Transforming Communities

Mixed Metaphors: Researching the process and outcomes of music interventions – Professor Raymond MacDonald

Live Music Now at the Royal Society of Medicine – 16 November 2015

Professor Raymond MacDonald, Head of Music, Professor of Music Psychology and Improvisation, Edinburgh University UK.

Professor MacDonald gave an overview of research issues relevant when using music in health care contexts with older people. The fundamental question how and why music can improve wellbeing was discussed. Specific examples of qualitative and quantitative approaches were presented. Studies utilising music listening approaches were compared to studies that adopt a music participation approach. These examples were used to help signal ways in which robust theoretical and methodological frameworks can be developed to guide future work in this area.


Raymond MacDonald is Head of Music and Professor of Music Psychology and Improvisation at Edinburgh University. He has published over 70 papers and co-edited five texts Musical Identities (2002) and Musical Communication (2005) Music Health and Wellbeing (2012) and Musical Imaginations (2012) The Handbook of Musical Identities (in press). His ongoing research focuses on issues relating to improvisation, psychology of music, music health and wellbeing, musical identities and music education.

As a saxophonist and composer his work is informed by a view of improvisation as a social, collaborative and uniquely creative process that provides opportunities to develop new ways of working musically. Collaborating with musicians such as Evan Parker, David Byrne, Jim O’Rourke and Marilyn Crispell, he has released over 50 CDs and toured and broadcast worldwide.