Dr Freya Bailes

Dr Freya Bailes


I joined the University of Leeds in 2015, pursuing my interests in the under-explored links between mental imagery and creativity in music, combining my research experience in experimental psychology with my education and insight as a musician. I am an oboist with a particular enjoyment of orchestral and chamber music performance.

Prior appointments include Lecturer in Music at the University of Hull (2012–15), and Senior Research Fellow at the MARCS Institute at the University of Western Sydney, where I collaborated with Professor Roger Dean on research into the perception and emotional expression of contemporary music, and the role of leadership in musical improvisation. This research drew on my previous post-doctoral experience at the L.E.A.D. (Universite de Bourgogne), the C.S.M.L. (Ohio State University), and the Sonic Communications Research Group (University of Canberra).

My doctoral thesis 'Musical Imagery: Hearing and Imagining Music' explored the nature and prevalence of musical imagery (University of Sheffield). Years later, and I'm still fascinated by the phenomenon of imagining music in the mind's ear, having guest edited a special issue on the topic for the journal Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain (2015). More recent work examines the relationship between imagining music and different aspects of wellbeing. 

Completed Postgraduate Researchers

  • Michelle Ulor
  • Laura Bishop
  • Sara D’Amario
  • Jacques Launay

Research interests

  • musical imagery (i.e. imagining music in the mind's ear)
  • music and memory
  • sensory imagination and wellbeing
  • social cognition of music
  • music and wellbeing
  • general interests in the psychology of music
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Music Psychology
  • MA Psychology of Music
  • BA (Hon) French and Music

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
  • Australian Music and Psychology Society

Student education

I contribute to the music psychology teaching at all levels of our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

Research groups and institutes

  • Music, Science and Technology

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>
    <li><a href="//phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/374-school-of-music-opportunity-research-scholarship">School of Music Opportunity Research Scholarship</a></li>