Current Post Doctoral Fellows

Dr. Lena Heng

Dr. Lena HEng

Lena Heng's research interests revolve around music perception, communication, and timbre andpsychoacoustics. They graduated with an interdisciplinary PhD from McGill University and is currently a post doctoral fellow in the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Prince Edward Island. With a background in psychology and music performance, they are especially interested in how prior experiences and knowledge shape the listening process, and how shared understanding as well as divergent interpretations emerge. Their doctoral research explores how timbre functions in the communication of musical and affective intentions, and the evolution of listeners' perception over the course of a piece of music. They are interested in the similarities and differences in the ways that listeners with different musical backgrounds respond when listening to music. They also work on analyses of music, focusing predominantly on aural analyses and on performer and listener interpretations of music. They enjoy talking and writing about music, and are passionate about encouraging an openness to different ways of listening. They hope to spark curiousity and interest to the many and varied ways of engagement with music in all forms.

In their free time, Lena is an avid tabletop and boardgamer. They gobble up books as well and are always excited if anyone wants to talk to them about good fiction. Sometimes, they play music too.


Past Post Doctoral Fellows

Dr. Karen Ludke

Upon completing her doctoral degree at the University of Edinburgh  which explored the role of singing on second language learning,  Karen began a postdoctoral position with the AIRS project at UPEI having the primary responsibility of developing the functionality of the AIRS digital library. She also assisted with the finalization of the prospectus for the AIRS three volume book series, and subsequently took on co-editorship of Volume 2, Education. Karen also shared responsibility for the UPEI Multicultural choir and song circle. A co-authored book chapter on digital libraries for singing was published in the Oxford Handbook of Singing (Welch et al., Eds., 2019), as was a chapter on multicultural choirs for the Routledge Companion.   Dr. Ludke is currently Senior Lecturer in English Language at Edge Hill University in the UK. Her main teaching interests in first and second language learning and bilingualism, and psycholinguistics and her research and publications focus on the inclusion of the arts to support language learning, particularly through musical activities and singing. Her published work describes experimental studies designed to teach words and phrases in a new language, including through the comparison of three ‘listen-and-repeat’ learning conditions: speaking, rhythmic speaking and singing. 

Dr. Bing-Yi Pan (潘秉毅)

Dr. Bing-Yi Pan joined AIRS in February 2011  participated in all three of the Research Streams, in particular the AIRS Test Battery (1.3), the Analysis of the voice study (2.2.), and Intercultural understanding (3.1).  His doctoral background is in physics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences,  but he has also an education degree in music and a masters degree in music therapy. He is currently a faculty member in the Creative Arts Therapies Department at Concordia University, in Montreal. 

Publications associated with the AIRS research

Cohen, A. J., *Pan B.-Y., *Da Silva, E., & *Dutton, K. (2020).  Performance of Canadians on the automated AIRS Test Battery of Singing Skills: Music training and age.  In F. Russo, B. Ilari, & A. J. Cohen (Eds.) Routledge Companion to Interdisciplinary Studies in Singing: Vol 1 Development (pp. 357-371). Routledge.

Cohen, A. J., *Sun, J., Mang, E., *Pan, B.-Y., & *Lim, L.F. (2020).  The role of tone-language and musical experience: Pitch accuracy and key choice in the AIRS Test Battery of Singing Skills (ATBSS). In F.A. Russo, B. Ilari, & A. J. Cohen (Eds.) Routledge Companion to Interdisciplinary Studies in Singing: Vol 1 Development (pp. 408-423). Routledge.

Cohen, A. J., *Ludke, K., & *Pan, B.-Y. (2020). Development of multicultural choirs on college campuses: Theory and practice. In R. Heydon, D. Fancourt, & A. J. Cohen (Eds). Routledge Companion to Interdisciplinary Studies in Singing: Vol 3 Well-being. (pp. 262-274). Routledge.

Ellis, B.K., Hwang, H., Savage, P. E., Pan, B-Y, Cohen, A.J., & Brown, S. (2018).  Identifying style-types in a sample of musical improvisations using dimensional reduction and cluster analysis. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts,12, 110-122. 

Cohen, A.J., Pan, B-Y., Stevenson, L., & McIver, A. (2015).  Role of native language on memory for an unfamiliar song: A comparison of native English and native Chinese students on the AIRS Test Battery of Singing Skills. Musicae, Scientiae, 19, 301-324.

Pan, B. Y., Liu, D., and Cohen, A. J. (2012) “A system for developing a series of interactive tests of vocal production requiring on-line audiovisual recording,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 131(4), 3377-3377.

Pan, B. Y. (2011). “A preliminary view of some foundational and contemporary research on singing in China: Introducing translations of two contrasting works,” Psychomusicology: Music, Mind & Brain, 21, 208-211.


Lin, J. Q. (林俊卿), (1962) Scientific Principles of Singing, Chapter 4 Artistic Application of the Voices, translated from the Chinese by Pan, B. Y., Psychomusicology: Music, Mind & Brain, 21, 212-226 (2011).

Wu, J. (吴静), (2007) “Interpretation of the acoustical analysis of the timbre of Chinese National Singing: female example,” translated from the Chinese by Pan, B. Y., Psychomusicology: Music, Mind & Brain, 21, 227-237 (2011).

Oral Presentations

Pan, B. Y., and Cohen, A. J. (June 7, 2012) “The AIRS on-line test battery of singing skills,” in the symposium: New test instruments to study singing: Perception, Production, and Emotion, CSBBCS (Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science) 22nd Annual Meeting; Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Ross, E., Leblanc, M., Pan, B. Y., and Cohen, A. J. (June 16, 2012) “An age-cross sectional study of singing skills,” in the symposium: Singing across the lifespan: Active and passive behaviours, the 73rd Annual CPA (Canadian Psychological Association) Convention; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Pan, B. Y., Liu, D., and Cohen, A. J. (May 16, 2012)” A system for developing a series of interactive tests of vocal production requiring on-line audiovisual recording,” the 163rd meeting of the ASA (Acoustical Society of America); Hong Kong, China.

Pan, B. Y., and Stevenson, L. (July 22, 2011) “Factor influencing performance on the AIRS TEST of Singing,” 3rd Annual AIRS Summer Workshop; Charlottetown, PE, Canada.

Chen-Hafteck, L., Andango, E., Pan, B. Y., Xiao, Y., and Broofck A. (July 12, 2011) “Understanding cultures, singing songs: Let’s learn about Brazil, Canada, China & Kenya,” The Phenomenon of Singing, international symposium VIII; St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada.

Pan, B. Y., Stevenson, L., and Cohen, A. J. (July 11, 2011) “Does accuracy of singing the major triad predict accuracy of contour production in an unfamiliar song: A cross-cultural study based on the AIRS test battery of singing skills?” 3rd Annual Meeting of AIRS (Advanced Interdisciplinary Research of Singing); St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada.

Poster Presentations

Pan, S. S., Pan, B. Y., Lane, J., and Cohen, A. J. (June 14, 2012) “The influence of native language (Chinese versus English) and personality on performance of tests of singing,” the 73rd Annual CPA (Canadian Psychological Association) Convention; Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Stevenson, L., Pan, B. Y., and Cohen, A. J. (August 11, 2011) “Sing a new song: Effects of native language (Chinese versus English) on learning an unfamiliar tonal melody with lyrics (Chinese versus English),” the 2011 biennial meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (SMPC); Rochester, New York, United States.


“AIRS online Test Battery of Singing Skills,” (May 29, 2012) Music Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China. (in Chinese)


Dr. Nyssim Lefford

Dr. Nyssim Lefford

Dr. Lefford worked on developing the functional prototype of the digital library for the AIRS project from Feb 2012, until September, 2012, while also supporting students working int he laboratory on projects related to singing.  She acted as the bridge linking technology (development) and AIRS research— by assessing researchers’ needs, analyzing use case, implementing design strategies, collaborating with researchers, developers and library scientists and participating in the implementation of prototypes.  She had received her Ph. D. from the Media Lab at MIT.  She is a co-author on a conference proceedings paper "A digital library to advance interdisciplinary research in singing" DOI: 10.1121/1.4806629. I have worked closely with Ross Dwyer and many students, teaching them new web skills, teaching them how to use the intranet and developing solutions for various web-related problems they encountered. 

She organized three workshops. The first was on the Resilience of Song, working with Godfrey Baldacchino to frame the questions for the workshop, identify deliverables and set the agenda. She reached out to various participants and facilitated their involvement; prepared materials for the workshop itself; and collected workshop presentations and video materials from the workshop which are now archived in DL.  With Mike Forrester, she organized a data sharing at the 4th Annual Meeting. Preparations started with several lengthy online exchanges to identify key issues surrounding data sharing and summarize the main positions. I reached out to various participants, supplied them with background information and prepared materials for the workshop. The workshop provided a valuable forum for AIRS researchers. It raised awareness about data sharing and brought to light several benefits and obstacles that must be address. She also organized the Digital Library workshop at the 4th annual meeting. The workshop was comprised of an in-depth demo and also discussions. It proved an important conversation for AIRS. Many opportunities were identified; concerns were aired and in some cases addressed on the spot; and needs of both researchers and the DL were identified. 

Dr. Lefford is currently an Associate Professor at Luleå University of Technology,  in Sweden