Staff Profiles

Dr Rod Paton

Senior Lecturer in Music

Dr. Rod Paton is a composer, workshop leader, horn player, singer and writer who specializes in improvisation, community music and the therapeutic applications of music.

He was educated at the University of Southampton before gaining a scholarship for postgraduate study at the Janacek Academy in Brno, in the former Czechoslovakia, studying composition and researching the relationship between the Czech language and the music of Leos Janacek.

He worked for a short time as a professional horn player before moving into teaching in further and higher education. His doctoral research at the University of Sussex focused upon the process of renewal in music and is strongly influenced by the psychological theories of Carl Gustav Jung.

He has composed six musicals, numerous scores for theatrical, dance and art performances and many jazz compositions including the large-scale Ascension Jazzmass , described in Jazz Journal International as “a moving testament to the human spirit at its open-hearted best.” 

In addition to a number of articles and book chapters, Rod has written two books, Living Music (2000), a set of essays and guidelines on improvisation and Lifemusic: Connecting People to Time (2011) which explores the archetypal properties of music, challenges cultural norms and advocates an inclusive, non-elitist philosophy of music and communities.

Over twenty years ago, he founded the Lifemusic initiative which, since its inception has provided hundreds of participatory workshops in a wide range of health and social care settings, Lifemusic also runs a training course which strongly informs the community music modules on the BA music degree programme.

The latest project, Vox Anima, Singing for Health runs weekly sessions in collaboration with a local GP practice, monthly gatherings in Bognor Regis and provides a valuable platform for ongoing research into the health benefits of singing.

As a hornist, keyboardist and singer, Rod continues to perform live and run workshops at home and abroad, most recently in Poland and the Czech Republic. In addition to his Chichester post he also teaches on the vocal studies programme at the University of Winchester and as a guest lecturer at the Janacek Academy.

Dr Rod Paton, senior lecturer in music has just been awarded a major grant from the Community Foundation for Ireland to run a project which will bring to life the stories of older people through music workshops and the writing of a musical. Working in collaboration with the award winning Klawitter Theatre Company based in Bray, Rod will be traveling three days each month over the coming year to run the workshops in selected care homes in the Dublin area. He will be working alongside the founder and director of Klawitter, the German actor Hedda Kaphengst who has been singing and performing in care homes for the past 12 years. The participants in this  new project, titled Lifesongs, many of whom are debilitated through stroke or dementia will be working in groups to create music using Rod’s Lifemusic method. The workshops have already been piloted and the results are very encouraging with groups of up to 15 participating with creative energy and lots of laughter.

The workshops began last week on the same day that Dr. Paton was invited to attend the 100th anniversary celebration of the Community Foundation for Ireland in the presence of their patron the Irish President Michael T. Higgins. President Higgins, a distinguished poet, former arts minister and a strong advocate of innovative and imaginative community support, spoke eloquently at the celebration about the need for renewal in approaches to community work. Michael T. as he is affectionately known is also patron of Klawitter and will be invited to attend the first performances of the new musical when it is launched next year.
Dr. Paton has been working in community for nearly 40 years and developed the Lifemusic method since beginning work at Chichester 30 years ago. He currently runs a successful Singing for Health project which meets every Monday at the University and has also recently established regular sessions at the new mental health unit at St. Richards. He currently runs the community music programme within the BA music degree.