Meet the wonderful people working on Music & Wellbeing projects!

Dr Victoria Williamson is the Director of Music & Wellbeing.

She is a Lecturer in Music Psychology at the University of Sheffield and teaches on the MA degree in Psychology of Music. She also runs an undergraduate module called 'Music & Wellbeing'. Her research focuses on the relationship between music cognition and applied music pyschology, with a view to optimising wellbeing. She is an expert in the psychology of music in memory. She runs the popular educational blog and is author of 'You Are The Music' (2014). Follow her on Twitter!


Dr Elena Alessandri is a research fellow at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Her research interests lie in the psychology of performance, sociology and psychology of music consumption, and the appreciation and evaluation of music performance. Follow her on Twitter!

Elena has a background in performance and research with a Diploma in Piano and a MA in Music Pedagogy, followed by a PhD in Performance Science at the Royal College of Music with a project on the nature of critical review judgements. As a Research Associate of Music and Wellbeing, Elena is working with Vicky on a project investigating the relationship between critical review and consumer responses (funded by SNSF from 2016-2019).
Dr Michael Bonshor gained his PhD and MA in Music Psychology from the University of Sheffield, after a long and varied career as a performer, teacher and conductor. He started his musical life as a pianist and brass player, became a professional singer, ran his own professional theatre company, and has worked as a choral conductor and musical director.

Michael teaches on Sheffield’s Psychology of Music MA course and holds an Honorary Research Fellowship in the Music Department. He has also been awarded an Early Career Research Fellowship with the Institute of Musical Research, Royal Holloway, University of London. Michael has joined the Music and Wellbeing unit as a Research Associate working with Vicky, in collaboration with Brass Bands England, on a project focusing on the wellbeing of brass players.


Jessica Crich is an accomplished pianist, holding an A.B.R.S.M. Diploma in advanced piano performance and actively performing in the Sheffield area. As an undergraduate music student at The University of Sheffield (2013), Jessica was awarded the Mrs. Stewart Blake prize for obtaining the highest overall mark in the final examination of the degree of Bachelor of Music. She went on to gain an MA in Psychology of Music, supported by a Julian Payne Scholarship.

As part of Music and Wellbeing, Jessica worked as the research assistant on a University of Sheffield RIS funded Innovation, Impact and Knowledge Exchange (IIKE) project investigating live music interventions in residential dementia care. This project formed the foundation of her PhD research from 2015-2019, which focused on enhancing the use of live music interventions in dementia care environments by virtue of improving understanding related to key stakeholder roles within residential dementia care.

Her main research interests are music and dementia care, the use of live music interventions in care environments, and musicians working in healthcare settings. As of 2020, Jessica is an affiliated postdoctoral fellow within Music & Wellbeing.
Dr. Nora Schaal gained her PhD in Psychology at the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf (Germany) in 2015 and currently works as a research associate and postdoc at the University of Düsseldorf. She holds an MSc (Distinction) in Music, Mind, and Brain from Goldsmiths, University of London as well as an undergraduate degree and MMus from the Folkwang University of Arts in Essen (Germany). Her research interests include the effects of music in pregnancy and during birth as well as exploring musical memory and its underlying neural network.

As part of Music and Wellbeing, Nora is working on the Music and Motherhood project with Vicky Williamson which studies the motivations behind early music engagement between first time mothers and their babies in the early months of life. Her appointment to Music and Wellbeing in 2018 - 2019 was funded by an HeRA Travel Grant from the University of Düsseldorf. She is applying her expert knowledge of music in motherhood and pregnancy to the development of a scheduled interview study that will for the first time explore the varying reasons why mothers choose to include music in their everyday lives with their babies, as well as compare these choices to other cultural/ social activities linked to mother baby bonding and child development.


Michaela Korte holds an MSc in Music, Mind and Brain from Goldsmiths, University of London and completed her undergraduate studies in Musicology at the WWU Münster, while also studying voice at the State Conservatoire Essen. She is an accomplished soprano having performed at venues such as the Prinzregententheater, Staatsoper unter den Linden, Birmingham Festival Hall, the Edinburgh Festival, and the Cincinnati Festival of Music.

As a PhD Associate Member of the new Music and Wellbeing unit, Michaela joins from the Royal College of Music, where her research into depression in music students was supported by an Elizabeth Van Someran Sherrard and a Stanbridge Drake-Brockman Award. Her research interests include musicians’ wellbeing and psychology of performance.


Dr Georgina Floridou was a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Music in the University of Sheffield from 2016-2019. She worked on a 3-year research project about involuntary musical imagery (music that appears in the mind involuntarily and repeatedly) and ageing, under the mentoring of Dr. Victoria Williamson.

Georgina holds an undergraduate degree from the Psychology Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and an MSc and PhD in cognitive psychology (Music, Mind and Brain research group) from Goldsmiths, University of London (UK). Her research lies at the intersection of cognitive psychology, music psychology, and neuroscience, aiming to understand the cognitive mechanisms, which underlie the experiences of mental imagery, music listening, and spontaneous thoughts and how they can be harnessed in health and wellbeing.
Dr. Kathryn Emerson graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, with a joint honours degree in Music and Psychology. Her dissertation, supervised by Dr Alison Woodcock, explored personality differences between musicians who prefer to perform as soloists, chamber musicians or in large ensembles. In 2012, she completed her Masters in Music, Mind and Brain, with distinction, at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her dissertation, supervised by Dr Vicky Williamson, investigated the evolution of music through sexual selection. Following her master’s degree she worked with Dr Marcus Pearce and Professor Geraint Wiggins on an EPSRC-funded project studying Information and Neural Dynamics in the Perception of Musical Structure, where she examined preferences and expectations in an unfamiliar music genre (Turkish) using the computational modelling programme IDyOM (Information Dynamics Of Music).

Kathryn was based in the Department of Human Communication Sciences at the University of Sheffield from 2015-2018, where she earned her PhD investigating the interaction between choirs and conductors, and how we talk and gesture about music, supervised jointly by Professor Ray Wilkinson and Dr Vicky Williamson. Since 2019 she has been a Lecturer in Psychology at City Universiity in London (UK)
Dr. Kelly Jakubowski gained her PhD in psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2015 and currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Durham. She holds an MSc (Distinction) in Music, Mind, and Brain from Goldsmiths and MM/MA degrees in violin performance and music theory from the Ohio State University. Her research interests include musical imagery, musical memory, and absolute pitch (AP).

As part of Music and Wellbeing, Kelly is working on the Music and Memory project with Vicky and her colleagues at the Eastman School of Music (USA). Her RA appointment in 2015 - 2016 was funded by the Experimental Psychological Society. She is applying her expert knowledge of AP and memory to the development of a testing battery that is being used to assess the phenomenology of AP experience.
Tabitha Trahan is a graduate of the Music, Mind, and Brain MSc program at Goldsmiths, University of London. She received a Bachelors of Science in Biology from the University of Vermont. She joined the Music and Wellbeing unit in 2015 in order to conduct research on the effect of music on sleep (in collaboration with Dr Simon Durrant, University of Lincoln and Dr Daniel Müllensiefen, Goldsmiths, University of London).
Dr. Larissa Padula Ribeiro da Fonseca holds a joint BA honours degree in Music Education and Sound Production at the Federal University of Paraná, Brazil. She has a Masters in Music Education with upgrade to PhD, in progress, at Federal University of Bahia, Brazil under the supervision of Prof Diana Santiago. She was awarded a scholarship from CAPES Foundation, an agency under the Ministry of Education in Brazil, to conduct part of her doctoral research as a Visiting Scholar at University of Sheffield, supervised by Dr. Victoria Williamson.

Her research involves studying children’s perception and cognition as they relate to musical education and performance skills. As part of Music and Wellbeing, Larissa worked on children’s memory and musical practice. She is planning to apply her research findings to improve wellbeing in children’s musical practice.