Wellbeing and Creative New Music for Film research

by Joanna Gawthorpe in 

Wellbeing and Creative New Music for Film research
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This project is to research and develop techniques that will enable me to use new music and film to promote wellbeing for vulnerable people.

by Joanna Gawthorpe in

Help me fund my PhD

Hi, my name is Joanna, I am a single parent of two boys and have been a mature student for the past 10 or so years!  During my Undergraduate Degree and Masters I have faced many personal challenges as well as academic which have resulted in me believing that I haven't reached my full potential...yet! I therefore want to raise £12,000 to fund my Phd research that will help other people seeking wellbeing through music and film. 

During my MA I started to work on a project that involved creating live music to a film using Soundpainting techniques.  We used sounds and music that was then recorded and arranged to create an original score. The people involved were all musicians that had a wide variety of knowledge and experience but limited knowledge of using percussion and vocal sounds to create a score. Each participant gave positive feedback, into how they felt whilst participating and what they took away from the experience.  I want to further study the impact on this type of work at Phd level.  Measuring wellbeing amongst participants through different workshops using music, sound with film.

My Story

I began my career as a performer and on my return to education firstly at Leeds College of Music this was still my aim and desire. 

However, during the course Computer Composition was introduced to me using Sibelius Software a music writing tool using the computer. I became excited at the prospect of writing my own music at this point but thought my performance career would still dominate having experience in this field and being a mature student.

My interest in composition developed further when I began my undergraduate degree at the University of Huddersfield. Writing New Music became a passion alongside my performance skills and through the guidance of tutors I was able to create a number of new music scores that were contemporary in nature, that were then performed by professional artistes.

Through my degree performance was becoming secondary to my passion for writing music and during my third year my major project was composition. I also began studying Scoring for Film which enabled me to create mock ups of music for film using Logic computer software. This was a completely new avenue for me to explore and at first, I was unsure of how I could master the new technology in a short space of time, and also how as a mature student and single parent I would be taken seriously considering the statistics for women composers is very low.

Despite these figures drive and determination and a love of creating original music spurred me on to spend hours learning how to use the software without a thought of where this would lead me. I also learned that my background in acting and drama became a transferable skill as I analysed the mood and emotion within the films I used.

Upon completion of my degree I became a little disillusioned as to how I would continue my studies due to a lack of confidence in my abilities and family difficulties. Especially since some research states that “Girls always have to be twice as good as the boys,” Ivan Hewitt, The Telegraph (Feb 2014) 

However, I found the confidence to push forward and apply for a master’s degree, simply because I knew I had not reached my full potential during my degree. I found the perfect course at Leeds Beckett University which was a taught Master’s in Music for the Moving Image and throughout this course I was encouraged to push boundaries and create a personal compositional voice. 

The course also enabled me to think about further research into new music, film and health, an especially pertinent area of research for me to develop, due to being able to express myself through music during difficult times and empowered me in situations that have been beyond my control.

Music has helped shape the person I am today and through this study I will be able to use the skills and knowledge I have built up to empower others to follow their passion. 

I hope my Phd studies will be rewarding not just for myself but for those who participate in my work and that this research will help benefit others long term. It will also give me an outlet that will be a positive experience, to show my boys that hard work, drive and determination does pay off.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£30 or more

Singing Lesson

A free trial one hour lesson.

£20 or more

Personal thank you.

Pledge £20 and receive a personal thank you and a quarterly newsletter letting you know about my project

£50 or more

A free music consultation

Send me a video of your work and I will help you move forward with any issues you are facing.

£100 or more

A night at the movies

Cinema tickets x 2.

£1,000 or more

film concert with live music

Tickets for a live orchestral performance of a film

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