The research project is international and multi-sited. The team connects researchers in Norway and the UK. The research is being conducted in care homes and hospices in both countries.

We are an interdisciplinary team of music therapists (Gary Ansdell, Randi Rolvsjord, Wolfgang Schmid, Fraser Simpson), a community musician (Heather Edwards), and a sociologist of music (Tia DeNora). We are investigating music’s role in scenes of care in late, and end, of life from the point of view of musical participants. There has been a great deal of research that shows that music can be useful in situations of care. Our project reverses the question and asks, Why Do People Care for Music and how does this Care help in challenging situations?


Principle Investigator

Professor Tia DeNora

Tia is Professor of Sociology of Music in the Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology at the University of Exeter. Her work examines music in everyday life, the history of music reception, and music in relation to wellbeing and health. She has published widely on music in everyday life, wellbeing and research methodology. She is Principle Investigator on this project.


Professor Gary Ansdell

Gary has been in music therapy for 30 years – as practitioner, trainer and researcher. Through the many different client groups he’s worked with he’s been consistently fascinated by the depth of people’s commitment to their music-making, and their care for music – both in music therapy and everyday life. This project is a culmination of his interest in this aspect.

Gary is currently Senior Research Fellow and Honorary Professor at Exeter University, Professor at the University of Bergen, Adjunct Professor at University of Limerick, and an Associate of Nordoff Robbins, UK.

For the project he works as a music therapist in two care homes (in London and Norwich).

Professor Randi Rolvsjord

Randi is Professor and Head of the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen. Her pioneering research has called attention to client perspectives in music therapy – and what they contribute that makes music therapy ‘work’. Linked to this focus, Randi has been deeply concerned with the politics of music therapy and health care more widely. Her particular perspective highlights the various resources that clients and music therapist bring, mutually, to the therapeutic musical event.

Professor Wolfgang Schmid

Wolfgang is Professor of Music Therapy at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen. He has been practising music therapy for 25 years and has a special interest in medical contexts and home-based settings. He is internationally recognized for his work on improvisational music therapy with people with Multiple Sclerosis as well as people with neurodegenerative diseases or neurological trauma and their families in home-based care. His research makes use of a range of qualitative methodologies including video analysis.

Project collaborators and partners

Heather Edwards

Heather is a lecturer, piano teacher, and Come Singing leader. She is also the originator of Music Mirrors for people living with dementia.

Music Mirrors are toolkits, made with and for vulnerable people, of brief written life story with cues of sounds and music embedded. Written as emails, they are digitally portable, to be stored and shared as needed to provide comfort and information at times of change or transition. 

Fraser Simpson

Fraser is Regional Manager for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy (South West & South Wales region) and Music Therapist at Mountbatten Hospice, Isle of Wight. He is a music therapist with over twenty years of experience. Fraser trained as an organist and has degrees in music, performance, and music therapy from Oxford, Royal Academy of Music, and Nordoff Robbins, UK.

International Advisory Board

The Project Advisory Board consists of leading experts in music therapy and palliative care, and user representatives from each of the research sites. It is a highly active and committed group who will advise on ethics and data collection/analysis, publications and impact. Its academic members are:

Professors Brynjulf Stige, GAMUT, The Grieg Academy, university of Bergen

Professor Jill Halstead, GAMUT, The Grieg Academy, university of Bergen

Dr Simon Procter, Nordoff Robbins, London

Dr Stuart Wood, MBE, The Guildhall School of Music

Mr Nigel Hartley, CEO, Earl Mountbatten Hospice, Isle of Wight

%d bloggers like this: