Dr Patrick Olsen

Lecturer in Popular Music @ LASALLE College of the Arts, University of the Arts Singapore.


  • PhD Education University of Cambridge
  • MA Music Performance Irish World Academy of Music & Dance, Univ of Limerick.
  • BSc PsychologyOpen University
  • BM Contemporary Writing & Production + EducationBerklee College of Music

Lecturing Qualifications

  • AFHEA Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK
  • Cambridge TAP Certification (Teaching Associate Programme) advanced training for teaching graduate & undergraduate students, University of Cambridge.

Academic Areas of Interest

  • Pedagogical practices in conjunction with curriculum & assessment theory.
  • Composition and arranging studies
  • Music improvisation.
  • Socio-cultural & discourse framed research.
  • Traditional Irish & Celtic Music styles.
  • The music & life of Duke Ellington.

Service Roles

  • Curriculum designer and lead teacher of the Pop and Jazz Music Camp collaboration between LASALLE and the Singapore Ministry of Education (EMP-MEP).
  • Artistic Director of the LASALLE Rock & Indie Festival (RIF).

Research Publications

Below are my publications including journal articles, conference papers.

If there is a hyperlink, you are free to read and download it.


  • Association of Popular Music Education (APME) Annual Conference 05/2023, New Orleans, USA. Paper presentation titled: “Building a New Aural Skills Curriculum: Relevancies and changes within an emerging music college”. Click to watch video


  • Olsen, P. (08/2022) Aural Skills for Popular Music Workbooks, Volumes 1, 2 & 3. LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore.


  • Editor of Blue Light Quarterly Journal. Volume 28, Issues 1 & 2. Duke Ellington Society, UK.
  • Olsen, P. (03/2021) lecture at the invitation of the Music Education Faculty at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on the topic of The Complicated Relationships Between Assessment and Improvisation.


  • Documenting Jazz Conference 01/2020 University of Birmingham, UK. Paper Presentation and Panel titled: “Relevance, Responsibilities and Potentials of a Jazz Music Society”.
  • Homerton College Research Series 02/2020, Cambridge, UK. “Improvisation Cultures within Formal UK Music Lessons” (paper). 
  • Editor of Blue Light Quarterly Journal. Volume 27, Issues 1-3. Duke Ellington Society, UK.


  • Olsen, P. G. (2019). Assessing Improvisation in Graded Music Examinations: Conflicting Practices and Perceptions (Doctoral dissertation, University of Cambridge). Click to read
  • UK Education Trade Mission to Qatar, 2/2019 Doha, Qatar. Delivered talks and workshops on “Arts Leadership & Management Training”.
  • Cambridge Sustainable Tourism Conference, 04/2019, Cambridge, UK. Senior Project Manager of the conference (110+ attendees). I also delivered a paper titled “Experiencing Cities as a Part-Time Local, Rather than as a Tourist”.


  • British Education Research Association (BERA) Annual Conference 09/2018 Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK. Paper presentation titled “Assessing Improvisation in the Curricula of Formal Graded Music Examinations”.
  • 25th Annual Duke Ellington Study Group Conference “In the Beginning, Duke” 05/2018 Birmingham Conservatoire, UK. Paper presentation titled “Recognising Specific Challenges in UK Pedagogical Culture for Performing Duke Ellington’s Big Band Repertoire”.
  • British Forum for Ethnomusicology & Royal Music Association Conference “Music Inside and Out” 01/2018. University of Huddersfield, UK. Paper presentation titled “Assessing ‘improvisation’ inside and out of formal graded music examinations”. (Chair of the ‘Legacies & Resistance’ panel).


  • Kaleidoscope Conference 06/2017. The Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Performance and paper presentation titled “Tracing Jazz in British Secondary Music Curricula”.
  • European Jazz Network Annual Conference 09/2017. Ljubljana, Slovenia. Jazz Research Forum Participant.


  • Colloquium at the Centre for Music Science & Faculty of Education, Cambridge. Paper presentation titled “Looking for Love & Lift: a phenomenological investigation of performers in a touring Irish dance show”. 
  • Arts Kaleidoscope, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge 05/16. Paper presentation titled “Using Spectrography to Investigate Relationships between Regional Accents & Tone Production”.  


  • “Alice through the Ages: The 150th Anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” 09/2015. Homerton College and The Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Musical performance and presentation titled “Songs about Alice: Unearthing 150 Years of Whimsy”.

Lecturing Experience

University of Cambridge

  • For the Faculty of Education, I supervised undergraduates in the Critical Debates in Education module.
  • For the Faculty of Music, I supervised undergraduates in Clare College and Homerton College in the subjects of Music Analysis (18th & 19th centuries), and Orchestration for Jazz Ensemble
  • I established and developed a college jazz music programme. Highlights are the founding of the Homerton Jazz Orchestra and the creation of student-managed weekly performance events.

Irish World Academy of Music & Dance

  • I developed and taught curriculum for a module on Improvisation, and tutored undergraduates in Flute Performance.

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Instrumental Teaching & Young Learners

From 2004-2014, I taught weekly instrumental music classes in Ireland (woodwinds and guitar). Most of my teaching practice was based in schools focusing on instrumental music tuition including The Croagh School of Music (Limerick), The Irish Harp Centre (Limerick) and The Academy of Music (Tullamore). Qualifications included:

  • Graded music examinations: I prepared hundreds of students for instrumental and theory exams (TCL, ABRSM, LCM) in many genres (classicalrock, jazz & folk) on guitar and woodwinds (flute, clarinet, saxophone &Irish tin whistle).
  • National exams: I prepared hundreds of students for Irish Leaving & Junior Certificates (i.e. equivalent to the UK A-level & GCSE music).

Young Learners

  • History Works
    I collaborated and wrote research-informed music for with History Works, an innovative media production company in Cambridge, with the goal of teaching music to children about their local history through fun songs (read the blog post).
  • Irish Chamber Orchestra’s Sing Out with Strings 
    In my two years with The Irish Chamber Orchestra, I helped initiate Sing Out With Strings, a programme that provided music-making experiences to primary schools in disadvantaged areas with regular interaction from members of the Irish Chamber Orchestra.
  • Primary Music
    I was supported by funding from the Limerick County Council to bring separate rural schools together to build mutually-beneficial combined music programmes. 

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Awards and Commissions

Awards from the University of Cambridge

  • The Barton Prize: A prestigious annual award for being ‘the graduate student who has made the most outstanding contribution to Homerton College life over the past year’. This prize was earned for establishing and directing Homerton Jazz and the College’s regular live music events and musically-themed evenings (2016).
  • The Jean Rudduck Memorial Bursary: Awarded at the end of my first year at the University of Cambridge in recognition of outstanding quality and potential of my PhD research (2017).
  • Homerton College Student Representation Award: This was given for distinguished representation of Homerton College beyond the University of Cambridge. This award is usually given to elite athletes so my receiving it for music was a very rare distinction (2016).

Music Commissions

  • Song commissions from History Works for ‘Creating My Cambridge’ education projects (2016-2018).
  • ‘Two Images of Roderic O’Connor’ chamber work commissioned by Limerick Arts Council, Ireland (2013-2014).
  • Artist in Residence with CoMA Limerick at The Hunt Museum, Ireland. Compositions included Lebkuchen, Marienplatz (2011-2013).
  • Artist in Residence at The Belltable Theatre, Limerick. Compositions included Voyage for Clarinet (2009-2011).

Arts & Events Management

In Cambridge, I worked for two years as a project manager for Cambridge | China Centre, a non-profit that connected business investment and emerging technologies in Cambridge and China. At the same time, I organised programmes that enabled students studying in Chinese universities to attend summer and winter learning programmes at the University of Cambridge. My wonderful experiences with students from Chinese backgrounds were a major reason that I later took a lecturing position at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore. Some highlights from this time include:

  • Cambridge China Forum, 10/2019 Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, UK. Senior Project Manager of the two-day Forum (180+ attendees).
  • Cambridge Sustainable Tourism Conference, 04/2019 University Arms, Cambridge, UK. Senior Project Manager of the conference (110+ attendees). I also delivered a paper titled “Experiencing Cities as a Part-Time Local, Rather than as a Tourist”.
  • Music Science and Education Research Exchange. 05/2016. A seminar series that I initiated and organised which brought together music researchers from Cambridge’s Faculty of Music and the Faculty of Education.