Dr Michael Bonshor


Department of Music

Teaching Associate in Music Psychology

Course Director: MA Music Psychology in Education, Performance and Wellbeing

Man with glasses smiling at camera sitting on a chair

Full contact details

Dr Michael Bonshor
Department of Music
Jessop Building
Leavygreave Road
S3 7RD

After an early career as a professional singer with international contracts, I developed a diverse portfolio of work as a performer, teacher, conductor, choral arranger, and workshop leader. Alongside my research activities, I have maintained a well-established private teaching practice and taught extensively in schools, FE colleges and Higher Education Institutions, including York St John University and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

I received my PhD and MA in Music Psychology from the University of Sheffield, where I am currently the Course Director of the MA in Music Psychology in Education, Performance and Wellbeing, and an Honorary Research Fellow.  For my collaborative research with Brass Bands England, I was granted a SEMPRE Gerry Farrell Travelling Scholarship and, for my choral research, I was awarded an Early Career Fellowship with the Institute of Musical Research, Royal Holloway, University of London. 

I am a longstanding Fellow of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, a registered trainer for the British Association of Performing Arts Medicine, an Associate Member of the International Community Centre at York St John University, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Performing and teaching has included voice, piano, percussion (kit and hand drums), brass, recorders and ukulele, as and when required. Vocal roles have spanned the spectrum from Dr Blind in Die Fledermaus to Audrey II in The Little Shop of Horrors. I am a longstanding Fellow of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, and an Associate Member of the International Community Centre at York St John University.

Research interests

My research interests have principally been inspired by my professional experience as a musician, and my research projects have resulted in practical applications for performers, teachers, and conductors. I have published research on managing performance anxiety, confidence building, wellbeing in brass bands, singing and mental health, and music libraries in the UK and Ireland. My book, ‘The Confident Choir: A Handbook for Leaders of Group Singing’, brings together some of my research findings, along with an exploration of relevant psychological frameworks, and evidence-based practical strategies for developing confident performances.

As part of my Early Career Fellowship with the Institute of Musical Research, Royal Holloway, University of London, I organized an interactive choral research conference which gave emerging scholars an opportunity to demonstrate some of the practical applications of their research. My recently published book, ‘The Confident Choir: A Handbook for Leaders of Group Singing’, brings together research findings, relevant psychological frameworks and practical strategies for developing confidence amongst singers and conductors.

I have recently enjoyed working on a nationwide research project with the Music Libraries Trust, and I am currently co-investigator on the University of Derby’s study of singing, choir leadership and mental health. Practical applications of my research have included running music and wellbeing sessions for Sheffield’s Researcher Development Team, the Faculty of Social Sciences, Human Resources (Juice Health and Wellbeing), and the Department of Mechanical Engineering, as well as workshops and presentations in wider education, business, and community settings.



  • Bonshor M (2017) The Confident Choir A Handbook for Leaders of Group Singing. Rowman & Littlefield. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles

Book reviews

Professional activities


Bonshor, M. J. (2021). A survey of music library staff and music library users in the UK and Ireland: Current concerns and potential developments. Brio, the IAML (UK and Irl) journal, 58 (1), 12-27.

Bonshor, M. J. (2021). Collaborative learning and choral confidence: The role of peer interactions in building confident amateur choirs. Music Performance Research. Oxford Conducting Institute Special Edition, 10, 38.-56. http://musicperformanceresearch.org/

Bonshor, M. J. (2020). Communication for conductors: Insights from qualitative research. Choral Directions Research: International Research Journal of the Association of British Choral Directors, 1 (1). 

Williamson, V. J. & Bonshor, M. J. (2019). Wellbeing in brass bands: a new view on the benefits and challenges of group music making. Frontiers in Psychology: Performance Science https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01176/abstract

Bonshor, M. J. (2017). Conductor feedback and the amateur singer: the role of criticism and praise in building choral confidence. Research Studies in Music Education. DOI: 10.1177/1321103X17709630

Bonshor, M. J. (2016). Confidence and choral configuration: the affective impact of situational and acoustic factors in amateur choirs. Psychology of Music, DOI: 10.1177/0305735616669996.

Bonshor, M. J. (2016). Sharing knowledge and power in adult amateur choral communities: the impact of communal learning on the experience of musical participation. International Journal of Community Music, 9 (3). 291-306.


Bonshor, M. J. (2017). The Confident Choir: A Handbook for Leaders of Group Singing. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538102787/The-Confident-Choir-A-Handbook-for-Leaders-of-Group-Singing


Kreutz, G. & Bonshor, M. J. (2020). Ensembles for Wellbeing. In F. Bailes, H. Daffern and R. Timmers (Eds.), Together in Music. Oxford: OUP. (In press).

Bonshor, M. J. (2020). Conductors as teachers: The effects of verbal feedback on singers’ confidence, enjoyment, and performance quality. In H. Meissner and R. Timmers (Eds.), Sound Teaching: A Research-Informed Approach to Vocal and Instrumental Music Learning and Teaching. Abingdon: Taylor and Francis/Routledge. (In press).

Bonshor, M. J. (2014). Confidence and the choral singer: the choir as a community of practice. In U. Geisler and K. Johansson (Eds.), Choral singing: histories and practices. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 185-207.


Bonshor, M. J. (2013). Collaboration in the choral context: the contribution of conductor and choir to collective confidence. Proceedings of The International Symposium on Performance Science (ISPS 2013) held at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. 749-754.

Bonshor, M. J. (2013). Choral confidence: some effects of choir configuration, cohesion and collaboration. Proceedings of The Phenomenon of Singing International Symposium IX, held at Memorial University, St John’s, Newfoundland.


Bonshor, M. J. (2017). The Oxford Textbook of Creative Arts, Health, and Wellbeing by S. Clift and P. M. Camic. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Psychology of Music, 45 (6), 910 - 912. doi.org/10.1177/0305735617727649 

Bonshor, M. J. (2017). Singing in the Lower Secondary School by M. Ashley. Oxford: Oxford University Press. British Journal of Music Education, 34 (1), 115-117. doi: 10.1017/S0265051716000437.

Bonshor, M. J. (2016). Playing Scared: My Journey through Stage Fright by S. Solovitch. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. Psychology of Music, 44 (6), 1522-1524.

Bonshor, M. J. (2016). A Different Voice, a Different Song: Reclaiming Community through the Natural Voice and World Song by C. Bithell. New York: Oxford University Press. British Journal of Music Education, 33 (1), 119-122.

Bonshor, M. J. (2016). Advanced Musical Performance: Investigations in Higher Education Learning. Editors I. Papageorgi & G. Welch, G. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited. Psychology of Music, 44 (1), 148-151.

Bonshor, M. J. (2014) A History of Singing by J. Potter and N. Sorrell (2012). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. British Journal of Music Education, 31 (2), 236-238.

Bonshor, M. J. (2011). How High Should Boys Sing? by M. Ashley (2009). Farnham: Ashgate. British Journal of Music Education, 28 (30), 396-397.