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Dr Michelle Phillips - ILAS Grand Challenges lecture

Dr Michelle Phillips



Why is a live music experience so special?

Wednesday 26 April 2023 6.00 - 7.00pm
Salvin Room, Keele Hall and Online via Microsoft Teams

The latest in a series of 'Grand Challenges' lectures from the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences.



Detailed Description

The latest in a series of Grand Challenges lectures from the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


The COVID-19 pandemic deprived us of many aspects of daily life, including coming together to share a performance experience, such as a live music concert or gig. Multiple studies have revealed how much we missed live music during this period, and how our experiences of watching live broadcasts and livestreams were no replacement for in-person attendance. This lecture will discuss recent research undertaken to explore why we value live music so highly, and what it is about this experience that cannot be replicated by a livestreamed performance. Data reveal that a live music experience is not only about the atmosphere, sense of immersion, and physical presence of the event, but also about sharing an experience with other listeners, and with the performers. These findings link to research on the role of music in social bonding, and music as a communal experience. A recent study which used electroencephalography and galvanic skin response measures to look at different neurological and physiological responses to live and recorded music will also be discussed. This study sought to examine whether our non-conscious brain and body responses differ when we experience live vs livestreamed performance, and to further evidence the reason live music holds such a special place in many people’s lives. Overall, this lecture will draw together past and current research on our perceived value of live music, and our conscious and non-conscious responses to a live experience, and suggest implications for listeners, performers, the music industry, and others.


Michelle is a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of Undergraduate Programmes at the Royal Northern College of Music. Her research interests include music and time, perception of contemporary music, audience response to live and recorded music, entrepreneurship, and music and Parkinson’s. She is Principal Investigator of the cross-institution StART Entrepreneurship Project, and is co-lead with Manchester Camerata for a project examining physiological, behavioural and neurological response to live and recorded music, a project funded by the Centre for Cultural Value, University of Leeds.

This lecture will be available in person as well as online via Microsoft Teams.  For those attending in person, refreshments will be available from 5.30pm onwards.  

For those attending online, please register (by no later than 4.00pm on the day of the lecture) and joining instructions with further information will follow ahead of the lecture. 

This lecture is free and all are welcome to attend.

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