I am a senior lecturer in music psychology at Keele University and have been working here since 2001, when I came to lead the MSc in Music Psychology begun by Professor John Sloboda, OBE.
My research is primarily about music from the point of view of listeners, audience members, and amateur performers, and I have worked with infants through to older people looking at the importance of music in their lives and the ways in which they engage with it. I am particularly interested in issues of access to music, and have researched why music seems to be so unpopular as an activity for school children and how best to promote opportunities to engage in music at school. I am also interested in amateur music-making across the lifespan and particularly in how music can help support communities and personal wellbeing in older people. I have been working with a choir in Manchester on the benefits that music brings to them and how they can best support it for all to be able to access it.
I am also interested in wider issues to do with happiness and wellbeing, and am currently exploring what is, or may not be, unique about music by comparing people who engage in music with those who do other activities such as knitting.
I have recently published a book on the Psychology of Musical Development (co-authored with Professor David Hargreaves) for Cambridge University Press (2017).
I regularly speak and write for the general public as well as academic audiences, and have appeared on BBC television and radio talking about my research and a range of topics relating to music and emotion, musical development, music preferences and wellbeing.