Last year included the first full academic year of Music and Mind Lab meetings and activities at the IU Jacobs School of Music. I thought I’d post a quick note about some of the fun and exciting things we were able to do together as we begin looking forward to another productive year.
Some quick background (visit the MaML Website)
The lab was overseen last year by co-directors Pete Miksza, Frank Diaz (Dept. of Music Education) and Daphne Tan (Dept. of Music Theory). Dr. Tan will be shifting to a role of “collaborator” this year as she transitions to a new position at the University of Toronto – she will be sorely missed! The student lab members include undergraduates and graduate students from a variety of disciplines and academic specializations: music education, music theory, musicology, music performance, cognitive science, psychological and brain sciences, and telecommunications. Our goal is to produce original research that will contribute to a general understanding of the role of music in the human condition.
Guest speakers and presentations featured heavily in our activities this past year along with sessions devoted to faculty and students’ research interests. We were fortunate to have some truly brilliant people join us and share their research. Last year’s special topics and guests included the following:
- Musical improvisation as a way of knowing
- Andrew Goldman, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Columbia University
- Working as a lab in the cognitive humanities
- Fritz Breithaupt, Professor of Germanic Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington
- Rhythm and movement
- Justin London, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music, Cognitive Science, and the Humanities, Carleton College
- Music, empathy, and cultural understanding
- Eric Clarke, Heather Professor of Music; Professorial Fellow, Wadham College, University of Oxford, UK
- Music, trauma, and the Polyvagal Theory
- Jacek Kolack, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington
- The neuroscience of musical skill learning
Although just getting started, our lab group has been quite productive in generating projects with interdisciplinary connections throughout IU and completing research that has found its way into the world as conference presentations and journal articles. Our most recent project involves a collaboration between Drs. Tan, Diaz, and I on the topic of musical communication. We are investigating the nature of expressive vocal performance. Broadly speaking, we are studying the ways singers prepare and produce performances to be evocative of specific emotive intentions. We are also interested in how inducing a mindful state will impact their singing and, ultimately, how these performances will be received by listeners. We’ve collected a good deal of data and are excited about the potential for this project going forward.
How students are involved
Students can participate as investigators or contributors. Investigators typically come to the lab with some prior experience in empirical research and are expected to co-design, propose, and lead projects. Contributors primarily serve support roles. They are expected to participate in weekly meetings and discussions, and help to manage projects and collect data. Through their participation, contributors can gain the experience necessary to be investigators in future projects.
All in all, I’m happy to say the Music and Mind Lab provides an exciting intellectual space for those at Indiana University who are curious about intersections between their musical and scientific interests. I’m hopeful that this group will continue to grow and look forward to a productive ’17-’18 school year!
Take some time to learn about the Jacobs School of Music if you’re interested in joining us.