Dr Michael Bonshor

Department of Music

Teaching Associate in Music Psychology

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


Full contact details

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

I received my PhD and MA in Music Psychology from the University of Sheffield, after a diverse career as a performer, teacher, conductor, choral arranger, and workshop leader. I have performed as a professional singer and accompanist, run my own professional theatre company, and worked as a musical director on a wide range of projects, alongside maintaining a well-established private teaching practice.

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 current work at the University of Sheffield includes teaching on the MA Psychology of Music course, alongside completing a research project in collaboration between Sheffield’s Music and Wellbeing unit and Brass Bands England, for which I have been awarded a SEMPRE Gerry Farrell Travelling Scholarship. As an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Music, I am also exploring ways of optimising the wellbeing benefits of musical participation, alongside considering strategies for increasing inclusion in musical leisure activities.

My interest in Music Psychology has largely been inspired by my professional experience as a musician, and my research projects have resulted in practical applications for performers, teachers and conductors. During previous research, I have focused on the management of performance anxiety amongst adult amateur singers, and explored confidence building strategies for choral singers.

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.

One of my interests is in the potential practical applications of music psychology for non-musicians, as well as for musicians, and I am working on several projects to explore this. In 2017 I contributed to the development of a Psychological Resilience Training Programme in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, using singing-related techniques for relaxation and stress release, as well as the application of performance psychology to public speaking and presentation skills.

I am now contributing to the development of a new University-wide Music and Wellbeing programme for students, in collaboration with Sheffield’s Counselling and Psychological Wellbeing Service.


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