Research & Development

My research interests focus on the psychology of music-making, and wellbeing and mental health in music practice, performance and teaching. In line with this, I am currently developing an approach to music pedagogy that draws inspiration from aspects of psychotherapy.

The backdrop to this is a long-held belief in the importance of wellbeing to 'good' music-making; that aiming-for and establishing a sense of wellbeing as the first port of call in music-making in turn helps us to learn more effectively, realise more of our potential, experience more moments of creative and technical brilliance, and sustain more satisfaction over the long term.

Investigating wellbeing in general brought me to various models of mindfulness and psychotherapy. My interests have centred in particular on the concepts and approaches of
Schema Therapy. I believe the principles, training, self-help guides and research literature of Schema Therapy not only offer a wealth of information and resources for cultivating wellbeing in daily life. For me, the theory and methodology of Schema Therapy seems particularly relevant to music-making, given its emphasis on different emotional states or modes, their effect on our behaviour, and the underlying schemas that bring them about.

With all this in mind, I am currently consulting with Schema Therapists, clinical psychologists and psychotherapists from other fields, safeguarding experts, and professional musicians, to understand how to make the ideas and techniques accessible, relevant, appropriate, practical, and safe for music education contexts.

Some questions underpinning this work include:

What are wellbeing and mental health? How do they affect music-making? 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-informed music training'? 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?