Exploring the transformative power of music to break down barriers while cultivating self-compassion. Just like a 'break' in a song that disrupts the pattern, music can be a tool to help us break through our emotions and find the strength to process challenging emotions. 

by Sabrina McKenzie


I'm Sabrina McKenzie - a musician, songwriter, and researcher in the ever-fascinating field of music psychology

Music has always been my happy place - from performing on festival stages to writing and recording my own songs. But now, as a PhD candidate in Music Psychology at the University of Melbourne, I'm dedicated to exploring the intricate link between music and emotions.

My research focuses on how we can use music to cultivate self-compassion - that elusive quality that helps us be kinder, gentler, and more forgiving with ourselves. Together with a team of brilliant minds, I'm uncovering the connections between music, emotions, and our sense of self.

But this isn't just about academic research - it's about exploring the pure joy and wonder of music, and sharing that with others who feel the same way. That's why I've created When Music Breaks, a space for music enthusiasts, self-compassion seekers, and anyone who's curious about the impact of music on our lives.

So, whether you're a die-hard music fan or just someone who loves a good beat, I invite you to join me on this journey of discovery. Let's dive into the world of music psychology together...

we are just getting started

x Sabrina

  • Winner VYT 2024 Local - University of Melbourne

  • Australian Music and Psychology Society (AMPS) Student award keynote 2022

  • Current PhD student- Music Psychology University of Melbourne

  • Master of Applied Positive Psychology (2020)

Research | Speaking Events | Awards


  • Visualise Your Thesis (VYT) 1st place winner- local University of Melbourne

  • European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music (ESCOM) 12th Conference- Melbourne hub

  • Australian Music and Psychology Society (AMPS) Conference 2024- Melbourne 


  • The International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC) Conference 2023 - Tokyo

  • Your brain on music: 'communitas' and compassion- Radio National (ABC) - Life Matters LINK to conversation

  • Australian Music and Psychology Society (AMPS)- Vlog Sabrina McKenzie on Music and Self Compassion LINK to Vlog