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Personal profile

Personal profile

Dr. Karolien Dons is a teacher and researcher at the Prince Claus Conservatoire and its research group Lifelong Learning in Music of the Research Centre Arts & Society. Karolien’s expertise hovers at the interface of music and quality of life and the contribution that musicians can make here. She is interested in innovative forms of musicking for and with people within specific social contexts, specifically in health care. Her recent research activities were situated in care homes, refugee centres, nursing homes for people with dementia and hospital wards. Karolien studied musicology at Ghent University and music psychology at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland). In 2019, Karolien obtained her doctoral degree at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (London) with an ethnographic study into co-creative musicking with vulnerable elderly people. Apart from her research activities, she teaches music pedagogy, music psychology and research methodology at the conservatoire's Bachelor in Music, Bachelor in Music in Education and Master of Music. Currently she also acts as a project coordinator for the SIA/Raak-funded international research project ProMiMiC.


Musical learning, social psychology of music, new audiences, qualitative research methodology

Research Interests

Musical learning, professional musicianship, co-creative music making, new audiences, person-centred music making, ethnography

Education/Academic qualification

Music, Doctor of Philosophy, Guildhall School of Music & Drama


Music, Master of Arts, University of Jyväskylä

Music, Master of Arts, Ghent University

External positions

PhD student, Guildhall School of Music & Drama


Vice-chair Working Group Youth, European Music Council

31 Dec 200831 Dec 2013


  • M Music
  • co-creation
  • person-centredness
  • new audiences
  • professional musicianship

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Karolien Dons is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Music Medicine & Life Sciences
Delivery of Health Care Medicine & Life Sciences
Education Medicine & Life Sciences
Research Medicine & Life Sciences
Teaching Social Sciences
teacher Social Sciences
Drug Interactions Medicine & Life Sciences
learning Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2010 2023

Research Output 2012 2019

If Music be the Food of Love, Play on: Meaningful Music in Healthcare

Smilde, R., Heineman, E., de Wit, K., Dons, K. & Alheit, P., 2019, Utrecht: Eburon Academic Publishers. 159 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademic

Open Access

Self-evaluation Report Frank Mohr Institute: Master of Arts in Fine Art and Design

Delfgaauw, L., Dons, K. & Haakma, I., 2019, 80 p. Academie Minerva.

Research output: Other contributionProfessional

The effect of music on postoperative recovery in older patients: a systematic review

van der Wal-Huisman, H., Dons, K., Smilde, R., Heineman, E. & van Leeuwen, B., Oct 2018, In : Journal of geriatric oncology.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Drug Interactions
Pharmaceutical Preparations

Meaningful music in health care

Dons, K., Pyykönen, K. & Hendriks, L., 2017, Research Group Lifelong Learning in Music. 24 p.

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional

Open Access
Delivery of Health Care

Activities 2011 2019

If music be the food of love, play on: meaningful music in healthcare

Krista de Wit (Speaker), Rineke Smilde (Speaker), Karolien Dons (Speaker), Peter Alheit (Speaker)
20 Jun 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

Exploring relationships between classical musicians and their audiences

Karolien Dons (Speaker)
11 Mar 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

PhD defense

Karolien Dons (Member)
29 May 2019

Activity: Other

Storying diversity in educational spaces

Margo Slomp (Speaker), Evert Bisschop Boele (Speaker), Kees van der Meer (Speaker), Ronald Schimmel (Speaker), Karolien Dons (Speaker)
18 Dec 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation