The University of Melbourne
Simone_Maurer_VYT_2023_Submission.mp4 (80.12 MB)

Moving and Musicking: The Body Language of Musicians

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Version 2 2023-10-03, 04:20
Version 1 2023-06-18, 12:59
posted on 2023-10-03, 04:20 authored by Simone MaurerSimone Maurer

Simone Maurer, Moving and Musicking: The Body Language of Musicians

Winner - University of Melbourne VYT (2023)

This presentation shares an overview of part of my PhD in Music Performance (and music psychology) research on the embodied cognition and creativity (i.e., body language) of solo musicians in performance - and is uploaded as a submission for the 2023 Visualise Your Thesis competition.

I respectfully acknowledge Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Country on which I work, live, and continue to learn the Boonwurrung and Wurundjeri people of the Eastern Kulin nation – and pay my respects to Elders past and present.

Description of visual and spoken information:

Title Slide:

Simone Maurer
Moving and Musicking: The Body Language of Musicians
PhD, Final Year
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Faculty of Fine Arts and Music
ORCID: 0000-0002-1336-0473
Twitter or X handle: @SimoneMmusic
LinkedIn handle: @simonemaurermusic
Copyright (c) Simone Maurer 2023

Logo for the University of Melbourne. Visualise your thesis presented by the University of Melbourne.

Video segment 1: Close up shot of a woman seated at a piano playing a basic piano scale with her right hand while clicking her left fingers in time with the beat. A moving graphic of cogs turning overlays on her head while a pointing arrow overlays on her right forearm. Accompanying audio: "Learning a musical instrument requires a lot of coordination between the mind and body, and even more..."

Video segment 2: Wide shot of a woman seated at a piano performing a rapidly descending phrase from Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu in C# minor. Moving graphics of sparks overlay her right arm and head. Afterwards, a static graphic of a magnifying glass with a brain in the centre overlaps her head. Accompanying audio: " create a whole performance. Traditionally, music psychology has prioritised how the mind works over the body's role. So, to better understand how to perform music at a..."

Video segment 3: Wide shot of woman seated at a piano accompanying a woman standing playing the flute as they perform the opening of Chaminade's Concertino for flute and piano. During the words "the body language of solo musicians", the outline of a video camera recording screen overlays the flute player's body. Accompanying audio: "...high level, my PhD investigated the body language of solo musicians. I found that when playing an instrument, people move in ways similar..."

Video segment 4: Wide shot of two women sitting down in chairs angled towards each other. They greet each other and begin conversation (no audio of this conversation), using hand gestures and facial expressions. In the centre of the screen is the text "nonverbal" with arrows pointing out towards each woman. Accompanying audio: "... to everyday non-verbal communication."

Video segment 5: Return to the wide angle shot of the women playing piano and flute. Accompanying text: "Whether or not you play a musical instrument yourself, there’s much to gain from these similarities. For example..."

Video segment 6: Return to the wide angle shot of the two women seated angled towards each other while talking (no audio of the conversation) and using nonverbal communication. There is a line separating the women down the centre of the shot. When discussing postural changes, the text "postural change" appears on the screen with an arrow pointing to the woman on the left as she leans forwards and then back in her seat. When discussing gestures, the text "gestures" appears on the screen with arrows pointing to the woman on the right as she uses lots of hand gestures. Accompanying audio: "... postural changes show our overall attitude and typically convey more significant information compared to individual gestures which help to keep the conversation or music flowing."

Video segment 7: The two women stay on screen but a black and yellow line symbolising a hazard appeared down the centre of the screen and the women display negative body language to indicate they are not in agreement at first, but start to become more accommodating as the conversation (no audio of the conversation) continues. Accompanying text: "And if you’ve ever felt like you don’t quite vibe with someone, moving with the concept of musical phrasing and breathing can help synchronise with others and even manage conflict."

Video segment 8: Return to the wide shot of the two women performing flute and piano. Accompanying text: "And these insights are relevant to any... body."

Final slide 1:


Davidson, J. W., & Broughton, M. C. (2022). Chapter 15: Body movement. In G. E. McPherson (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Music Performance, Volume 1 (pp. 294-324). Oxford Academic.


All video footage is original material filmed by Simone Maurer using an iPad Pro, created for the purpose of this competition, and all people featured are Simone Maurer herself.

All video, audio, and bookend slides were combined and edited into this submission using paid subscriptions to Wondershare Filmora 9 and Canva.

All music heard is performed by Simone Maurer and recorded using a Zoom H1 recorder. The first piano repertoire excerpt is from Frédéric Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu, Op. 66 (1834) and the flute and piano repertoire excerpt is from Cécile Chaminade’s Concertino, Op. 107 (1902) – both pieces are in the public domain. Narration was created by Simone Maurer and recorded using a Zoom H1 recorder.

Final slide 2:


I would like to thank my supervisors Professor Jane Davidson and Dr Amanda Krause for their ongoing support of my PhD study. Thank you also to my family and friends for their encouragement.

I would like to acknowledge the Fellowship Fund Inc. for their funding support early in my PhD degree and the Australian Government’s Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship for funding my year-long program of study at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in NYC (2018-19) which led to my qualification of Certified Movement Analyst.


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