Raymond MacDonald


Raymond was Head of Music 2013-2016 and Professor of Music Psychology and Improvisation at The University of Edinburgh. Prior to this position he was a Professor in the Psychology Department at Glasgow Caledonian University where he led the Glasgow Caledonian Music Psychology Research Group for 12 years.   After completing his PhD at the University of Glasgow, investigating therapeutic applications of music, he worked as Artistic Director for a music company, Sounds of Progress, specialising in working with people who have special needs.


His ongoing research focuses on issues relating to improvisation, musical communication, music health and wellbeing, music education and musical identities. He studies the processes and outcomes of music participation and music listening and has a particular interest in collaborative creativity. His work is informed by a view of improvisation as a social, collaborative and uniquely creative process that provides opportunities to develop new ways of working musically. His work also contributes to debates highlighting the ubiquitous importance of music, stressing that everybody has a biological and social guarantee of musicianship. He runs music workshops and lectures internationally and has published over 70 peer reviewed papers and book chapters.


He has co-edited five texts, Musical Identities (2002) and Musical Communication (2005), Musical Imaginations (2012) and Music Health & Wellbeing (2012), The Handbook of Musical Identities (2016) and was editor of the journal Psychology of Music between 2006 and 2012. He is an associate editor for The International Journal of Music Education, Jazz Research Journal, Research Studies in Music Education, Musicae Scientiae and The Journal of Music Therapy.


Link to Raymond’s webpage at University of Edinburgh



Selected publications


MacDonald R.A.R, Miell D & Hargreaves D.J.  EDS (in press). The Oxford Handbook of Musical Identities Oxford: Oxford University Press

MacDonald R.A.R &. Wilson, G.B. (2016).  Billy Connolly, Daniel Barenboim, Willie Wonka, Jazz Bastards and the universality of improvisation In G. Lewis  & Ben Piekut (Eds.),  Oxford Handbook of Critical Improvisation Studies.  New York: Oxford University Press  https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-oxford-handbook-of-critical-improvisation-studies-volume-2-9780199892921?cc=gb&lang=en&#

Wilson, G. B., & MacDonald, R. A. R. (2015). Musical choices during group free improvisation: A qualitative psychological investigation. Psychology of Music. doi: 10.1177/0305735615606527  http://pom.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/09/29/0305735615606527.abstract

MacDonald, R and Wilson, G. (2014) Improvisation, health and welling: A review Psychology of Well-Being   Psychology of Well-Being 4(20)   doi:10.1186/s13612-014-0020-9   http://www.psywb.com/content/4/1/20