A PhD student was able to attend and present at the 2016 International Conference for Systemic Musicology (SysMus) in Jyväskylä, Finland in June thanks to a travel award from the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE). Yu-Fen Huang reports on the experience.

During my PhD, I have found it very helpful to make the most of every opportunity for face-to-face discussions with experienced researchers and other PhD students. It’s the best way to keep up-to-date with new techniques and technologies.

Thanks to a SEMPRE travel award, I attended and presented at the International Conference of Systematic Musicology (SysMus) in Jyväskylä, Finland from 8th – 10th June 2016. I also got to take part in a pre-conference satellite workshop aimed at graduate students who, like me, are using motion capture technology to study musicians’ movement.

At the conference, I gave an oral presentation on my own project, titled ‘How do conducting movement’s kinematics communicate musical structures?’ My project, which is jointly supervised by Dr Nikki Moran in Reid School of Music and Dr Simon Coleman in the Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences, requires me to draw together expertise from different disciplines.

At the conference, I received a lot of useful feedback and comments from experts in diverse research areas including music movement, music psychology, music performance, and music education, which has been extremely valuable as I move into the final stretch of my doctoral studies. I also had the chance to meet and get to know other students in those research areas, too, after the presentation and poster sessions. It’s really good to start getting to know people who may be my future colleagues.

In particular, the skills that I learnt at the workshop in using a specialist Matlab toolbox has provided me with a wider selection of research and analysis tools for my future studies. Overall, I’ve benefited a lot from the SEMPRE travel award as it’s helped me to gain advanced skills, exchange knowledge, and to meet new academic and professional colleagues.