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 four broad disciplines

Those disciplines are:

  • Applied music psychology (leader: Professor Jane Ginsborg)
  • Musicians’ health and wellbeing (leader: Professor Jane Ginsborg)
  • Music education (leader: Dr John Habron)
  • Performance studies (leader: Professor David Horne)

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 Hamburg) can be found to the side of this page (RNCM CETL Legacy document).

Current and recent projects

Applied music psychology

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; PhD project student Robert Fulford (now at University of Leeds). Shortlisted for Times Higher Education award: Best Research Project, 2013.

Expert preparation for performance

Jane Ginsborg undertakes practice-based research and investigates

  • 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

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

Musicians’ health and wellbeing

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 CUK). Work Package 3, under way at RNCM: Better Practice: Health promotion in music education and the profession (Principal Investigator: Jane Ginsborg; PhD project student Raluca Matei)

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

Current PhD projects

Naomi Norton (supervisors: Jane Ginsborg and Alinka Greasley, University of Leeds) Health education in instrumental/vocal music lessons: The teacher’s perspective (2013-2016)

Anna Zabuska (supervisors: Jane Ginsborg and David Wasley, Cardiff Metropolitan University) Motivational issues among music performance students (2011-2017 part-time)

Music Education

Improving employability of music undergraduates: Embedding sight-reading training into undergraduate curricula 2015-2016 (Principal Investigator: Katie Zhukov, University of Queensland; co-investigators: Stephen Broad, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, 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 project

Karin Greenhead (supervisors: Jane Southcott, Monash University and Jane Ginsborg) Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Dynamic Rehearsal: Reflections on practice 2010-2017 (part-time)

Performance studies

Composition as Improvisation / Improvisation as Composition 2010-ongoing (Melinda Maxwell, David Horne) Various stages of the project have been presented at conferences in the UK, Belgium and Portugal

Vulgar Display 2012-ongoing (Simon Clarke, David Horne) New music group combining Metal and classical ensembles, dissemination through concerts and conference presentations (Austria)

Current PhD projects:

  • Olga Paliy (supervisors: David Horne, Simon Clarke) Interrelation of the Fugue and Piano Sonata as a result of Taneyev’s influence on his contemporaries and exploration of the practice and performance strategies (2014-2017)
  • Kiana Shafiei (supervisors: David Horne, Stephen Savage) Investigating contemporary Persian piano repertoire and its performance (2014-2017)
  • Kerry Baldwin (supervisors: John Miller, David Horne) The influence of Berio’s Sequenza V on trombone repertoire and technique: Performances and thesis (2013-2019 part-time)

Routes for dissemination include the peer-reviewed on-line journal edited by Jane Ginsborg (co-editors: Helena Gaunt and Susan Hallam), Music Performance Research, and the hosting of regular research seminars and international conferences.

RNCM hosted the 9th Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM 2015) from 17 to 22 August 2015.