Neta SpiroResearch Fellow
Royal College of Music

Neta Spiro is Research Fellow in Performance Science at the Royal College of Music. Neta’s background is in music (BMus, Oxford University), cognitive science (MSc, Edinburgh University), and music psychology (PhD, Amsterdam University). She was previously Research Fellow at Royal Holloway, University of London, and at the New School for Social Research, New York, and Head of Research at Nordoff Robbins, London. Neta taught at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge, where she continues as an honorary member.

Two questions underlie her research: What is the potential role of music in peoples’ health and wellbeing, and what is communicated when we make music together? Her research on these questions has been from three perspectives: investigations of people’s reported experiences of music making, effects on people’s judgements, and analysis of interaction in music.

Neta’s current research includes the Health, Economic, and Social impact of the ARTs (HEartS) project, which explores the impact of arts and culture on health and wellbeing from individual, social, and economic perspectives. She is investigating the range of relationships that people can have with music and is exploring the possible levels of shared understanding across a variety of forms of music making.

Her teaching includes music, health, and wellbeing topics as well as areas of music psychology.


Current projects

Are You Thinking What I’m Thinking?
Do the Shuffle



Spiro N, Tsiris G, & Cripps C (forthcoming), A systematic review of outcome measures in music therapy, Music Therapy Perspectives [DOI]

Tsiris G, Spiro N, & Pavlicevic M (forthcoming), Re-positioning music therapy service evaluation: a case of five Nordoff-Robbins music therapy service evaluations in neuro-rehabilitation, Nordic Journal of Music Therapy [DOI].


Knight S, Spiro N, & Cross I (2017), Look, Listen and Learn: exploring effects of passive entrainment on social judgements of observed others, Psychology of Music, 45, 99-115 [DOI].

Pras A, Schober MF, & Spiro N (2017), What about their performance do free jazz improvisers agree upon? A case study, Frontiers in Psychology, 8 (966), 1-19 [DOI]. 

Sanfilippo KR & Spiro N (2017), Conference report: the Third Nordoff Robbins Plus conference ‘Exploring music in therapeutic and community settings’, Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy, 9, 159-163 [DOI].

Spiro N, Farrant C, & Pavlicevic M (2017), Between practice, policy and politics: music therapy and the Dementia Strategy, 2009, Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 16, 259-281 [DOI].


Schober MF & Spiro N (2016), Listeners’ and performers’ shared understanding of jazz improvisations, Frontiers in Psychology, 7 (1629), 1-20 [DOI].

Spiro N, Rink J, & Gold N (2016), Musical motives in performance: a study of absolute timing patterns, in JBL Smith, E Chew, & G Assayag (eds.), Mathematical Conversations: Mathematics and Computation in Music Performance and Composition (pp. 109-128), World Scientific.

Spiro N & Himberg T (2016), Analysing change in music therapy interactions of children with communication difficulties, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371, 1-11 [DOI].


Spiro N & Schober MF (2014), Perspectives on music and communication: an introduction, Psychology of Music, 42, 771-775 [DOI].

Schober MF & Spiro N (2014), Jazz improvisers’ shared understanding: a case study, Frontiers in Psychology, 5 (808), 1-21 [DOI].

Tsiris G, Spiro N, & Pavlicevic M (2014), What does the past tell us? A content analysis of the first quarter century of the British Journal of Music Therapy, British Journal of Music Therapy, 28, 4-24 [DOI].

Spiro N, Tsiris G, & Pavlicevic M (2014), Music Therapy Models, in B Thompson & G Golson (eds.), Music in the Social and Behavioural Sciences: An Encyclopaedia (pp. 771-773), Sage.


Rink J, Spiro N, & Gold N (2011), Motive, gesture, and the analysis of performance, in A Gritten & E King (eds.), New Perspectives on Music and Gesture (pp. 267-292), Ashgate.


Spiro N, Rink J, & Gold N (2010), The form of performance: analyzing pattern distribution in select recordings of Chopin’s Mazurka Op. 24 No. 2, Musicae Scientiae, 14, 23-55 [DOI].

Spiro N (2010), Dementia and music therapy: observing effects and searching for underlying theories, Aging and Mental Health, 14, 891-899 [DOI].


Cross I, Gill S, Knight S, Nash C, Rabinowitch T, Slobodian L, Spiro N, Woodruff G, & Woolhouse M (2008), Commentary on ‘The perception and cognition of time in Balinese music’ by Andrew Clay McGraw, Empirical Musicology Review, 3, 54-57.