Lucy Forde

Name: Lucy Forde

PhD Title: Music Making with People Living with Dementia

Department: Reid School of Music

Supervisors: Prof Raymond MacDonald & Prof Dorothy Miell


Research Interests

Lucy is interested in music in healthcare, community and education contexts.  She has a particular interest in exploring and understanding the experiences of music professionals who deliver work in these contexts and the people who work with them.  She is also interested in the use of creative approaches to music making, including improvisation, to create connections with people and make music opportunities accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

In addition to her PhD research she is currently working as a Research Assistant on the music and dementia research study “Meaningful Music“.  This study is aiming to identify responses to music engagement that matter most for people affected by dementia in any way.

PhD Research Study

Lucy’s PhD research study focuses on music making with people living with dementia.  The aim of her research is to gain a better understanding of music making with people living with dementia from the perspectives of music therapists and music professionals in this field.  She is also interested in exploring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on this area of work.  She is collecting data through conducting interviews with music therapists and music professionals who work with people living with dementia and is using thematic analysis to draw out key themes.

Through this research she hopes to bring about a better understanding of music making with people living with dementia, and aims to raise awareness of the skills and experience required, and the potential impact of the work on people living with dementia and the professionals themselves.


Lucy Forde is a PhD Research candidate in the Reid School of Music at the University of Edinburgh, funded by the AHRC through the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities.  Alongside her research work, Lucy has a career as a flautist, creative music leader/community musician, presenter, music educator and artistic director.

Lucy trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.  Lucy has worked as a creative music leader and performer with a wide range of music and arts organisations both within the UK and internationally.  She has worked extensively with orchestras across the UK and from 2012 – 2106 Lucy was the Director of SCO Connect, the Creative Learning Department of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.  Her main interests and specialisms are in music and health, music education and outreach, creative music making and cross-cultural and cross-arts collaboration.

Organisations she has worked with include: Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Sinfonia Viva Orchestra, Gewandhaus Orchestra, Hanover Band, West of England Philharmonic Orchestra, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Royal College of Music, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning, British Council, Wigmore Hall, Norfolk and Norwich Festival, Endellion Quartet, Music for Life, The New London Chamber Ensemble, The Irene Taylor Trust (Music in Prisons), Music In Hospitals, The Helen Bamber Foundation (supporting Refugees and Asylum seekers in the UK) and Create (Arts). In 2009 she was awarded a Finzi Scholarship to research North Indian Classical music and Indian approaches to music teaching.


Lucy is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has taught and devised undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the Royal College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the University of Edinburgh.  She is currently a tutor on the following music courses at the University of Edinburgh:

  • Fundamentals of Music Theory
  • Psychology of Music


 SEMPRE Award (2019)

AHRC DTP PhD Scholarship (2016)

Gerald Finzi Travelling Scholarship (2009)

Sir James Caird Travelling Scholarship (1999 – 2001)