Nikki's teaching and research reflect her fascination with the relationship between musical performance and everyday social interaction. She specialises in the study of musicians’ communicative behaviour and has published both theoretical and original empirical research. Her work combines fieldwork and ethnography with controlled experimental design.
Music's new 4-year undergraduate programme, Music - MA (Hons), was developed under Nikki's lead. The programme design reflects issues arising through Nikki's research interests to do with the role of conventional music literacy in HE and music scholarship, including academic discourse in music psychology. She teaches on various core and elective undergraduate courses for all music undergraduates, and supervises a number of PhD students. Nikki is currently Music's Postgraduate Research director. She is a scientific committee member of the Institute for Music in Human and Social Development (IMHSD).
Before joining the Reid School of Music in 2007, Nikki studied classical viola and North Indian sitar performance. She plays with local ensembles and friends, including Edimpro, GIO (Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra), Grey Area ensemble and Orchestra of the Canongait. Nikki took maternity leave in 2010-11 and 2014-15.
Nikki is a Visiting Researcher at Durham University for the AHRC-funded Interpersonal Entrainment In Musical Performance Project (2016-18).
- Music as social interaction
- Oral/improvised music performance
- Psychology of music/embodied music cognition
- Academic discourse on music and science
Nikki convenes local reading group meetings on music cognition research. She is an Editorial Board member of Musicæ Scientiæ, the journal of ESCOM (European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music).
- Find out more about Nikki's research into musical communication
- Find out more about the Edinburgh Musical Psychology Research reading group
Current research activity
Musician movement - capture and analysis
ECA RKE award to host a research visitor from the University of Geneva, including a one-day interdisciplinary symposium (Mar 2016).
Improvising Duos project
Improvising Duos project uses 3D kinematic data of duo musicians to examine the nonverbal movement cues that signal 'unity' or ensemble between duo performers. Collaboration with Dr Peter Keller, Music Cognition and Action group, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig. Funded by Carnegie Research Grant (Feb to Apr 2011) and British Academy Small Grant (Apr 2011 to May 2013).
Recent invited papers:
- 'Playful encounters: music cognition in the moment'. South Asian Music Research Seminar, All Souls College, Oxford, UK, 2 Mar 2016.
- 'Playing away: Music and the cognitive sciences'. International Centre for Music Studies Research Seminar, Newcastle University, UK, 17 Feb 2016.
- 'What is it we see when we see musical interaction?' Invited lecture for specialist course in musical expression, Ghent University, Belgium, 17 Nov 2015.
- Musical Time as Shared Social Experience: The case of North Indian classical music. Alejandro Cooper (PhD, Current)
- Connecting conducting movement energetics to musical structure. Yu-Fen Huang (PhD, Current)
- Notation in Scottish music education. Diljeet Bhachu (PhD, current)
- Contemporary Dance and Music Collaborations. Tomke Kossen-Veenhuis (PhD, current)
- Awarded Nov 2013 - Scoring Sounds: The Visual Representation of Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective. Georgios Athanasopoulos, PhD.
- Awarded Jun 2014 - Memory Strategies for Expert Pianists. Kirsteen Davidson-Kelly, PhD.
- Awarded Jun 2016 - Musical prediction in the performer and the listener: Evidence from eye movements, reaction time, and TMS. Lauren Hadley, PhD.
Nikki is a presenting lecturer and co-author of the 'Fundamentals of Music Theory' MOOC, hosted by Coursera.
- Musicianship 1 (* not 2016-7)
- Ways of Listening *
- Intercultural Music Performance
- Music 1A: Psychology of Music
- Music 1B: Instruments, Culture and Technology *
- Music and Human Communication *
- Music, Style, Identity and Image in the modern age *
- Contemporary Issues in the Psychology of Music
- Dissertation supervision
* Course Organiser