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Enhancing audience engagement in live concerts



Enhancing audience engagement in live concerts through deepening access to performers and composers.


For a number of years, a group of staff at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama have been experimenting with the potentialities of deepening the connection between those on stage and those in the audience through the use of "enriching" processes which extend outside the space-time boundaries of the live concert itself. These have included audience attendance at rehearsals, participation in "meet the composer/performer" pre-sessions, and post-concert feedback sessions where audiences are invited to articulate their experiences for the benefit of the musicians and each other.
Some examples of this work will be described, together with the exploratory and evaluative research on their impact. This presentation will focus on work undertaken with student and staff composers and performers at the Guildhall School, and also an audience-development project undertaken in collaboration with one of Britain's premier contemporary chamber orchestras, Britten Sinfonia. In this project 50 "audience consultants" were invited to participate in a season-long journey which involved a range of interactive sessions, focused on two contrasting concerts.  

About the speakers

nullProfessor John Sloboda is Research Professor at the Guildhall School, where he directs its Understanding Audiences Research Programme. He is also Emeritus Professor at Keele and was a staff member of the School of Psychology at Keele from 1974-2008, where he was Director of its Unit for the Study of Musical Skill and Development, founded in 1991.

John is internationally known for his work on the psychology of music. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and has been President of both the Psychology and General Sections of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as President of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, where he has served on the editorial board of its journal Musicae Scientiae. He is a committee member of the Society for Education and Music Psychology Research, and was Editor-in-Chief of its journal Psychology of Music from 1985-1989. He was the recipient of the 1998 British Psychological Society's Presidents Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge, and in 2004 was elected to Fellowship of the British Academy. John is Honorary Consultant to the AHRC Centre for Music Performance as Creative Practice, a network participant in Theatrum Mundi and a contributing researcher to the AHRC Knowledge Exchange Hub Creativeworks London. He is also a member of the Senior Management Group of the think-tank Oxford Research Group and co-founder of the Iraq Body Count Project. His most recent book (co-edited with Patrik Juslin) is Handbook of Music and Emotion published by Oxford University Press in 2009.

karen-wiseDr Karen Wise is Research Fellow at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and is a psychologist, teacher and classical mezzo soprano. Her main research interests concern:

1) Singing and vocal development, particularly in untrained and 'non-singing' adults and

2) The psychology of performance, from practising and creativity to audience-performer relationships.

From 2010 to 2013 she was a Research Associate in the AHRC Research Centre for Musical Performance as Creative Practice (CMPCP), at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge. Prior to that she was a Teaching Fellow in Psychology at Keele University, where was awarded a PhD in Psychology for her work in understanding 'tone deafness'. She studied music at the University of York, and subsequently trained at the Royal Northern College of Music, winning the Brigitte Fassbaender Award for Lieder. She continues to perform as a soloist in oratorio, opera and concerts. Karen is also an Academic Tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music.

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When & where

5.30pm - 7.30pmWednesday 4th March 2015

AG09 College Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1V 4PB United Kingdom