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Sara Ascenso

Sara Ascenso is a PhD candidate focusing on musicians' mental health. Sara holds a Licentiate degree in clinical psychology from the University of Lisbon, a BMus in piano performance from the National Superior Orchestra Academy of the Metropolitan Orchestra of Lisbon, and an MSc in Performance Science from the RCM. Before starting her PhD research, Sara maintained regular professional activity as a psychologist both in clinical settings and within diverse educational projects and as a collaborative pianist and piano teacher.

Side-by-side with her PhD, Sara has been involved with other research projects looking into music for mental health (as a Research Associate at the Centre for Performance Science), the psychology of professional integration in music (with the Negaunee Music Institute - Chicago Symphony Orchestra) and the psychological impact of community music engagement (with London Music Masters). Sara received a Finzi Trust Award in 2015 with which she also developed research looking into music in prisons. She is currently a Learning Support Advisor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where she designs interventions aimed at optimizing musicians’ learning, in particular for musicians with specific learning needs. At the RCM Sara lectures across several modules run by the Centre for Performance Science. She also lectures at King’s College London and at the University of Lisbon, where she leads one of the units of the Executive Masters in Applied Positive Psychology. Sara is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


See Sara profile on Research Gate. Visit website

Faculties / departments: Research


Latest Publications

Ascenso, S. and Williamon, A. and Perkins, R. (2015) Understanding the wellbeing of professional musicians through the lens of Positive Psychology. Psychology of Music. ISSN 0305-7356 (In Press)


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Sara Ascenso

Research Student