Research
Developing 'Schema Coaching' for Musicians

My research interests focus on the psychology of music practice, performance and teaching. I am currently developing an approach to music pedagogy that draws inspiration from aspects of Schema Therapy, a form of psychotherapy. This might be referred to as 'Schema Coaching' for musicians.

The backdrop here is my long-held belief in the importance of wellbeing to 'good' music-making. I see that establishing a sense of wellbeing as a first port-of-call in turn helps us to learn more effectively, realise more of our potential, and sustain more satisfaction over the long term.

Investigating the concept of wellbeing brought me to various models within psychotherapy, with my interests centering on
Schema Therapy. I believe its concepts and various practices not only offer a way of cultivating wellbeing in daily life. For me, they seem especially relevant - and potentially very helpful - to music-making in a number of respects.

The potential, limitations, risks and benefits of this pedagogical approach are what I am currently researching. To this end, I am consulting with a range of Schema Therapists, clinical psychologists and psychotherapists from other fields, safeguarding experts, and professional musicians, and undergoing training in Schema Therapy through Schema Therapy Associates. The aim is to try to understand how to formulate this approach so that it can be accessible, relevant, appropriate, practical, and safe. I am also developing Schema Therapy-informed tools for musicians with psychologists, and practicing aspects with willing long-term students, with supervision.

Some questions underpinning this work include:

What are the central concepts and approaches of Schema Therapy? To what extent is it possible to integrate these into music practice, performance and teaching? What might be the potential advantages, disadvantages, challenges, risks and limitations?

What would be the aims of a 'schema coaching' for musicians'? What would be taught to music students? What techniques or practices would be involved? What resources and materials would be used? What would be the teaching methods and style? What requirements would be needed of the teacher to teach in this way? How could the teaching be implemented safely? How would this kind of music training be different from Schema Therapy?


I would be delighted to hear from anyone interested to explore these questions further with me.