Steve Cooney

Artist in Residence (Music Education) PhD Candidate, Intuitive Use of Geometric Visualisation Tools in Early Learning of Music


Stephen Cooney completed a Master of Literature in Education degree at UCD in Dublin, passing the viva in May 2011. He graduated with a Masters from UCD in December. His thesis, ‘Musical Notation and Theory in Early Learning: A Case for Intuitive Holistic Inter-Cultural Models’, argues that cognition of staff notation is low among many pupils as they leave primary school, and they remain unable to read or write music fluently even though they possess musical skills and intuitively comprehend melodic and rhythmic complexity. It is important then, he argues, that research be undertaken into new models of notation that are intuitive, holistic and without cultural bias. Stephen moved to Ireland from Australia in 1980. He is best known for his development of a widely copied style of guitar accompaniment to traditional Irish music, for which he won the National Entertainment Award in 1997. His recorded work of over 100 CDs includes educational titles of Gaelic rhymes and stories in collaboration with the School of Folklore at UCD. He was the recipient of the 2007 Creative Arts Award at the Fiddler’s Green Festival, Rostrevor, where Seamus Heaney wrote: ‘Master Cooney restores the ancient link between lyre and lyric, between poetry and performance, the rhapsody and rascality.’ Since completing his MLitt research, Stephen has graduated onto the SMARTlab PhD programme, researching ‘Intuitive Use of Geometric Visualisation Tools in Early Learning of Music’. He is a visiting lecturer in traditional music at a number of Irish tertiary institutions and has become Artist in Residence (Music Education) within CATALYST at SMARTlab at UCD.
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