Making Music Work

To sustain successful musical lives, most musicians have portfolio careers which combine aspects of performance, recording, creation, music direction, teaching, community activities and a presence in online environments. This phenomenon is widespread, but not well understood. This Australian Research Council Linkage Project explores the conditions and strategies needed for Australian musicians to sustain successful portfolio careers. Involving five key industry partners, it will comprise surveys as well as twelve case studies of individual musicians or ensembles. In this way, it aims to identify key success factors and obstacles that will inform opportunities for training, development and support.


Team members: Brydie-Leigh Barleet, Scott Harrison, Paul Draper, Vanessa Tomlinson, Dawn Bennett (Curtin University), Ruth Bridgstock (University of South Australia), Christina Ballico (Research Fellow).

Partners: Australia Council for the Arts, Culture and Arts (WA) - a division of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Create NSW, Creative Victoria, Music Trust.

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Sing to Beat Parkinson’s

Recent research suggests that singing can be a beneficial adjunct therapy for people with Parkinson’s and community-based singing groups for people with Parkinson’s have been growing rapidly in a number of countries. Using a mixed-method approach to assess the health benefits of group singing, we are conducting surveys and in-depth interviews to explore physical, psychological, cognitive and social health benefits of participating in the program.

The project aims to:

  • assess the effects of the singing program on quality of life, wellbeing and communication parameters of people with Parkinson’s
  • compare data across four nations (Australia, China, UK and South Korea).

Team members: Don Stewart, Yoon Irons, Irene Bartlett, Melissa Forbes.

Partners: University of Southern Queensland.

Choir Facilitators: Clare Birchley, Elizabeth Lord, Elizabeth Savina.

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Shadow puppets and neglected diseases: evaluating a health promotion performance

Funded through the Australia-Indonesian Institute, this project evaluates the content and effectiveness of a new health promotion program for rural Indonesia, which uses traditional shadow puppetry (wayang kulit) with added modern instrumentation, to communicate the health benefits of effective latrine use and improved hygiene and sanitation practices.

Team members: Don Stewart, Dan Bendrups, Joko Susilo, Darren Gray.

Partners: La Trobe University and Otago University.

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