Sempre Seminar Series

The Sempre Seminars are an exciting new initiative to broaden the reach of Sempre into universities. This initiative involves Sempre sponsoring relevant seminars within existing seminar series, covering the attendance costs of a speaker with relevant research interests, and, where possible, sending a Sempre representative to introduce the event.

Participating institutions would be asked to promote the seminar as a "Sempre Seminar", and to include relevant information about the Society. Up to 12 Sempre seminars can be run per year, so please contact the student representative Lauren Hadley if you are interested in being involved.

As a society, Sempre aims to provide an international forum for the exchange of ideas and dissemination of research related to music psychology and music education. We hope that this seminar scheme will further the dissemination of music psychology- and education-related research, and make this research accessible to postgraduate students. We also hope that it will raise the profile of Sempre amongst postgraduates, so that they are aware of and feel able to take advantage of the help and resources that Sempre can offer them.

Next seminars

Curtain call: Investigating the psychophysiology of public performance

  • Professor Aaron Williamon
  • Tuesday 9 June 2015
  • University of Cambridge
  • Music performance is a particularly apt domain for studying psychosocial stress. Professional musicians are expected to deliver high quality performances, of often well-known pieces, for audiences who have come to expect technical mastery and novel artistic insight. While the psychology of performance has been studied systematically for several decades, corresponding research into applied performance physiology, by contrast, is relatively limited. This seminar explores recent research into the experience and consequence of performance stress, looking specifically at musicians' cardiovascular and endocrinological responses to performing in public. It also introduces the Performance Simulator, an innovative new facility that allows musicians to develop and practise requisite performance skills.

The Romantic Rollercoaster: exploring expectations evoked on hearing a piece of music for the first time using evidence from a prodigious musical savant

  • Professor Adam Ockelford
  • Tuesday 24 November 2015
  • University of Cambridge
  • A prodigious musical savant (Derek Paravicini) attempted to reproduce a novel composition on the piano at the same time as hearing it. The piece was designed to minimise the impact of the more general expectations that arise from tonality, whereby different pitch transitions are felt to occur with different probabilities according to their level of past exposure. The design of the study was informed by 'zygonic' theory (Ockelford, 2012), which holds that structural regularities in music suggest future continuations, whose perceived likelihood of occurrence is proportional to the number of ways in which their existence is implied in what has gone before. Using this principle, a ‘strength of implication’ factor was calculated for each note of the stimulus piece (following the first). It was hypothesised that the higher the implication factor, the more likely Derek would predict its occurrence (and therefore play it correctly at the appropriate point in time). Data gathered from Derek’s performance support the principles of the zygonic model, although they also suggest certain refinements.

Past Seminars

  • Thursday 23 April, 5:15pm, Durrington Room, Royal College of Music
  • SEMPRE Seminar: Issues in Music Education and the Psychology of Music
  • Professor Graham Welch (UCL Institute of Education)
  • Graham Welch's research concerns musical development and music education, teacher education, the psychology of music, singing and voice science, and music in special education and disability. The only professional body encompassing research in both music education and music psychology, SEMPRE (Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research) provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and dissemination of research findings. This session explored the work of SEMPRE using Welch's own research as a model.

Coordinator: Lauren Hadley

My name is Lauren Hadley, I’m a second year PhD student at the University of Edinburgh Psychology department, and my focus is the relationship between music and language. Having become the Sempre student representative this year, I’m very keen to continue the work begun by Sarah Knight in the Sempre seminar initiative. Too few students know of the postgraduate opportunities offered by Sempre, and this is a great way of bringing the society to the people for which it is most relevant. I look forward to more universities becoming involved, and following successful seminars in Keele and Hull, have plans to run seminars across the UK over the coming few months.