My Life as a Playlist

This project explores how we use music to accompany us through our lives. It is approached from the perspective of music psychology, and surveys the way music imbues our lives, accompanying the everyday and highlighting peak moments such as ceremonies, as well as the way we ‘self-medicate’ with music, cumulatively using music to shape our daily experiences.

my life as a playlist

The My Life As A Playlist website was created in an arts industry partnership between the CHE and the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC). The website was launched in October 2013 and has already collected data from participants internationally. Fun and simple-to-use quizzes along with more extensive surveys gather data on how people in the modern day use music to mark key life events such as weddings and funerals. Participants were played excerpts of music that are of historical interest in connection with such rituals and report on their response to it, enabling the researchers to further examine the emotions associated with musical engagement in modern-day life and to compare this to historically reported musical associations. Participants were also able to listen to playlists uploaded by other people, including those of some Australian celebrities, as well as uploading their own playlists to share their musical favourites with other people. The website thus enabled people to create a soundtrack of music that had played an important role in their own lives, thus reflecting on its importance in our everyday lives now and throughout history. The interactive nature of the website along with factual pages that contained concise summaries of recent research in music and emotion also provided to be useful resources for educators. In addition, the website provided valuable data to researchers on the link between historical understandings of emotion in music and our response to music in the modern day.

Book launch - 20 May 2014


Davidson, J. W. and S. Garrido. (2014) My Life As A Playlist. Perth: University of Western Australia Publishing, 2014.

Garrido, S. and J. W. Davidson. (2013). 'A History of Music and Mood Regulation: Individual Differences and Musical Prescriptions Through the Ages'. Australian Journal of Music Therapy 24 (2013): 89–109.

Garrido, S. and J. W. Davidson. (2012) 'Musical Emotions: Some Ideas from History, Philosophy and Psychology'. In Grief and Joy: Emotions in the Music of the 18th Century, edited by R. Prince. Perth, WA: ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, 2012. ISBN: 978-1-74052-259-5


Davidson, J. W. and S. Garrido. (2013) 'From Black Bile to Depression: An Anatomy of Melancholia and Music’s Role in its Treatment'. Poster presented at Music, Mind and Health conference, The University of Melbourne, 29 November 2013.

Garrido, S. and J. W. Davidson. (2013). 'Music and mood regulation: Musical prescriptions in the Medieval and Early Modern world'. Paper presented at 'Sourcing Emotions in the Medieval and Early Modern World' Conference, The University of Western Australia, 27–29 June 2013.