Centre for Performance Science



Study Opportunities

Aaron Williamon

Aaron Williamon is Professor of Performance Science at the Royal College of Music, where he heads the Centre for Performance Science. His research focuses on skilled performance and applied scientific initiatives that inform music learning and teaching.  

Aaron is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the UK's Higher Education Academy, and in 2008, he was elected an Honorary Member of the Royal College of Music.

Email: aaron.williamon@rcm.ac.uk 


  • BMus 1 Professional Skills 
  • BMus 2 Psychology of Music 
  • MSc in Performance Science

Current projects



Ascenso S, Perkins R, & Williamon A (forthcoming), Understanding the psychological wellbeing of professional musicians through the lens of Positive Psychology, Psychology of Music

Fancourt D, Perkins R, Ascenso S, Atkins L, Kilfeather S, Carvalho L, Steptoe A, & Williamon A (forthcoming), Group drumming modulates cytokine response in mental health service users: A preliminary study, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.


Fancourt D, Aufegger L, & Williamon A (2015), Low-stress and high-stress singing have contrasting effects on glucocorticoid response, Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1-5. [DOI]

Alessandri E, Williamson VJ, Eiholzer H, & Williamon A (2015), Beethoven recordings reviewed: A systematic method for mapping the content of music performance criticism, Frontiers in Psychology, 6(57), 1-14 [DOI].

Perkins R, Aufegger L, & Williamon A (2015), Learning through teaching: Exploring what conservatoire students learn from teaching beginner older adults, International Journal of Music Education, 33, 80-90 [DOI].  


Alessandri E, Eiholzer H, & Williamon A (2014), Reviewing critical practice: An analysis of Gramophone's reviews of Beethoven's piano sonatas, 1923-2010, Musicae Scientiae, 18, 131-149 [DOI]

Clark T, Lisboa T, & Williamon A (2014), An investigation into musicians' thoughts and perceptions during performance, Research Studies in Music Education, 36, 19-37 [DOI]

Clark T, Lisboa T, & Williamon A (2014), Learning to be an instrumental musician, in I Papageorgi & G Welch (eds), Advanced Musical Performance: Investigations in Higher Education Learning (pp. 287-300), Ashgate. 

Perkins R & Williamon A (2014), Learning to make music in older adulthood: A mixed-methods exploration of impacts on wellbeing, Psychology of Music, 42, 550-567 [DOI]

Williamon A (2014), Implications for education, in D Fabian, R Timmers, & E Schubert (eds.), Expressiveness in Music Performance: Empirical Approaches Across Styles and Cultures (pp. 348-351), Oxford University Press. 

Williamon A, Aufegger L, & Eiholzer H (2014), Simulating and stimulating performance: Introducing distributed simulation to enhance musical learning and performance, Frontiers in Psychology, 5(25), 1-9 [DOI]


Clark T, Williamon A, & Redding E (2013), The value of health screening in music schools and conservatoires, Clinical Rheumatology, 32, 497-500 [DOI]

Ritchie L & Williamon A (2013), Measuring musical self-regulation: Linking processes, skills, and beliefs, Journal of Education and Training Studies, 1, 106-117 [DOI]

Williamon A, Aufegger L, Wasley D, Looney D, & Mandic DP (2013), Complexity of physiological responses decreases in high stress musical performance, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 10(89), 1-6 [DOI]

Williamon A & Goebl W (eds.) (2013), Proceedings of the International Symposium on Performance Science 2013, European Association of Conservatoires [ISBN 9782960137804]

Wöllner C, Ginsborg J, & Williamon A (2013), Familiarity and reflexivity in the research process, in E King & H Daynes (eds.), Music and Familiarity: Listening, Musicology, and Performance (pp. 175-195), Ashgate. 


Clark T & Williamon A (2012), Imagining the music: Methods for assessing musical imagery ability, Psychology of Music, 40, 471-493 [DOI]

Clark T, Williamon A, & Aksentijevic A (2012), Musical imagery and imagination: The function, measurement, and application of imagery skills for performance, in DJ Hargreaves, DE Miell, & RAR MacDonald (eds.), Musical Imaginations: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Creativity, Performance, and Perception (pp. 351-365), Oxford University Press. 

Ginsborg J, Spahn C, & Williamon A (2012), Health promotion in higher music education, in RAR MacDonald, G Kreutz, & L Mitchell (eds.), Music, Health, and Wellbeing (pp. 356-366), Oxford University Press. 

Ritchie L & Williamon A (2012), Self-efficacy as a predictor of musical performance quality, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 6, 334-340 [DOI].  

Wasley D, Taylor A, Backx K, & Williamon A (2012), Influence of fitness and physical activity on cardiovascular reactivity to musical performance, Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment, and Rehabilitation, 41, 27-32 [DOI]

Williamon A, Perkins R, Ritchie L, & Thompson S (2012), Premiers pas en musique: Étude de l’engagement des enfants vis-à-vis de la musique [Musical beginnings: A study of children’s engagement with music], in M Richelle & R Wangermée (eds.), Musique et Sciences de l'esprit [Music and the Sciences of the Mind] (pp. 123-137), Académie Royale de Belgique [Royal Academy of Belgium]. 


Clark T & Williamon A (2011), Evaluation of a mental skills training program for musicians, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 23, 342-359 [DOI]

Ritchie L & Williamon A (2011), Measuring distinct types of musical self-efficacy, Psychology of Music, 39, 328-344 [DOI]

Ritchie L & Williamon A (2011), Primary school children’s self-efficacy for music learning, Journal of Research in Music Education, 59, 146-161 [DOI]

Williamon A, Edwards D, & Bartel L (eds.) (2011), Proceedings of the International Symposium on Performance Science 2011, European Association of Conservatoires [ISBN 9789490306021]

Wöllner C, Ginsborg J, & Williamon A (2011), Music researchers’ musical engagement, Psychology of Music, 39, 364-382 [DOI]


Ginsborg J, Kreutz G, Thomas M, & Williamon A (2009), Healthy behaviours in music and non-music performance students, Health Education109, 242-258 [DOI]

Kreutz G, Ginsborg J, & Williamon A (2009), Health-promoting behaviours in conservatoire students, Psychology of Music, 37, 47-60 [DOI]

Rosenkranz K, Butler K, Williamon A, & Rothwell JC (2009), Regaining motor control in musician's dystonia by restoring sensorimotor organization, Journal of Neuroscience, 29, 14627-14636 [DOI]

Williamon A, Pretty S, & Buck R (eds.) (2009), Proceedings of the International Symposium on Performance Science 2009, European Association of Conservatoires [ISBN 9789490306014]


Kreutz G, Ginsborg J, & Williamon A (2008), Music students’ health problems and health-promoting behaviors, Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 23, 3-11. 

Rosenkranz K, Butler K, Williamon A, Cordivari C, Lees AJ, & Rothwell JC (2008), Sensorimotor reorganization by proprioceptive training in musician's dystonia and writer's cramp, Neurology, 70, 304-315 [DOI]

Stewart L & Williamon A (2008), What are the implications of neuroscience for musical education?, Educational Research50, 177-186 [DOI]


Thompson S, Williamon A, & Valentine E (2007), Time-dependent characteristics of performance evaluation, Music Perception25, 13-29 [DOI]

Rosenkranz K, Williamon A, & Rothwell JC (2007), Motorcortical excitability and synaptic plasticity is enhanced in professional musicians, Journal of Neuroscience, 27, 5200-5206 [DOI]

Williamon A (2007), The art of musical memory, Studien zur Wertungsforschung, 47, 30-41. 

Williamon A & Coimbra D (eds.) (2007), Proceedings of the International Symposium on Performance Science 2007, European Association of Conservatoires [ISBN 9789090224848]

Wöllner C & Williamon A (2007), An exploratory study of the role of performance feedback and musical imagery in piano playing, Research Studies in Music Education29, 39-54 [DOI]


McPherson GE & Williamon A (2006), Giftedness and talent, in GE McPherson (ed.), The Child as Musician: A Handbook of Musical Development (pp. 239-256), Oxford University Press. 

Williamon A & Thompson S (2006), Awareness and incidence of health problems among conservatoire students, Psychology of Music, 34, 411-430 [DOI]

Williamon A, Thompson S, Lisboa T, & Wiffen C (2006), Creativity, originality, and value in music performance, in I Deliège & G Wiggins (eds.), Musical Creativity: Multidisciplinary Research in Theory and Practice (pp. 161-180), Psychology Press. 


Lisboa T, Williamon A, Zicari M, & Eiholzer H (2005), Mastery through imitation: A preliminary study, Musicae Scientiae, 9, 75-110 [DOI]

Rosenkranz K, Williamon A, Butler K, Cordivari C, Lees AJ, & Rothwell JC (2005), Pathophysiological differences between musician's dystonia and writer's cramp, Brain,128, 918-931 [DOI]


Williamon A (ed.) (2004), Musical Excellence: Strategies and Techniques to Enhance Performance, Oxford University Press [ISBN 9780198525356]

Williamon A & Egner T (2004), Memory structures for encoding and retrieving a piece of music: An ERP investigation, Cognitive Brain Research, 22, 36-44 [DOI]

Williamon A & Thompson S (2004), Psychology and the music practitioner, in JW Davidson (ed.), The Music Practitioner: Research for the Music Performer, Teacher, and Listener (pp. 9-26), Ashgate. 


Lindström E, Juslin PN, Bresin R, & Williamon A (2003), ‘Expressivity comes from within your soul’: A questionnaire study of music students' perspectives on expressivity, Research Studies in Music Education, 20, 23-47 [DOI]

Thompson S & Williamon A (2003), Evaluating evaluation: Musical performance assessment as a research tool, Music Perception, 21, 21-41 [DOI]


Aiello R & Williamon A (2002), Memory, in R Parncutt & GE McPherson (eds.), The Science and Psychology of Music Performance: Creative Strategies for Teaching and Learning (pp. 167-181), Oxford University Press. 

Williamon A (2002), Memorising music, in J Rink (ed.), Musical Performance: A Guide to Understanding (pp. 113-126), Cambridge University Press. 

Williamon A & Davidson JW (2002), Exploring co-performer communication, Musicae Scientiae, 6, 53-72 [DOI]

Williamon A & Valentine E (2002), The role of retrieval structures in memorizing music, Cognitive Psychology, 44, 1-32 [DOI]

Williamon A, Valentine E, & Valentine J (2002), Shifting the focus of attention between levels of musical structure, European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 14, 493-520 [DOI]


Williamon A & Valentine E (2000), Quantity and quality of musical practice as predictors of performance quality, British Journal of Psychology, 91, 353-376 [DOI]


Williamon A (1999), The value of performing from memory, Psychology of Music, 27, 84-95 [DOI]

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Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BS. Tel: +44(0)20 7591 4300 Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BS.
Tel: +44(0)20 7591 4300
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