My life in research started during my undergraduate years in South Africa when I studied nursing between 1996 – 2000. The first research project was a clinical piece of work which I was responsible for bringing to life on the page. The study included interviews with members of the community, predominantly those who resided in aged care facilities. We questioned pain management for individuals who struggle with osteoarthritis. The project was conducted over a period of 12 months with rather interesting outcomes. Lack of education was definitely a major influence on the wellbeing of our participants.
My second research project was a big step away from the clinical field. I redirected my field of inquiry to music and emotional response to tonal music. This was a small project that I conducted between 2013 – 2014 over a period of 3 – 6 months. The study was predominantly quantitative and showed what we already know in music psychology, music can and does have a wonderful effect on the human mind and body.
It was my research in 2015 – 2020 which had a far deeper reach and long term outcomes for me on personal and professional levels.
In 2015 I conducted a study in music and emotion. The title of the project – An investigation of emotional response to sonorism in music from 1960 – 1991. I looked at how we respond to avant-garde music and I found myself looking more at sound. This study used a mixed method design (qualitative and quantitative methods) and made for an interesting road of discovery. I had the opportunity to talk with many music academics and some wonderfully talented musicians helped me to collect valuable data. This was achieved through using questionnaires. I wanted to know more about sound and my interest in silence grew by the day. I was starting to question how important sound was and this lead me to my PhD study.
My PhD study was done between 2016 and 2020. My thesis is currently being examined and I am anxiously waiting for the result. This project is titled – Textural Analysis of 21st Century String Music Through the Lens of Spectromorphology. The study was another mixed method project which had wonderful outcomes. I curated/produced a world premiere of new music at The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith, NSW, Australia. I had 4 talented Australian composers write brand new music for string instruments. I was able to increase their visibility in the music industry and they in turn, helped me to build a brand new alternative music analysis model for musicians. While I was building this model, I was finding a new way of listening and actually found that I was becoming more aware, intensely aware. This is where I was able to create a new listening program for people who want to bring positive change into our community through improving their listening and communication skills.
Here is the moral of the story! We can make life better through research. We can change lives, we can learn more about each other and we can create a better future. Yes, even music research can bring wonderful change to the world. We just have to be open to all the possibilities.
Hit me up if you want to read my research and learn more about sound. I can be contacted to arrange a face to face meet up or zoom meeting. If you want to delve into my research by reading my massive opus, just send me a message.