Staff profile

Dr Yoon Irons

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Yoon Irons standing at the front of a classroom in front of a projector screen that features a slide that reads 'Introduction to Music Therapy'.


College of Health, Psychology and Social Care

Research centre

Health and Social Care Research Centre, University Professorial Council





I am a research fellow in Arts in Health at the College of Health, Psychology and Social Care. 

Teaching responsibilities

I supervise PhD students who are undertaking research in the field of music, music psychology, public health and long-term health conditions. 

Research interests

My research interests includes exploring health and wellbeing benefits of participating in arts (singing, music, dance, visual arts etc). I use both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand how engaging in arts benefits our health and wellbeing. I also conduct systematic literature reviews on the related topics.   

Membership of professional bodies

I am an associate researcher at Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health at Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent, UK. 

I am also an adjunct research fellow at Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre and the Hopkins Centre (research for rehabilitation and resilience) at Griffith University, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. 

I review journal articles regularly and am part of the editorial board of Musicology Research Journal


Recent conferences

In 2021, I gave a talk at the York Ideas Forum (Music, Prevention and Public Health) about how songs can be used to promote important public health messages based on a recent systematic review. 

In 2019, I attended a number of international and national conferences to present my research on singing:

Experience in industry

Previously, I worked as a music therapist at schools and hospitals. I also lectured at universities in China and Australia.

I am also passionate about supporting charities, which promote arts for health and wellbeing: for example, I support group singing practitioners through the training programmes run by Sing to Beat Parkinson's charity

International experience

I have worked with colleagues from Austria, Australia, China, Indonesia, South Korea, and Spain on singing studies collaboratively.  

Between 2017 and 2018, I led an international singing study with people with Parkinson's in collaboration with colleagues from Australia, South Korea and UK. 

Currently, I am leading a Mental Health Inclusive Singing Project funded by the MARCH Mental Health Network and working on a Global Challenge Research project with Indonesian healthcare professionals. 

Additional interests and activities

I have been contributing musical calligraphic design for the German Music Therapy Journal (Musiktherapeutische Umschau) since 2002. 

In the media

Recent publications

A full list of my publications can be found:

My recent publications are:

a choir singing

The Covid-19 pandemic has kept us apart from our friends and family, but many people have found comfort in unusual places. One of them is singing together. Dr Yoon Irons, Research Fellow at the University of Derby, explores why singing has helped some many people and what benefits it can offer.