Berklee Examines the Nexus of Music and Science, April 12

By 
Liz Lupton
March 29, 2013

Berklee College of Music’s Music Therapy Department presents Music and Science: Practice and Convergence, a symposium addressing the nexus of music and scientific disciplines, including technology, therapy, medicine, neuroscience, and cognition. This day is devoted to examining the scientific underpinnings of music therapy and looking into the future of music and science from the perspectives of multidisciplinary experts. The event builds upon Berklee’s record of initiating music therapy programs in medical facilities and community agencies throughout Boston

Berklee has been a leader in music therapy and science, particularly in the area of technology. The InSight Program fully integrates blind students on campus using assistive technology, and collaborations between Berklee’s Music Therapy and Electronic Production and Design departments have wrought innovative tools to enable even the most physically and mentally challenged individuals to engage with music.

Open and free to the public, the symposium takes place on Friday, April 12, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston.

Schedule of Events

  • 9:00 a.m. - Welcome, with musical introduction
  • 9:30 a.m. - Dr. Psyche Loui, neuroscience researcher, musician, and instructor of neurology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and in Harvard Medical School’s Music and Neuroimaging Lab, discusses the convergence between music and cognition/neurology.
  • 10:15 a.m. - Dr. Concetta Tomaino, executive director and cofounder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function, discusses the junction between music and therapy.
  • 11:15 a.m. - Dr. Lisa Wong, pediatrician and author of Scales to Scalpels, discusses music and medicine.
  • 1:30 p.m. - Richard Boulanger, Berklee electronic production and design professor, computer music/computer-based alternate music controller pioneer, and CSounds author, discusses the convergence of music and emerging technologies and presents a debut performance of music with “hyperinstruments.”
  • 2:15 p.m. - Aniruddh Patel, associate professor of psychology at Tufts University and author of Music, Language, and the Braindiscusses the future of music and science.
  • 3:00 p.m. - The panel of speakers discusses future directions on the convergence of music and technology and presents a musical sendoff.

Berklee’s Music Therapy Department

Established in 1995, the Music Therapy Department places its 135 students in more than 60 clinical facilities and community agencies serving children with special needs, older adults, and people with medical and psychiatric needs. The Music Therapy Department trains future music therapists in the latest techniques, while introducing them to scientific and technological advances and evidence-based methodologies.

Berklee’s Music Therapy Technology Initiative

One of the Music Therapy Department’s goals is to make music accessible to everyone, regardless of physical or mental ability or disability. Together with electronic production and design professor Richard Boulanger and his team, music therapy faculty and students have been able to envision and design technology to play music solo or in an ensemble, compose music, transcribe music, and hone their creative musical potential. Recent technological developments utilize “intelligently musical” wireless controls from Nintendo Wiimotes, Rock Band guitars and drums, the laptop, iPad’s built-in video camera, and custom biosensor-extended instruments that use subtle muscle motion to affect dramatic and powerful control over sounds, beats, and music playback.

In 2010, Berklee established the InSight Program to fully integrate blind students on Berklee’s campus. With the goal of empowering visually impaired students to create and perform music at the highest levels, the program helps these students prepare for successful careers in music. Enabling visually impaired students to get the most out of their Berklee experience, the program includes courses in assistive music technology, audio recording production, music scoring, and Braille music. Music therapy assistant professor Chi Kim, who teaches assistive music technology, provides consultations on assistive technology for other schools. Though Berklee’s innovation, the InSight Program serves as a model for other institutions across the country.

Liz Lupton is a publicist in Berklee's Office of Media Relations. She may be reached at llupton@berklee.edu.