Instructor, Jazz Studies
Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts
School of Performing Arts
School of Performing Arts - Jazz Studies

604.984.4911 ext. 4911
Fir Building, room FR101


PhD, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, 2017.

MA (with Distinction), Department of Music, University of Sheffield, 2013.

MALS, Graduate Program in Liberal Studies, Simon Fraser University, 2010.


Dylan van der Schyff (PhD, Simon Fraser University, 2017) is an improvising percussionist and researcher in interdisciplinary musicology.

As a performer, van der Schyff has contributed to almost 200 recordings, spanning the fields of jazz, free improvisation, sound art, experimental, electronic and new music. He has toured extensively in North America and Europe and has curated the annual Vancouver Improvised Music Meeting since 2014.

van der Schyff received his PhD in Music & Arts Education from Simon Fraser University, and holds Master's degrees in Music Psychology (University of Sheffield) and Humanities (Simon Fraser University).

Between 2017-19, he was a SSHRC Postdoctoral fellow affiliated with the Faculty of Music at the University of Oxford. He has served as a non-regular private music instructor at Capilano University since 2000.

Between 2002 and 2005, I served as faculty in the prestigious International Jazz and Creative Music Workshop at The Banff Centre in Alberta where I lectured and coached ensembles.

Since 2000, I have taught in the Jazz Studies program at Capilano University mentoring numerous percussion students through their final recitals. I have also worked as an adjunct lecturer at Simon Fraser University.

My scholarship is produced in affiliation with Simon Fraser University and the University of Oxford. It makes new connections between knowledge in interdisciplinary musicology and current research in cognitive science, with a special focus on issues related to musical development, creativity, performance and pedagogy.

My published work appears in journals that cover a broad spectrum of fields in the sciences and humanities. I am currently leading a co-authored book project entitled "Musical Bodies, Musical Minds: Enactive Cognition and the Meaning of Human Musicality." It will be published by MIT Press in 2020.


van der Schyff, D., Schiavio, A. & Elliott, D. (under contract/2020). Musical Bodies, Musical Minds: Enactive Cognition and the Meaning of Human Musicality. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Invited book chapters

van der Schyff, D. (in prep). Music education and the continuity of mind and life. In M. Silverman & G.D. Smith (Eds.), Eudaimonia: Perspectives for Music Education. London: Routledge.

van der Schyff, D. & Krueger, J. (under review). Musical empathy, from simulation to 4E Interaction. In A. Ferreira (Ed.), Music, Sound, & Mind. Brazilian Society for Cognition and Musical Arts.

van der Schyff, D. & Silverman, M. (2019). Music in the community. In K. Olsen & W.F. Thompson (Eds.), The Science and Psychology of Music: From Mozart at the Office to Metallica at the Gym. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO/Greenwood.

van der Schyff, D. (2019). Improvisation, enaction, and self-assessment. In D.J. Elliott, M. Silverman & G. McPherson (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical and Qualitative Perspectives on Assessment in Music Education. New York: Oxford University Press.

van der Schyff, D. (2010). The Algerian Harkis: Tmoignages d'une histoire cache. In H. Adam (Ed.), Hushed Voices: Unacknowledged Atrocities of the 20th Century. Berkshire, UK: Berkshire Academic Press.

Peer-reviewed papers

Schiavio, A., van der Schyff, D., Biasutti, M., Moran, N., & Parncutt, R. (under review). Instrumental Technique, Expressivity, and Communication. A qualitative study with music students.

van der Schyff, D., Walton, A., Velardo, V., Chemero, A., & Schiavio, A. (2018). Musical creativity and the embodied mind: Exploring the possibilities of 4E cognition and dynamical systems theory. Music & Science, 1(1), 1-18https://doi.org/10.1177/2059204318792319

Schiavio, A., Biasutti, M., van der Schyff, D., & Parncutt, R. (2018). A matter of presence: An explorative study on teaching individual and collective music classes. Musicae Scientiae. https://doi.org/10.1177/1029864918808833

Schiavio, A. & van der Schyff, D. (2018). 4E music pedagogy and the principles of self-organization. Behavioral Sciences, 8(8), 72. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8080072

Schiavio, A., van der Schyff, D., Gande, A., & Kruse-Weber, S. (2018). Negotiating individuality and collectivity in community music: A qualitative case study. Psychology of Music. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0305735618775806

van der Schyff, D. & Schiavio, A. (2017). Evolutionary musicology meets embodied cognitive science: Biocultural coevolution and the enactive origins of human musicality. Frontiers in Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2017.00519

Schiavio, A. & van der Schyff, D., Kruse-Weber, S., Timmers, R. (2017). When the sound becomes the goal: 4E Cognition and teleomusicality in early infancy. Frontiers in Psychology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01585

van der Schyff, D. & Schiavio, A. (2017). The future of musical emotions. Frontiers in Psychology, 8:988. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00988

van der Schyff, D. (2017). Refining the model for emotion research: A 4E perspective.Constructivist Foundations, 12(2), 227229. http://constructivist.info/12/2/227

van der Schyff, D. (2016). Phenomenology, technology and arts education: Exploring the pedagogical possibilities of two multimedia arts-based inquiry projects.Interference: A Journal of Audio Culture, 5(1)http://www.interferencejournal.org/phenomenology-technology-and-arts-education-exploring-the-pedagogical-possibilities-of-two-multimedia-arts-inquiry-projects/

Schiavio, A. & van der Schyff, D. (2016). Beyond musical qualia: Reflecting on the concept of experience. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 26(4), 366-378.http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pmu0000165

Schiavio, A., van der Schyff, D., Cespedes-Guevara, J. & Reybrouck, M. (2016). Enacting musical emotions: Sense-making, dynamic systems, and the embodied mind.Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 16: 785 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11097-016- 9477-8

van der Schyff, D., Schiavio, A. & Elliott, D. (2016). Critical ontology for an enactive music pedagogy. Action, Criticism, and Theory for Music Education, 15(5), 81-121.http://act.maydaygroup.org/volume-15-issue-5/act-15-5-81-121/

van der Schyff, D. (2016). From Necker cubes to polyrhythms: Fostering a phenomenological attitude in music education. Phenomenology and Practice, 10(1),https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/pandpr/index.php/pandpr/article/view/27998

van der Schyff, D. (2015). Praxial music education and the ontological perspective: An enactivist response to Music Matters 2. Action, Criticism and Theory for Music Education, 14(3), 75-95. http://act.maydaygroup.org/articles/vanderSchyff14_3.pdf

van der Schyff, D. (2015). Music as a manifestation of life: Exploring enactivism and the Eastern perspective for music education. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 345.https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00345

van der Schyff, D. (2013). Music, culture and the evolution of the human mind: Looking beyond dichotomies. Hellenic Journal of Music, Education and Culture,4(1). http://hejmec.eu/journal/index.php/HeJMEC/article/view/40

van der Schyff, D. (2013). Emotion, embodied mind and the therapeutic aspects of musical experience in everyday life. Approaches: Music Therapy and Special Music Education, 5(1), 50-58. http://approaches.gr/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/11- Approaches_512013_van-der-Schyff_Article.pdf

van der Schyff, D. (2013). The free improvisation game: Performing John Zorn's Cobra.The Journal of Research in Music Performance.https://scholar.lib.vt.edu/ejournals/JRMP/2013/schyff.pdf

van der Schyff, D. (2011). The fragility of nihilism: Virtue, techn, and self-knowledge in Platos Gorgias and Protagoras. Minerva Journal of Philosophy, 15(2), 44-77.http://www.minerva.mic.ul.ie/Vol%2015/Nihilism.pdf

van der Schyff, D. (2010). The ethical experience of nature: Aristotle and the roots of ecological phenomenology. Phenomenology and Practice, 4(1), 97-121. https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/pandpr/index.php/pandpr/article/view/198 30

van der Schyff, D. (2010). J.S. Bach and the abstract truth: An emotional analysis of the Goldberg Variations. Confluence: The Journal of Liberal Studies, 15(2), 85-100.

Invited book reviews

van der Schyff, D. (in press). Review of Beautiful, Bright, and Blinding: Phenomenological Aesthetics and the Life of Art by H. Peter Steeves. Phenomenology and Practice.

van der Schyff, D. (2014). Review of The emotional power of music: Multidisciplinary perspectives on musical arousal, expression and social control. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 24(3), 246-254. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pmu0000056.

Conferences, talks and workshops

2019: Invited talk (upcoming), Musical empathy: Perspectives, Problems, and Possibilities.Conference on Interdisciplinary Musicology (CIM 19), University of Graz, Austria- 26-28 September 2019.

2018: Improvisation, Music Education, and the Embodied Mind at IICSI colloquium -Sounding Promise in the Present Tense, University of British Columbia, Canada - July 24, 2018

2015: Invited panel member Collaborative Research Without Boundaries and its Benefits to Music Education at Learning and Teaching Music in the Twenty-First Century: The Contribution of Science and Technology, University of Quebec at Montreal.

2015: The Embodied Musical Mind: Enactive Cognitive Science and Music Education symposium presentation at Learning and Teaching Music in the Twenty-First Century: The Contribution of Science and Technology, McGill University, Montreal.

2015: Movement, Image, Sound: Developing Cross-disciplinary Arts Inquiry Projects for a Reflective Arts Pedagogy. American Educational Research Association Conference, April 2015, Chicago.

2014: Exploring the Embodied Origins of Musical Communication and Meaning, paper presentation accepted by International Society of Music Educators Conference, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

2012: Workshop on improvisation, Western Front, Vancouver.

2011: Workshop on improvisation, University of Calgary.

2001: Performance Seminar on Free Improvisation, University of Indiana, Bloomington.

Other positions and service

2017 to 2019: SSHRC Postdoctoral research fellow, Faculty of Music, University of Oxford.

2014 to present: Artistic Director, Barking Sphinx Performance Society (not-for-profit).

2014 to present: Curator, Vancouver Improvised Music Meeting (festival, concert series, community outreach).

2016: Invited co-researcher, Musical interactions, presence, and skillful adaptivity: An exploratory study on joint musical performance, Music Cognition Laboratory, Ohio State University (Dr. Andrea Schiavio, project leader).

2014 to present: Graduate Fellow, Institute for Performance Studies, Simon Fraser University.

2014 to present: Curator, Vancouver Improvised Music Meeting.

2013 to present: Artistic Director, Barking Sphinx Performance Society.

2011: Canada Council of the Arts jury member.

Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), 2017.

Graduate Scholarship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), 2014.

C.D. Nelson Memorial Graduate Scholarship, Simon Fraser University, 2013.

Grant, Canada Council for the Arts, 2012.

Finalist, International Award for Excellence, New Directions in the Humanities, International Journal of the Humanities, 2011.

Graduate Fellowship, Simon Fraser University, 2009.

Grant, Canada Council for the Arts, 2006.

Young Leader of Canada, Globe and Mail, 2002.

Grant, Canada Council for the Arts, 2000.