Dr Michael Bonshor PhD MA BA (Hons) Dip RSA FISM

Picture of Michael Bonshor

Department of Music
The University of Sheffield
Jessop Building
34 Leavygreave Road
S3 7RD

Email: m.bonshor@sheffield.ac.uk


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.

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.

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.

Research interests

  • Music and wellbeing
  • Conducting and musical facilitation
  • Optimal performance and confidence building
  • Group dynamics and collaborative processes
  • Amateur musical participation and community music
  • Life-span learning and inclusion

Selected Publications

Williamson, V. J. & Bonshor, M. J. (2018). Wellbeing in brass bands: a new view on the benefits and challenges of group music making. (In preparation)

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

Bonshor, M. J. (2017). The Sloop John B. An arrangement for SATB choir. Published by Tim Knight Music: http://www.spartanpress.co.uk/spweb/details.php?catno=TKM817

Bonshor, M. J. (2017). 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. (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). 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. (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.