In 2005 Karen moved to Scotland, where she completed an MSc by Research (2006) and PhD (2010) investigating the effects of using songs and singing to support foreign language learning at the University of Edinburgh.

In 2009, Karen joined an international team on the three-year European Music Portfolio – A Creative Way into Languages project, which developed a wide variety of pedagogical materials for teachers to use in the primary classroom to teach music and language through an integrated approach.

In 2013-2014, Karen contributed to the Advancing Interdisciplinary Research in Singing project led by Dr Annabel J. Cohen, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Born in Michigan, USA, Karen studied English and French at the University of Michigan, 1998-2002 (Hons).

For three years, Karen worked as an editorial assistant in nonfiction publishing in New York, with a focus on books for the finance, accounting and nonprofit sectors.

She began to volunteer as an adult literacy and English as a Second Language teacher at the Aguilar branch of the New York Public Library in Harlem. She soon started using popular music and songs to help her students improve their English language skills. Lessons focused on listening, pronunciation and speaking skills, vocabulary and grammatical structures.


Karen now works as a Senior Lecturer in English Language in the Department of English, History & Creative Writing at Edge Hill University, which was the 2014 Times Higher Education University of the Year. Follow her on Twitter: @KarenMLudke