My Research: PhD in Musicology

PhD Researcher Shen Li
Shen Li
PhD researcher
Piano Timbre Perception and Production
PhD researcher Shen Li shares her experiences of studying at Sheffield.

Shen is from China and is a PhD student in the Department of Music researching ‘Piano Timbre Perception and Production'. She holds a B.A (Musicology) from the University of Henan (China) and an MA (2013-2014) and MMus (2014-2016) in Psychology of Music from University of Sheffield.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Sheffield?

The University of Sheffield is well known in the UK for its high standard of teaching quality and the global impact of its research. I came to Sheffield in 2013 to study Psychology of Music. The University of Sheffield is one of the few universities that has both master and PhD programmes in the Psychology of Music.

What are you currently researching as part of your PhD?

I am focusing on piano performance but from a psychological perspective, such as the conception of sounds and the mind/body relationship as a pianist when perceiving and producing piano timbre.

PhD researcher Shen Li

Tell us about being a postgraduate in the department.

The department has a nice working and studying environment for postgraduate students. I feel welcomed and supported by the native students and staff in our department. Research students also have access to a PG lab with hot desks in the department.

The music department of the University of Sheffield has diverse research areas such as music psychology, performance studies, ethnomusicology, electronic composition apart from traditional musicology courses.


The department has a nice working and studying environment for postgraduate students. I feel welcomed and supported by the native students and staff in our department.

Shen Li

PhD researcher


The academic staff in our department are working on distinct research areas. This gives master students more opportunities to choose their future research areas when considering applying for a PhD.

Apart from regular courses (supervision, seminar, and lecture), we also have chances to do working placement and attend academic conference.

What is your highlight of living in Sheffield so far?

Sheffield is a perfect place for living and study, as it is quite peaceful and the people of Sheffield are warm and nice. I love the football culture here and will watch live football game every month, which gives me a strong connection with local people.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking of doing a research degree in Sheffield?

My top tip is to enhance your research ability, for instance reading relevant handbooks in your research area before coming to study.

What are your plans after your PhD?

I will go back to China and find a career at the university - teaching and working in psychology of music.

Postgraduate open days

Find out what its like to study as a postgraduate student in Sheffield - visit the Department of Music on one of our upcoming open days.

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