Amps Seminar Series: What Is Human Musicality And Why It Is Important

Prof Raymond Macdonald

Old Arts Theatre B, University Of Melbourne, Parkville


6:00 pm

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose: What is human musicality and why it is important 

This presentation outlines a number of different perspectives investigating the relationship between music and health while presenting evidence to support the assertion "We are all Musical".  Possible reasons relating to why music may have beneficial effects on health are explored; these include a discussion of social, cultural neurological, medical, developmental and education issues.   The contrasting but related contributions of music therapy, community music and music education will be discussed and research   examples will highlight various ways in which music and health can be studied.   Particular emphasis will be placed upon the importance of improvisation as an accessible, unique, spontaneous, social and creative process that can facilitate collaboration between many musical genres and across disciplines.

Venue: Old Arts Theatre B, The University of Melbourne, Parkville

Time: 6pm Thursday 13th August, 2015


Raymond MacDonald is Professor of Music Psychology and Improvisation   and Head of The School of Music at University of Edinburgh.

As a saxophonist and composer he has released over 50 CDs and toured  and broadcast worldwide. He has written music for film, television,  theatre, radio and art installations and much of his work explores  he boundaries and ambiguities between what is conventionally seen   as improvisation and composition.  Collaborating with musicians such as David Byrne, Evan Parker, Jim O'Rourke and Marilyn Crispell his  work informed by a view of improvisation as a social, collaborative   and uniquely creative process that provides opportunities to develop new ways of working musically.   He is a key player and a founding member of The Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra.

After completing his PhD at the University of Glasgow, investigating therapeutic applications of music, he worked as Artistic Director for a music company, Sounds of Progress, specialising in working with people who have special needs.  He runs music workshops and lectures internationally and has published over 60 peer reviewed papers and book chapters.  He has co-edited four texts, Musical   Identities (2002) and Musical Communication (2005), Musical Imaginations (2012) and Music Health & Wellbeing (2012) and was editor of the journal Psychology of Music between 2006 and 2012. He is an associate editor for The International Journal of Music Education, Jazz Research Journal, Research Studies in Music Education, Musicae Scientiae, and The Journal of Music Therapy.

His on-going research focuses on issues relating to improvisation, musical communication, music health and wellbeing, music education and musical identities. He studies the processes and outcomes of music participation and music listening and has a particular interest in collaborative creativity. His new coedited text with David Hargreaves and Dorothy Miell "The Oxford Handbook of Musical Identities" is due for publication in 2016.