduates to develop successful professional careers, and an increasing focus in universities for how best to sponsor and promote the development of these attributes both through core disciplines and through wider extra-curricular activity. Given that a premium is attached to the employment success of graduates in the age of metrics and data analysis, all higher education institutions now have a vested interest in the careers of graduates as never before and are judged according to standardised measures of work-readiness and employment success in many higher education environments and most notably in the UK.

Whilst there is opposition in education to the notion that education is primarily about developing economic productivity at the expense of wider social good, universities nevertheless want graduates to achieve positively in the professional environment, and the professional environment wants graduates capable of doing so.

At least superficially, higher education provides the perfect research-led environment for the development of work-readiness and the knowledge and skills necessary for delivering an immediate and positive impact in relevant professional environments. University study invariably involves developmental focus on self-management skills, higher level thinking, research and practical knowledge, and, perhaps most significantly, an underpinning if only implicit focus on PM through curriculum, timetable, study and assessment regimes. Simply speaking, all students in university study working towards defined qualifications, invariably engage in a series of clearly defined, time- constrained projects leading to the award of credit and consequently experience considerable opportunity to develop PM expertise alongside subject expertise. Nevertheless, as highlighted by numerous surveys of employers including research by YouGov for the Times and Times on Sunday Good University Guide (Paton, 2013), graduate recruiters can often be critical of the level to which university graduates are prepared for the demands of the professional environment with less than one in five of 635 employers describing graduate recruits as ‘work ready’.


To read entire paper (click here)



About the Authors


pmwj38-Sep2015-Sivaraman-PHOTO1Raji Sivaraman

Singapore / USA


Raji Sivaraman
, M.S. PMP is a certified Project Management Professional with 20 years of project management experience.  She is a citizen of Singapore and is the Principal of ASBA LLC helping companies in the USA and Singapore in their strategic planning and overseas startups and setups. She speaks several languages and has worked in many countries including Singapore, Thailand, India, and USA. She helps fortune 500 companies in their Corporate and Social Responsibility projects. She has taken several advisory assignments for nonprofit organizations. She is a frequent facilitator, speaker and panelist at global conferences. She is an active member of the Project Management Institute from year 2000. Currently, she is a member of the Chapter Member Advisory Group of PMI Global. As a Consultant, she has worked in many industries such as IT, publishing, billing solutions, financial services, education, and logistics. She is also a visiting specialist and an Adjunct Professor at the Montclair State University, NJ, USA teaching Project Management to MBA and PhD students. She has exhaustive knowledge of music and is a trained Indian classical musician. Ms. Sivaraman can be contacted at [email protected]


pmwj38-Sep2015-Sivaraman-PHOTO2 WILSONChris Wilson

United Kingdom



Chris Wilson
is a musician and academic with 20 years’ experience in higher education working with eight universities in the UK during his career as a Lecturer in Music, Senior Lecturer in Music, Programme Leader, Teaching Fellow, Senior Teaching Fellow, Curriculum Development Manager, External Examiner and Consultant. Currently holding the position of Senior Lead in Learning Enhancement at the University of Derby in the UK, he is also a Senior Lecturer in Performance in the College of Arts and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. A classically trained musician and practitioner in the technological arts, Chris is an active member of the American Creativity Association, and formerly Principal Researcher for the Creative Technologies Research Group (CTRG) and Associate of the Digital and Material Arts Research Centre (DMARC) in the UK. Chris teaches and researches across a number of subjects and has delivered workshops and presentations to teachers, academics, career development professionals, engineers, architects, film-makers, musicians, and conference delegates in the UK and Europe, Asia, and North America, on creativity, artistry, technology, project management and education. Chris has experience managing complex institution-wide educational projects and initiatives and the organisation and delivery of staff development activities for large organisations. He brings a musical and creative perspective to every aspect of his work.