Centre for Music Performance Research

The RNCM Centre for Music Performance Research is directed by Professor Jane Ginsborg and brings together researchers – staff, PhD students and affiliates – in three broad disciplines

These disciplines are:

  • Applied music psychology (leader: Professor Jane Ginsborg)
  • Musicians’ health and wellbeing (leader: Dr Sara Ascenso)
  • Music education (leader: Professor John Habron-James)

The Centre for Music Performance Research was originally known as the RNCM CETL Research Centre for the Vocational Training of Musicians (2005-2010); a complete list of publications authored and co-authored by Jane Ginsborg, Antonia Ivaldi (now at University of Aberystwyth), Gunter Kreutz (now at Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenbourg) and Clemens Wöllner (now at University of Music Freiburg, Germany) can be found to the side of this page (RNCM CETL Legacy document).

Current and recent projects

Applied music psychology

Social convergence in times of spatial distancing: The role of music during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-22). Investigators: Susanna Cohen (Bar-Ilan University, Israel) and Jane Ginsborg; funded by Help Musicians UK and an RNCM Visiting Research Fellowship.

The experiences of seasoned orchestral musicians during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020) and
One year on: The impact of COVID-19 on the lives of freelance orchestral musicians in the United Kingdom (2022). Investigators: Susanna Cohen (Bar-Ilan University, Israel) and Jane Ginsborg; funded by Help Musicians UK and an RNCM Visiting Research Fellowship.

String instrument characterisation (2018-2019). Collaboration between Jane Ginsborg and Catherine Yates (RNCM) and Patrick Gaydecki and Hujun Yin (University of Manchester).

Hidden hearing loss in musicians (2016-2019). Collaboration with Piers Dawes (Principal Investigator), Chris Armitage, Chris Plack (University of Manchester), Dave Moore (University of Connecticut and Jane Ginsborg, funded by the Colt Foundation.

Advanced Interdisciplinary Research in Singing (AIRS: Principal Investigator: Annabel Cohen, University of Prince Edward Island; funded by Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, 2008-2015). Co-investigator on project investigating students’ development and use of performance cues: Jane Ginsborg with RNCM students and former students Victoria Barton, Emile Perkins and Chloe Latchmere. In association with AIRS, on project tracking effects of singing lessons on people with aphasia: former student Kathy Cammett.

Interactive performance for musicians with a hearing impairment (Principal Investigator: Carl Hopkins, University of Liverpool; funded by AHRC, 2010-2013). Co-investigator: Jane Ginsborg. Shortlisted for Times Higher Education award: Best Research Project, 2013.

Recent PhD project

Robert Fulford (supervisors: Jane Ginsborg and Juliet Goldbart) (AHRC-funded). Interactive performance for musicians with a hearing impairment (2014)

Expert preparation for performance

Jane Ginsborg undertakes practice-based research and investigates

  • pianists’ memory for classical contemporary music (with co-investigators Blanka Bogunovic, University of Belgrade, Serbia, and Valnea Žauhar, University of Rijeka, Croatia)
  • dancers’ long-term memory for movement to music (with co-investigator Kate Stevens, University of Western Sydney)
  • focus, effort and enjoyment in chamber music
  • singers’ practice, memorisation and long-term recall for words and melodies (with co-investigators George Nicholson, University of Sheffield; Roger Chaffin, University of Connecticut; Alexander Demos, University of Chicago; Dawn Bennett, Curtin University)
  • strategies for learning music (with co-investigator Helen Prior, University of Hull)
  • the intelligibility of sung text (with co-investigator Philip Fine, University of Buckingham)
  • verbal and non-verbal communication in collaborative rehearsal and performance and the role of gesture in the development of mental representations for music (with co-investigator Elaine King, University of Hull)

Current PhD project

Akiho Suzuki: (supervisors: Jane Ginsborg and Michelle Phillips) (2021- ) (AHRC-funded). Development and evaluation of an online course on practice and performance preparation for tertiary piano students.

Recent PhD project

Keith Phillips (supervisors: Michelle Phillips and Simon Parkin) (2015-2018) Are we really hearing in our heads what we think we’re hearing? The phenomenology of improvisation and the cognitive processes involved.

Musicians’ health and wellbeing

Musicians’ basic psychological needs satisfaction at work (2021- current). Investigator: Sara Ascenso.

Musicians’ work orientation through the lens of the Job, Career, Calling framework (2019-). Investigators: Sara Ascenso (RNCM) and Renata Medeiros Mirra (Cardiff University).

Musicians’ fatigue management: Validity and efficacy of an online monitoring tool (2019- 2022). Principal Investigator: Matt McCrary (Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover), Sara Ascenso (RNCM), Terry Clark (RCM), Emma Redding (University of Melbourne) and Eckart Altenmüller (Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover).

Health education pathways for musicians (2019). Investigators: Bronwen Ackermann (University of Sydney) and Jane Ginsborg; funded by an RNCM Visiting Research Fellowship.

Validation of the Musicians’ Health Literacy Questionnaire (MHL-Q19) (2019- ). Musicians’ Health Literacy Consortium, initially funded by the World Universities Network. Investigators: Bronwen Ackermann (Australia), Vera Baadjou (Belgium), Rae de Lisle (New Zealand), Jane Ginsborg (UK), Christine Guptill (Canada), Bridget Rennie-Salonen (South Africa), Peter Visentin (Canada), Suzanne Wijsman (Australia).

Health education literacy and accessibility for musicians: A global approach (2018-2019). Investigators: Bronwen Ackermann (University of Sydney), Vera Baadjou (Maastricht University), Jane Ginsborg, Christine Guptill (University of Alberta), Rae de Lisle (University of Auckland), Bridget Rennie-Salonen (Stellenbosch University), Peter Visentin (University of Lethbridge) and Suzanne Wijsman (University of Western Australia), funded by the Worldwide Universities Network.

Musical Impact: Enhancing the health and wellbeing of musicians (Chief Investigator: Aaron Williamon, Royal College of Music; funded by AHRC, 2013-2017, in collaboration with Conservatoires UK), including Better Practice: Health promotion in music education and the profession (Principal Investigator: Jane Ginsborg).

Promoting resilience in undergraduate music performance students (Chief Investigator: Lotte Latukefu, University of Wollongong, Australia, 2015, funded for Visiting Research Fellowship at RNCM in collaboration with Jane Ginsborg).

Health-promoting lifestyles of musicians (Jane Ginsborg, Gunter Kreutz, Aaron Williamon, Michael Thomas, University of Chester) 2007-2009.

Recent PhD projects

Nellinne Ranaweera (supervisors: Jane Ginsborg and Alinka Greasley, University of Leeds) The role of leisure activities in the wellbeing of musicians (2020).

Raluca Matei (supervisors: Jane Ginsborg and David Wasley) (AHRC-funded) Better practice: Promoting health in the music conservatoire (2019).

Karin Greenhead (supervisors: Jane Southcott, Monash University and Jane Ginsborg) Dynamic Rehearsal and Dalcroze Eurhythmics: A phenomenological investigation into participants’ experiences and their implications for the practice, teaching and learning of music and musical performance (2018).

Naomi Norton (supervisors: Jane Ginsborg and Alinka Greasley, University of Leeds) (AHRC-funded) Health education in instrumental/vocal music lessons: The teacher’s perspective (2017).

Anna Zabuska (supervisors: Jane Ginsborg and David Wasley, Cardiff Metropolitan University) Motivational issues among music performance students (2018).

Robert Fulford (supervisors: Jane Ginsborg and Juliet Goldbart) (AHRC-funded) Interactive performance for musicians with a hearing impairment (2014).

Music Education

The sound of my ability: A music teacher and her physical (dis)ability (2019-). Marlies Muijzers (Muijzers Muziek) and John Habron-James (RNCM), funded by RNCM, FIER, AAJD, Dalcroze UK and MASARA.

Putting music to work: The pioneer music therapy work of Priscilla Barclay (2015-). John Habron-James, funded by Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities Grant, Gladstone’s Library Arts and Humanities Scholarship, SEMPRE, Coventry University and RNCM.

Dalcroze training in England (1947-1960) oral history project (2014-). John Habron-James, funded by Coventry University and RNCM.

Work-integrated learning in the music academy (WILMA) (2019-2021) Keith Phillips and John Habron-James, RNCM; Jon Helge Sætre, Centre for Excellence in Music Performance Research (CEMPE), Norwegian Academy of Music; funded by CEMPE.

The efficacy of music as a non-pharmacological intervention in the endoscopy setting: A literature review (2019-2020). Dale Ware, NHS; John Habron-James, RNCM; funded by NHS England and an RNCM Pre-Doctoral Research Fellowship.

Soft Hands: A percussion teacher’s professional development journey (2017-2021) Andrea Vogler and John Habron-James, RNCM.

Improving the employability of music undergraduates: Embedding sight-reading training into undergraduate curricula (2015-2016). Principal Investigator: Katie Zhukov, University of Queensland; co-investigators Jane Ginsborg and Paul Janes (RNCM).

Team teaching in the conservatoire (2009-2010) Clemens Wöllner and Jane Ginsborg.

Music researchers’ musical engagement (2009-2010) Clemens Wöllner, Jane Ginsborg and Aaron Williamon.

Promoting excellence in small group music performance: Teaching, learning and assessment (Principal Investigator: Jane Ginsborg; co-investigator: Richard Wistreich, University of Newcastle; funded by Palatine 2008-2010).

Routes to adolescent musical expertise (2006-2010) Antonia Ivaldi, Karen Humphreys and Geoff Reed, RNCM.

Current PhD projects

Ellen Casey (supervisors: John Habron-James and Jane Ginsborg) (2021- ). The meaning of Alexander Technique for musicians: An ethnographically informed study of learning and application in the context of musical practice.

Eleanor Guénault (supervisors: John Habron-James and Jane Ginsborg) The influence of positive role models on professional female brass players.

Naomi Kayayan (supervisors: Jennie Henley and John Habron-James) Exploring the dynamics of dynamic teaching: A qualitative study into pedagogical practices in a conservatoire piano department.

Rosalind Ridout (supervisors: John Habron-James and Jennie Henley) A musician moving with the earth: An autoethnographic exploration of how Dalcroze Eurhythmics shapes a musician’s eco-literate performance and teaching practice.

Recent PhD projects

Jen Hartley (supervisors: John Habron-James and Jennie Henley) Using group improvisation and imaginative listening to nurture creative autonomy in A-level music students: Teaching composition for examination purposes (2023).

Jo-Yee Cheung (supervisors: Michelle Phillips and John Habron-James) The role of parents in the development of metacognition in children during musical learning (2021).

Karin Greenhead (supervisors: Jane Southcott, Monash University and Jane Ginsborg) Dynamic Rehearsal and Dalcroze Eurhythmics: A phenomenological investigation into participants’ experiences and their implications for the practice, teaching and learning of music and musical performance (2018).