Dr Elsa Perdomo Guevara

Department of Music

Honorary Research Fellow


Full contact details

Dr Elsa Perdomo Guevara
Department of Music
Jessop Building
Leavygreave Road
S3 7RD

My purpose is to help individuals perform at their best, keep their inspiration alive and find fulfilment in their activities. As a researcher, I am particularly interested in musicians’ wellbeing, and I aim to identify the factors that may promote it. I am also interested in pinpointing the impact that the conservatoire culture may have on the emotion and cognition of music students.

I studied music at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, where I obtained the 1st Prize for Piano and 1st Prize for Chamber Music, after which I received the most advanced training as a pianist (Cycle de perfectionnement de piano). I played as a soloist and in ensembles in Brazil, France, Chile, South Africa and Uruguay.

I taught at several conservatoires in France (Paris X and Paris XV, Chennevières-sur-Marne, Valbonne and Nice), at a conservatoire I founded and directed in South Africa (Conservatoire Maurice Ravel in Johannesburg, created in association with the French School), and at the School of Music and Fine Arts of Parana in Curitiba, Brazil, in addition to private practice.

I have always been fascinated by the human mind; this is why I took up studies in psychology and education at UNISA (University of South Africa), obtaining a Bachelor of Arts. Afterwards, I discovered the field of psychology of music, and this led me to the University of Sheffield.

For my Master’s degree, I sought to identify common elements in the narratives of three professional musicians who love to perform. For my PhD, I studied the quality of performance experiences of more than six hundred musicians, seeking to understand how the emotions and thoughts that they reported related to their performance experiences. Based on my findings, I created an on-line course aimed at helping musicians feel more confident, joyful and inspired during their performances. Analysis of a pre-intervention and two post-intervention questionnaires showed that, after the intervention, performers reported statistically significant increases in the perceived quality of their performance, joy, confidence, inspiration and connection with the audience, and a decrease in anxiety.

Research interests
  • The psychological wellbeing of performers.
  • The relationship between meaning, purpose and inspiration, and the quality of music-making and the performance experience.
  • Optimal performance.
  • The relationship between music students’ achievements and the satisfaction of their psychological needs.
  • Narrative and emotion.
  • Professional musicians and fulfilment.
  • Narratives, images and the expressivity of the body.
  • The conservatoire culture and the rethinking of music education for the 21st Century.

Current projects

I currently live in Madrid and I work presenting workshops in conservatoires to disseminate research. I am also part of the executive committee of the Spanish Association of the Psychology of Music and Music Performance (AEPMIM), and a member of the organising committee of the 2nd International Conference on the Psychology of Music that will be held in Madrid in 2020.

I am working on a project that aims to help conservatoires to become ‘excellent’ organisations. This means, institutions that ask for the feedback of their stakeholders and that seek to respond to their expectations and needs (which includes their psychological needs).