Andrew is a freelance researcher and lecturer, with particular interest in the fields of improvised music and arts in health. Much of this research is undertaken at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, supported by the charity CW+.
Andrew is also an affiliated lecturer for the University of West London, and is currently working with the Academy of Music and Sound on a new online delivery of the UWL MMus in Popular Music Performance.
Music and Sound in Acute Healthcare Settings
Andrew is the Music and Sound Research Consultant for CW+, the charity for Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. He has worked with the charity on projects exploring the impact of music-making and sound within an acute healthcare setting, as well as helping to programme the charity’s extensive ‘Arts for All’ participation programme.
This began in 2016, when Andrew joined the charity as ‘Musician in Residence’. In this period he worked on the ‘OPRA’ project: the creation of a set of tablet-based touchscreen instruments, designed specifically to help with stroke rehabilitation. You can read more about this project in Part One and Part Two of Andrew’s blog from this time, and also on the CW+ website here.
Following this, Andrew continued working with CW+ on a diverse range of projects. In 2017 he led a research project investigating the effect of musical tempo on heart rate, in collaboration with Dr Sadia Khan and the cardiology team at West Middlesex Hospital. This led to the creation of the ‘Pulse Music’ intelligent music-playback system, which can modify the tempo of music according to the listener’s heart rate, and the subsequent testing of this in the ‘Music-HR’ study. You can read more about this project here.
Recent significant projects at CW+ have included a soundscape commission with the Coda to Coda studio, and an ongoing research project investigating the creation of a new musical instrument to assist with upper limb recovery following stroke. This project is a collaboration with the QMUL ‘Augmented Instrument Laboratory’, and evaluation of the prototype instrument is now the subject of the ‘RePlay’ study.
Andrew has written the following articles on his Arts in Health work:
- ‘On Being a Musician at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’, in The Healing Arts (Unicorn, 2019)
- ‘A Fascinating Space – Andrew Hall on Composing for Hospitals’, for The Sampler (2019)
- ‘Music and Sound in the Future Hospital’, for London Arts in Health Forum (2019) [available here]
“Free improvisation is not an action resulting from freedom; it is an action directed towards freedom.”Davey Williams
In 2015 Andrew completed PhD research investigating the meetings point between composition and improvisation, studying with Peter Wiegold and Colin Riley at Brunel University. His key research interests focus around the meeting points between the composed, the improvised and the interpreted, with the resulting projects including work with big bands, leadership in school and community settings, and electronic real-time improvisation scores.
Andrew’s PhD research is concerned with investigating practical and theoretical meeting points between improvisation and composition. Such meeting points are evaluated alongside a consideration of ‘freedom’ in improvised music, for which a frame is provided by George Lewis’s concepts of the ‘Afrological’ (placing emphasis on expression of the ‘self’) and ‘Eurological’ (in which the ‘self’ is explicitly avoided).
In Andrew’s thesis he suggests that a reconciliation of these two extremes might be found in a compositional ‘creative displacement’, which might change an improviser’s environment in unforeseen ways and thus require them to explore novel expressive approaches. Three different compositional approaches to ‘creative displacement’ were investigated: through fixed notation, through electronic real-time notation, and through leadership in a collaborative workshop setting. In each case compositional experiments were undertaken and documented, detailing the different methods used in the creation and realisation of the pieces that formed the bulk of the research. A terminology for the theoretical consideration of these approaches was established drawing on theories of complex systems, the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, and various socio-musicological models such as those of Steven Feld and Charles Keil.
Following this research, Andrew has gone on to lead improvisation workshops in schools, hospitals and corporate settings.