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AMPS: Past Seminar Series

Past Seminar Series

Select the that year you would like to see

2014 Seminar Series

Exposing the dynamics of the duo: Singers’ and pianists’ collaborative rehearsal and performance
Speaker : Jane Ginsborg (UK)
Date :3rd Mar


Until relatively recently, research on musicians’ practising and memorising strategies has largely focused on solo performance. Over the past ten years Jane has been exploring different aspects of collaborative musicians’ rehearsal and performance in a series of longitudinal, practice-based case studies involving her own duo. She will talk about these, and other studies involving student and professional duos, and the implications of their findings both for collaborative and individual preparation for performance.

Jane is the Associate Dean of Research & Enterprise at the Royal Northern College of Music in the UK. She has a broad range of research interests and activities, including:
-The social and cognitive processes underlying experts’ individual and collaborative rehearsal and performance.
-Expert musicians’ approaches to practising and memorizing
-Interdisciplinary Research on Singing
to name just a very few.
Jane has published widely, both as single author and in collaboration with other luminary figures in the Music Psychology field.

For more information, check out Jane's website:

Personality Correlates of Music Preferences
Speaker : Professor Sam Gosling (University of Texas, Austin)
Date :3rd Apr


At this very moment, in homes, offices, cars, restaurants, and clubs around the world, people are listening to music. Despite its prevalence in everyday life, however, the sound of music has remained mute within social and personality psychology.

Presenter Biography:
Sam Gosling is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas, Austin. He did his doctoral work at the University of California at Berkeley, where his dissertation focused personality in spotted hyenas. He is the recipient of the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution. Sam has published broadly on the topics of Internet-based methods of data collection, personality in non-human animals, and on how human personality is manifested in everyday contexts like bedrooms, offices, webpages, music preferences, and social-media; this latter work is described in his book, “Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You” and is based on the idea that we deliberately and inadvertently express our personalities the ways we manipulate and select the environments in which we live and work; as a result, these spaces are rich with information about what we are like.

MNI website:

Music: A Natural Resource for Health
Speaker : Professor Lisa Summer PhD, MT-BC, FAMI
Date :28th Apr


Humanistic psychotherapy, positive psychology, and a proliferation of preventive health services have shifted this decade’s healthcare from an approach primarily focused upon curative, disease-focused treatment to a resource-oriented model of care. Evidence-based music therapy interventions will be introduced and the everyday practice of music listening as a natural resource for health and wellbeing will be discussed.

Speaker Biography:
Professor Summer is Director of Music Therapy at Anna Maria College in Massachusetts, USA, and author of Guided Imagery and Music in the Institutional Setting, in which she outlined uses of music and imagery for people who have severe mental illness. She is co-author, with Joseph Summer, of Music: The New-Age Elixir, and editor of Music and Consciousness: The evolution of Guided Imagery and Music, a collection of articles written by Dr Helen Bonny, who was the founder of the method of Guided Imagery and Music.

Admission is free.

Songwriting to effect changes in self-concept and wellbeing following acquired brain injury or spinal cord injury: A feasibility study
Speaker : Associate Professor Felicity Baker
Date :29th May


People who have acquired a brain or spinal cord injury often experience significant emotional upheaval as they begin to process and acknowledge the long-term implications of their injuries. This feasibility study examined the effect of a targeted songwriting intervention on self-concept and wellbeing in adults with acquired brain injury or spinal cord injury. Six inpatients undergoing rehabilitation following a brain or spinal cord injury participated in 12 individual songwriting sessions over 6 weeks. The sessions were designed to support participants to create songs that explored issues of identity – with the aim of integrating aspects of the past pre-injured self with that of the new injured self. Participants created 3 songs – a song about the past self, the present self, and a future self. They completed a battery of pre, post, and follow up standardized measures designed to determine changes in self-concept, affect, anxiety and depression, satisfaction with life, and sense of flourishing. Changes to self-concept and wellbeing were in the positive direction demonstrating the capacity for this methodology to detect changes in this population. Data collection from control group participants is currently under way which will enable stronger inferences about the effects of the intervention. This presentation will discuss the findings to date and illustrate how self-concept changes are reflected in song lyrics.

Associate Professor Felicity Baker is Australia Research Council Fellow, co-director of the National Music Therapy Research Unit at The University of Melbourne, and President of Australian Music Therapy Association (2011-2014). Her clinical and research expertise are predominantly in neurorehabilitation with a special interest in communication rehabilitation and facilitating emotional adjustment to a changed identity via various music therapy methods.

Memories are Made of This: Exploring the Psychology of Learning and Memory in Music and Dance
Speaker : Prof. Kate Stevens
Date :30th Jun


Our brains have a remarkable capacity to learn. This presentation discusses processes of learning and memory in music and dance, with an emphasis on learning without formal instruction. Can we learn without conscious awareness? What cues from the environment become part of our long-term memory? How does the early learning of a “tonal” language, such as Thai, affect perception of music? When is silence “golden” in learning and remembering?


Therapeutic effects of singing
Speaker : Dr Jeanette Tamplin (University of Melbourne)
Date :6th Aug


Awareness of the social, psychological, and physical health benefits of singing has increased significantly over the past decade. Singing has been reported to improve mood, decrease stress hormone levels, facilitate social connection, and even boost immune function. In this presentation, Jeanette will share findings from her research into the therapeutic application of singing in rehabilitation and discuss the benefits of singing as an accessible, non-invasive and cost-effective way to improve health and wellbeing.


Vocal Music Therapy: An Embodied Approach to Chronic Pain Management
Speaker : Joke Bradt, PhD, MT-BC
Date :11th Sep


This presentation will introduce the attendees to the use of vocal music therapy (VMT) for chronic pain management. Through clinical examples and video segments of actual VMT session, Dr. Bradt will discuss how vocal music therapy activates mechanisms that play an important role in the management of chronic pain. She will also present the results of an NIH-funded study on the effects of VMT on core outcomes in chronic pain management.



Musical Memories: How Experience and Expectations Affect Music Perception
Speaker : Professor Kate Stevens
Date :15th Sep
Downloads :Click for info


The Sydney Conservatorium of Music proudly presents the Public Lecture series, "About Music". Our program is scheduled for Mondays at 5pm and continues throughout Semester 2.

The next lecture in our series " Musical Memories: How Experience and Expectations Affect Music Perception", 15th September (next Monday) is presented by Catherine Stevens, Professor in Psychology and leader of the Music Cognition and Action research program in the MARCS Institute, University of Western Sydney (UWS)..

Even without formal training in music, humans develop expectations for the conventions of the musical environment in which they are raised. The influence of this “mere exposure” on responding to rhythmic patterns will be discussed, together with the effect of language background on perceiving speech and music.

Professor Stevens conducts basic research into the learning and recognition of complex sequential, non-verbal patterns using the familiar and universal contexts of music and dance. She is author of more than 170 articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings papers, among them an ebook on creativity and cognition in contemporary dance.


Contact: Joseph Toltz – 9351 1214 –

MMW public seminar: 8 things to give up…and not one of them is music
Speaker : Dr Margaret Osborne
Date :22nd Sep


Music affords many benefits for our mental health and wellbeing. In a cruel twist of fate, the act of performing music can be so distressing that it is endured with dread and fear, and in extreme cases, leads some to avoid performing altogether. In this seminar Margaret will integrate a performance case study with one of Australia’s leading performers and music educators, clarinetist Paul Dean, to discuss the eight common triggers to music performance anxiety. She’ll show how musicians at all levels, from young learners in the precious formative years of their musical life to those who take the stage at a violin concerto, might be able to give up these triggers to invite more musical performance, and thus wellbeing, into our lives.


Social Identity and Wellbeing in Treatment and Music Groups
Speaker : Dr Genevieve Dingle, University of QLD
Date :9th Oct


Belonging to social groups and communities informs our identity (e.g. I’m an Australian woman, a psychologist, a parent, etc). Social identities typically bring many resources such as a sense of belonging and various types of support which can lead to better health and wellbeing. However, adults and young people who experience mental health or addiction problems may hold negative social identities, seeing themselves in relation to their addiction or their diagnosis (e.g. “I’m an addict, a schizo”). In this seminar, I present three studies in which the social identity and group memberships of the participants was found to influence wellbeing and other outcomes. The first study examined identity change and recovery among 132 clients of a drug and alcohol therapeutic community. The second was a longitudinal qualitative study of members of a choir for marginalised adults. And the third study examined group identity and outcomes from Tuned In Teens, a group emotion regulation program for adolescents who have been excluded from secondary schools. The findings will be discussed in terms of the importance of facilitating group identities in treatment and music groups to make these valuable psychological resources available to participants.

The Paradox Of Tragedy: Why Do We Like Sad Music?
Speaker : Sandra Garrido
Date :13th Oct


Text from MRC website:
On Monday 13 October, Sandra Garrido from University of Melbourne/UWA spoke on The Paradox Of Tragedy: Why Do We Like Sad Music? . In this lecture, Sandra Garrido considered the philosophical arguments that have been proposed throughout the centuries as well as looking at recent empirical research investigating the phenomenon.

The talk was part of our Music on the Mind series of free talks exploring the relationship between music and the human brain and the related links to social wellbeing, participation, learning and development and the role of music in our contemporary communities.

To listen/download the podcast click the link below. Please note for copyright reasons, one of the songs referenced in the talk (Elton John’s Candle in the Wind) was removed from this podcast.


What really goes on in the mind of musicians when they play?
Speaker : Professor Tony Gould, Monash University
Date :6th Nov
Downloads :Click for info


This seminar will offer a view by a practicing musician on the diverse mindsets of musicians when they perform.

Questions to be addressed include:
• Is it the sound, the music, extra-musical factors, a fear of mucking it up?
• Are their commonalities of thought?
• Do musicians care about audiences when in the act of performance?
• Do musicians have their own individual set of priorities when performing?
• Do musicians think at all when they perform? Can musicians reach such a state?
• Are there ways to help musicians focus on the task of performance?

Tony will be talking from personal experience but also referring to artists including
Walter Gieseking, Keith Jarrett, Miles Davis and Leonard Bernstein.

Tony Gould is currently Professor of Music at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University supervising higher degree students and involved in practical performance. He is active as a composer - receiving commissions for small and large scale works, and also as a performer in collaborations with leading improvisers in Melbourne.

MMW Public Lecture: Why aren’t there more one-man bands? The psychology of musical ensemble performance
Speaker : Professor Peter Keller, MARCS Institute, University of Western S
Date :9th Dec


Musical ensemble performance is a social art form in which multiple individuals coordinate their actions in order to communicate aesthetic goals. Achieving these goals requires specialized cognitive-motor ensemble skills that facilitate precise yet flexible interpersonal coordination.

This lecture will address the psychological processes and brain mechanisms that enable such coordination. First, Professor Keller will describe key findings from research on the role of individual differences in cognitive-motor ensemble skills that allow co-performers to anticipate, attend, and adapt to each other’s actions in real time. Then, he will go on to discuss the potential influence of social-psychological factors, including aspects of personality, upon the operation of these cognitive-motor ensemble skills.

Part of Music on the Mind. A series of free talks exploring the relationship between music and the human brain and the related links to social wellbeing, participation, learning and development and the role of music in our contemporary communities.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre and Music, Mind and Wellbeing initiative at The University of Melbourne