Dr. William R. Lee, professor and coordinator of Music Education, shared developments in his field with delegates from Europe and South America at the 2nd European Conference on Developmental Psychology of Music at Roehampton University, London, UK.
Lee was leader of a session on early musical development and he presented the paper “The Psychology of Charles Hubert Farnsworth.”
“This was an honor for me and gave me an opportunity to hear reports on cutting edge developments in the psychology of music and music learning, from studies of the musical preferences of European teenagers to sophisticated studies concerning music and the brain. European governments are supporting musical research to a high degree and work in Italy, Sweden, Finland, and Great Britain is especially strong.
“There are opportunities, especially in understanding how the human mind works through the medium of music. Work with infants and speech-music relationships are being explored. It is an extremely broad and important field with implications for other areas of inquiry. Much of the research overseas is by researchers with limited performance experience in music but with perhaps a larger grasp of the total field. In the United States such work has been more functional, more directed at music teaching and much more oriented in the direction of behavioral analysis. Here brain and biologically-oriented studies are being made by specialists in neuropsychology and artificial intelligence, and they often do not communicate with musicians and music teachers. Things are fairly divided up. Not so much so in Europe.
“There is huge overlap between music education and the psychology of music. It is a fruitful field for teachers, as it informs their teaching. We maintain courses and seminars at UTC for our graduate students, and some of our students have completed related research. We believe we are strong in this area,” Lee said.
The conference was sponsored by the University of Roehampton and The Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE) of the UK of which Dr. Lee is a member.
Lee has toured in Europe with UTC brass ensembles in 2003 and 2005 and spoke at the University of Reading in 2006 and at a conference at the University of Sheffield in 2007. He has been a conductor and teacher of bands, orchestras, and choirs.
Lee serves on several editorial boards and has been on the board of the Journal of Research in Music Education, the leading research journal in the field.