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30th January, 2018

Professor John Sloboda awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List for services to psychology and music

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Professor Sloboda has an extensive research profile in audience research, music performance studies, and music education.

Professor John Sloboda has been awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours list for his services to psychology and music. Professor Sloboda has an extensive research profile in audience research, music performance studies, and music education, leading the Guildhall School’s Understanding Audiences research initiative as well as being Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Keele University. He was a staff member there from 1974-2008, where he was Director of its Unit for the Study of Musical Skill and Development, founded in 1991.

Professor John Sloboda commented

“This national honour, of which I am very proud, also celebrates the growing prominence of music psychology as a valued component of musical education and professional practice in the UK and the wider world. I am very happy to have played a significant role in its development and impact over the last 40 years.”

Professor Helena Gaunt, Vice Principal and Director of Guildhall Innovation commented

“This award recognises Professor Sloboda’s eminent career in academia and the relevance of his research, an important part of the Guildhall School’s diverse work exploring and enabling connections between musicians/artistic practitioners and society. Just as John has been central to developing music psychology as a research discipline, so his work at Guildhall has been ground-breaking, challenging and has supported the development of professional practice and professional education in music.”

Sloboda is internationally known for his work on the psychology of music. He has previously been recognised for being:

  • A Fellow of the British Psychological Society
  • President of both the Psychology and General Sections of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • President of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music, where he served on the editorial board of its journal Musicae Scientiae.
  • A member of the Society for Education and Music Psychology Research, and was previously Editor-in-Chief of its journal Psychology of Music from 1985-1989.
  • The recipient of the 1998 British Psychological Society’s Presidents Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge.
  • Elected to Fellowship of the British Academy in 2004.

Recent work by Professor Sloboda has provided insights into audiences and their relationship to the composer and the musician, and he hosted and directed the 2nd International SIMM-posium conference in 2017, bringing together practitioners and researchers interested in the area of Social Impact of Making Music. While at Keele he founded Europe’s first MSc in Music Psychology, and former postgraduate students now occupy leading academic positions internationally. He was also a member of the Senior Management Group of the think-tank Oxford Research Group and co-founder of the Iraq Body Count Project, in which he retains active ongoing engagement, as well as co-directing the charity Every Casualty Worldwide.

His books include The Musical Mind: the Cognitive Psychology of Music, and Exploring the Musical Mind: Cognition; Emotion: Ability: Function, both published by Oxford University Press.

Alumna Julia McKenzie was awarded a CBE and alumni Cleveland Watkiss and Anthony Marwood were also awarded MBEs. Dr Andrew Parmley, former Lord Mayor of London, was also knighted for services to music, education and civic engagement.


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