The Prime Minister tells us we are to be an ideas country. Instead of just ripping things out of the ground and sending them to China, or stuffing sheep on ships to Indonesia, we are going to sell ideas, ideas that come from education and research. They have made a series of ads with various sciencey-types peering into test tubes and high-tech machinery. What about music though? Surely PhD students in Australia are doing some pointy-end music research that could help the budget deficit? I decided to look through the National Library’s Trovesystem, which catalogues theses lodged around the country. And what a trove I found!

Exploring the self-concept and identity of Sydney Conservatorium students with and without absolute pitchwas the first I saw. Next I came upon this interesting research – Effects of premenstrual symptoms on young female singers. Fair enough – a period can lower your available range by a semitone. Then there were some with a more social and cultural bent – A multi-case study of the ways music learning is used to meet the social, emotional and cultural challenges experienced by refugees and asylum seekers in Sydney, as well as A study of music...

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