Edition 1: July, 2015

Page 1

Australian Music & Psychology Society

July, 2015

Edition 1

Australian Music & Psychology Society Newsletter Welcome to our first edition Welcome to the first edition of the AMPS newsletter. We are very excited to present this regular student-led publication which will include contributions and news from and for the entire AMPS membership. We aim to provide a forum to discuss issues and items of interest to our members. We aim to provide a forum to discuss issues and items of interest to our members. This is a ‘meet the editors’ issue, featuring articles from the four members of our editorial team, Joshua Bamford, Solange Glasser, James Richmond, and Joanne Ruksenas. Their research represents a diverse range of research topics in music psychology. Many of the articles feature hyperlinks and web addresses , so you can access additional material by ctrl click, or delve more deeply into this research by exploring web content if you wish. For future editions, please send original articles of scholarly research, book and performance reviews, discussions of current research, and other items relating to music psychology. All are warmly welcomed. All articles should be original work of between 500 to 1000 words. Please send all articles to: editors.AMPS@gmail.com

Announcing the second AMPS Conference, December 7-9, 2015 Hosted by the MARCS Institute, University of Western Sydney (UWS) , the second AMPS conference, The Art and Science of Music, will be held at the University of Western Sydney from the 7-9th of December, 2015. This follows the successful inaugural conference held at Melbourne University in 2013. The theme of AMPS 2015 is The Art and Science of Music. The conference aims to bring together faculty and Honours, Masters, and PhD students whose research is at the intersection of music and psychology. For example, music performance, music perception and cognition, music composition, improvisation, digital media, music education, music therapy, music and dance, wellbeing and health, psychoacoustics, and computational models of musical) processes. See page 8 for further details and the call for papers.

Inside this issue Feeling the beat .......................... 2 Can you see what I hear? ............ 3 Finding the human element in rhythm ........................................ 4 Music, resilience and the preschool years ........................................... 6 New publications ........................ 7 AMPS Conference call for papers.8 Publication guidelines ................. 8 Contact details ............................ 8

Calendar of events  28 July, 2015. Articles for AMPS newsletter due. Submissions to editors.AMPS@gmail.com  31 July, 2015. Applications for the Music Trust Award, 2015 close.  1 September, 2015. Abstracts for AMPS: The Art and Science of Music due

Feeling the Beat Joshua Bamford Growing up in Perth in a family of biologists, Joshua graduated in 2014 with a B.Mus.(Hons)/ B.Sc. in Musicology, Classical Voice and Psychology from the University of Western Australia, under the supervision of Prof. Jane Davidson, despite numerous distractions as a Councillor at the UWA Student Guild. Joshua is now studying Masters in Music, Mind and Technology at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, with Prof. Petri Toiviainen and Dr. Birgitta Burger. Despite the distance, he maintains strong ties with Australia as a Student Representative to AMPS. Joshua describes himself as a Musician, Psychologist and recreational Ecologist, and occasionally a Juggler, Blogger, Sword Fighter, and Swing Dancer. This diverse background informs Joshua’s interest in music and movement from a biological perspective.

Read more about Joshua Bamford’s research: Academia LinkedIn ResearchGate


One of the most interesting things about music is that it moves us, both emotionally and physically. Often we may move to music without even realising it, with 95% of people selfreporting that they move spontaneously to music. Not all music is created equal when it comes to eliciting spontaneous movement and, perhaps unsurprisingly, a clear pulse and high percussiveness are integral traits of good dance music. Nevertheless, music and movement are so intertwined that some languages do not even have words to distinguish between music and dance. Physical and emotional movement in music may not even be entirely separate. Since the early 90s, numerous studies have demonstrated that movement changes the way we hear a musical performance. The degree of expression is, at least in part, conveyed by a performer through movement; a study involving pianists found an association between the amount of movement and the expressive intent of a performer. Similarly, much of the perceived expressiveness of the music was a result of bodily movement of marimba players. Good percussionists are always exciting to watch, in part because they are so physically active. On the side of the listener, music perception seems to be highly embodied. We may gain an insight into a listener’s perception of metre by observing spontaneous movement to music. One such study found that the metrical hierarchy was embodied in the movements of listeners, concluding that rhythmic perception is a “whole-body” experience. This need for a hierarchy is so strong that listeners may even invent a metrical hierarchy when one does not exist. Furthermore, it appears that prior musical experience changes the way we perceive a performance, as we embody the actions of the performer. Not only do the actions of the performer change the expression conveyed by the music, but the listener’s own experience comes in to play; as they say, it takes two to tango. There are many individu-

Joshua Bamford al differences in the way people respond physically and emotionally to music. It appears that certain personality traits may be expressed through dance, with extraverts exhibiting more gross body movement and faster head movement, and people high on neuroticism showing smaller more abrupt body movements. My own research, so far, has investigated individual differences in empathy and rhythmic entrainment, based on the idea of empathy being an embodied experience, just like musical perception. To really understand music and movement, we need to consider the social context. While we may dance alone in our bedrooms, music and dance provide the opportunity for shared experience that can bring people together. It has been suggested that our whole capacity for music making hinges on our ability to empathise; without understanding the actions and emotions of others, we may not sing or dance with them. This creates a unique opportunity for social bonding, as music and dance create a space for us to share physical and emotional movement in time. Not only does music move us, it provides a medium through which we may move each other. If there is a purpose to music making, perhaps it is this.

Can you see what I’m playing?

Solange Glasser

How synaesthesia shapes musical abilities and appreciation. Is your letter F a strong-minded woman, or the number 4 a naughty school kid? Are your Mondays all green, or Februarys red? What about your favourite song – does it taste like strawberries and cream? If any of these questions is making sense to you, then you may be one of an estimated 4% of the population to have idiopathic synaesthesia – a neurological condition in which the stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. In addition to the prevalence of synaesthesia within the general population, the reported high incidence of synaesthesia among artistic professionals and people with creative hobbies is an supplementary demographical aspect that was recently confirmed in a large-scale study, which established that 24% of the synesthetes questioned were professionally engaged in the arts, in comparison to a general population rate of only 2%. This study, among others, has led to suggestions as to the possible links between synaesthesia, metaphor, creativity, and the origins of language. Recently, data collected by neuro-imaging techniques employed during the synesthetic experience clearly validate idiopathic synaesthesia as a real phenomenon, and differentiates it from imaginative mental imagery. This validation has led interdisciplinary research to debate whether idiopathic synaesthesia can actively contribute to an artist’s ability, and whether synaesthesia can be understood as a motivational force for the synesthetic artist.

numbers and letters. Research into music or sound related types of synaesthesia has, however, been lagging far behind. Indeed, apart from general studies of synaesthesia, creativity, and artistic ability, there have been no studies to date that have specifically examined the influence of synaesthesia on musical abilities or preferences…until now. The study I am currently undertaking at the University of Melbourne was designed to explore how synaesthesia impacts on students’ and academic staff members’ musical abilities, and on participants’ decisions to undertake higher education training in music. This study also examines the complex relationship that exists between synaesthesia and absolute pitch in participants with both conditions, and the modalities of their potential interaction. Synaesthesia and absolute pitch are two uncommon cognitive traits that reflect increased neuronal connectivity and have been anecdotally reported to occur together in individuals, particularly in professional musicians. Research shows that what both abilities require are involuntary and stable mappings between perceptual and verbal representations.

Continued over page Over the past two years I have been collecting data through an online questionnaire, by interviewing students and staff members with synaesthesia and/or absolute pitch, and through test batteries. The results of this study have the potential to expand conceptions of musical abilities in ways that encompass other forms of processing, such as the aural-visual processing found in Synaesthesia gained recertain forms of synaesthesia. By search prominence in the late gaining an insight into the per1980’s, and has since been the ceptual and cognitive experiences object of numerous studies unof these musicians, it is hoped dertaken from various scientific this work will update and redestandpoints. Yet while there are fine musical potential and ability, over 60 categorised forms of syn- with subsequent implications on aesthesia, the vast majority of how musicianship skills are acthese studies have focused on the quired by students who posses most common - and also most synaesthesia and/or absolute easily studied - form: coloured pitch.

Solange Glasser Solange Glasser began her tertiary education in 1999, studying violin performance and musicology at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Australia. She published her Honours thesis under the title “Music, the Brain, and Amusia”: the first of her explorations into the neuromechanisms of music and creativity. In 2004 she was accepted into the musicology program of the University of Paris IV, Sorbonne, where she successfully completed a Licence and Masters in Musicology, publishing her Masters mémoire under the title La synesthésie équivoque d’Olivier Messiaen (“The Ambiguous Synaesthesia of Olivier Messiaen”). She went on to complete a one -year diploma of Orchestral Conducting at the Municipal Conservatorium of Paris XIX, under the baton of Emanuel Jaeger. Solange is currently enrolled in her final year of a PhD at the University of Melbourne under the supervision of Prof. Gary McPherson, where she is studying the effects of synaesthesia and absolute pitch on musical abilities. To learn more about Solange Glasser’s research: ResearchGate


Can you see what I’m playing? Cont.

Finding the human element in rhythm James Richmond Music and psychology researchers, music Rhythm Tracker aims to provide therapists, musicians, and music teachers the necessary data for people to eventually may often wonder: What makes a rhythm en- be able to select rhythms of optimal difficuljoyable? How hard is this rhythm? Why? What ty in order to maximise engagement, which rhythm will my patient/student be able to leads to better educational and therapeutic play and enjoy? How good is my rhythm skill? outcomes (Hallam, 2010). Professional percussionist, James Richmond (ex Melbourne Symphony Orchestra), has Psychologists have tried to use comteamed up with Professors puter programs to predict A fun program to Neil McLachlan and Sarah how hard it is to remember Wilson at the University of test and improve and reproduce rhythms (Thul Melbourne to launch a & Toussaint, 2008). But noyour rhythm skill, website that will collect one ever while contributing data about how people to important refrom all over the world search play rhythms. Rhythm Tracker will help answer all these questions, and more. Finding the human eleAnyone can login to the website and play along with rhythms that are targeted to ment in rhythm cont. their skill level. Every possible 8 and 12 beat tested more than a few people (from western rhythm is on the website, and people can universities) and their computer predictions play as many of them as they like. The website gives feedback on their accuracy and al- never matched the human performance lows people to increase the difficulty level as (Thul, 2008). Recently McLachlan, Wilson and colthey improve. The researchers will also ask a few questions leagues (2011) showed that many aspects of about where people come from, and the mu- music were better explained by learning and sic they like and have learnt. Whether you use rhythm for research, therapy or in your teaching, maintaining engagement is crucial to the success of your program. Students / participants can easily disengage if the material is too easy or too hard (McPherson, 2005).

culture than by the mathematical theories that have predominated since Pythagoras. That’s why we need to find out how musicians and non-musicians from many different cultures around the world play and respond to every possible rhythm. This is important because being rhythmically in sync with other people leads to pro-social effects (e.g. Hove & Risen, 2009; Valdesolo & DeSteno, 2011). In other words rhythm connects people physically, emotionally, intellectually and even spiritually. Rhythm Tracker is currently in pilot phase, and will be released by mid year, at which time all AMPS members and friends will be invited to login, and start tapping rhythms. There will be prize draws for participants who tap more than 50 rhythms. For more information contact: James Richmond: jameshr@student.unimelb.edu.au Neil McLachlan: mcln@unimelb.edu.au References Hallam, S. (2010). The power of music: Its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people. International Journal of Music Education, 28(3), 269-289. Hove, M. J., & Risen, J. L. (2009). It's all in the timing: Interpersonal synchrony increases affiliation. Social Cognition, 27 (6), 949–960. McLachlan, N. M., Greco, L. J., Toner, E. C., & Wilson, S. J. (2011). Using spatial manipulation to examine interactions between visual and auditory encoding of pitch and time. Frontiers in Psychology, 1,233. McPherson, G. E. (2005). From child to musician: Skill development during the beginning stages of learning an instrument. Psychology of Music, 33(1), 5-35. Thul E, Toussaint G.T. (2008). Rhythm complexity measures: A comparison of mathematical models of human perception and performance. Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium on Music Information Retrieval (ISMIR): 663– 668. Valdesolo, P., & DeSteno, D. (2011). Synchrony and the social tuning of compassion. Emotion, 11(2), 262–266.

James Richmond Graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts, James performed regularly with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra Victoria. James has taught instrumental and classroom music from primary to tertiary level for over fifteen years, authored a teaching manual, and delivered concerts and professional development workshops for the Musica Viva in Schools program. James is a provisionally registered psychologist, student representative of the Australian Music and Psychology Society and PhD candidate who has been awarded a place in the Golden Key Honour Society for academic excellence. James’ Honours research, entitled Engagement and skill development through an innovative classroom music program was awarded first class honours, and accepted for publication in the International Journal of Music Education. James is currently researching rhythm complexity, the prosocial consequences of rhythmic synchronisation, and the benefits of drumming for veterans with PTSD.

Read more about James Richmond’s research: LinkedIn

Resilience is traditionally defined as the ability of an individual to bounce back from adversity, but more recent definitions see it described as a pool of resources that allow us to deal with whatever life throws at us. The distinction is important. With the first definition, resilience is a trait present in around 60% of the population, the second definition implies pools of resilience are available to everyone. What these skills are and how they will be used provides individual difference, not a deficit. The traditional definition of resilience is a sum of positive factors less negative factors, or risk. A negative summative value implies an individual is ‘at risk’. However, using current definition, an overall score including both positive and negative factors can provide a more robust picture of the overall pool of resources a person has. This can help us understand an individual's motivations. I examine four factors of resilience identified in the literature: self-regulation, initiative, attachment,


Music, resilience and the preschool years Joanne Ruksenas and risk. While each of these is important, selfregulation is identified in the literature as a key indicator of success across the lifespan. My research examines the effect of active engagement with music on the developing resilience of pre-school aged children. These children take weekly lessons in immersion based music lessons. The lessons feature 12 segments in each lesson on average. The structure of the music lessons provide opportunities for children to learn and demonstrate each of the properties related to resilience. The opportunities are not just in the activities, but also in transitions. Each lesson has, on average 23 learning opportunities. There are a number of reasons music is an ideal medium for building resilience, and this list is not exhaustive. Immersion based music lessons provide opportunities for holistic learning. Most of the activities the children undertake are multimodal, incorporating whole body learning. Second, active music making is generative and active. This makes music an excellent foil for the current classroom which sees children at younger ages required to sit to learn for longer periods. Third, music is demonstrative, giving all participants the chance to be seen as effective individuals by their teachers and peers. This is rarely afforded and important for all children, but particularly those who come to school with any type of difficulty, be it emotional, behavioural, learning, physical, or psychological. Fourth, because music learning occurs primarily in the auditory domain, children can experience success, even if they have problems with the core skills, which have tightened around literacy and numeracy with the introduction of the Australian Curriculum. Finally, immediate acknowledgement provides strong reinforcement of learning. Success in music lessons is visible and allows an immediately reinforced sense of accomplishment and self-identity as a successful individual. Demonstrating extra-musical benefits like resilience are integral to learning music help to define the importance and continuing relevance of music education. When you consider these alongside the benefits the literature describes in terms of music supporting learning in key academic areas, including literacy and numeracy, it becomes easy to understand why active music making provides an invaluable learning and support process for children in their preschool years.

Further reading: Barrett, Margaret S. (2011). Belonging, being and becoming musical: an introduction to children's musical worlds. In Susan Wright (Ed.), Children, Meaning-Making and the Arts (second ed.). Frenchs Forest: Pearson. Brown, Eleanor D., Benedett, Barbara, & Armistead, M. Elizabeth. (2010). Arts enrichment and school readiness for children at risk. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25(1), 112-124. McClelland, Megan M., & Cameron, Claire E. (2012). SelfRegulation in Early Childhood: Improving Conceptual Clarity and Developing Ecologically Valid Measures. Child Development Perspectives, 6 (2), 136-142. Paley, Vivian. (1992). You Can't Say You Can't Play. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Strait, D. L., Parbery-Clark, A., Hittner, E., & Kraus, N. (2012). Musical training during early childhood enhances the neural encoding of speech in noise. Brain Lang, 123(3), 191-201. Ungar, Michael. (2007). Hidden pathways to resilience. CrossCurrents, 11, 8-8.

New and Interesting Publications Joanne Ruksenas

THE NEUROSCIENCES AND MUSIC V Cognitive Stimulation and Rehabilitation

Jo is a PhD candidate at Griffith

Editors: Emmanuel Bigand, Barbara Tillmann, Isabelle Peretz, Robert J. Zatorre, Luisa Lopez, and Maria Majno

University with her supervision divided between the Queensland

New York, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 1337, 2015 pp. 271 ISSN 0077-8923

Conservatorium of Music and the School of Medicine. She has un-


Recent research has demonstrated that cognitive stimulation, including from musical activities, may improve cognitive and motor functions in healthy individuals, and may provide nonpharmacological approaches for recovering brain and motor functions after brain damage, disease, or delayed mental development in neurological patients. This Annals volume presents a collection of papers stemming from the conference “Neurosciences and Music V,” held in Dijon, France, on May 29 to June 1, 2014, highlighting neuroscience research on the unique contributions of music to programs of cognitive stimulation and rehabilitation, including music-based interventions in neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. A range of topics were covered, including the contribution of rhythm and the temporal structure of music to language development, language rehabilitation, attentional processes, motor abilities, and motor rehabilitation, as well as socialization of infants; the fundamental links between music and movement in musically trained and untrained people, and in neurological patients; the impact of dance on brain plasticity; the positive effects of music on nonmusical abilities in children and adults; the role of music for emotional regulation in infants and, more generally, infants’ well-being; and the efficiency of music intervention in dementia.




Musical rhythm and language development: basic research and implications for rhythm-based interventions Temporal expectations in a developmental perspective The beat: a structured environment for movement, communication, and socialization Moving on the beat of music: bridging training, rehabilitation strategies, and technology Individual differences in movement coordination: effects of training, aptitude, and neurological disorders Dance and the brain: a new window into the study of brain plasticity Musical expertise and more? The role of music in promoting infants' well-being: clinical and research perspectives Music and emotion: implications for therapy and rehabilitation Music cognition in dementia Musical applications: workshops

dergraduate degrees in education, psychology and neuroscience from the University of Queensland. Her honours thesis examined the psychophysics of visual perception and the relationship between changes in speed, colour, and size. She is very interested in how people learn and what motivates and drives learning. She works as a music specialist in special education. Her current research examines how music effects the development of resilience in typical children on any given day.

Read more about Joanne’s research


Detailed contents



Call for Abstracts Australian Music & Psychology Society (AMPS) AMPS was formed in 1996 and since, has grown steadily. It now represents the national body of researchers in this field, and is a member of APSCOM. The idea to form a psychology and music society came about during the Fourth International Conference on Music Perception & Cognition (ICMPC4) held at McGill University, Montreal. At that meeting, there was interest for ICMPC to be held in Australia. The first step was to form a group that could coordinate the organization of such an event and to form a music and psychology society similar in focus to those in Europe (ESCOM), Japan (JSMPC), and the United States (SMPC). Our aim is to bring Australian researchers together and to represent Australian research overseas. The members of AMPS regularly meet to discuss research, with local and overseas presenters addressing a variety of topics. These have ranged from psychophysics and psychoacoustics, cochlear mechanics, rhythm and pitch perception, to emotional responses to music, musical development, skill acquisition, and social aspects of ensemble performance. At present our Seminar Series, Music Auditory Cognition & Mind (MACAM), meets regularly at The University of Melbourne. We welcome new members, students and researchers alike. Membership is free! Becoming a member is as simple as joining our mailing list.

2nd Conference of the Australian Music & Psychology Society (AMPS)

AMPS 2015: The Art and Science of Music 7-9 December, 2015 Abstracts are invited for the 2nd Conference of the Australian Music and Psychology Society (AMPS) Inc. to be held Monday 7 December to Wednesday 9 December on the University of Western Sydney Parramatta CBD (7-8 Dec) and Parramatta South (9 Dec) campuses. AMPS 2015 follows the successful inaugural AMPS conference held at the University of Melbourne in 2013. The theme of AMPS 2015 is The Art and Science of Music. Submitting an Abstract All submissions will be made through EasyChair. Once logged in, Click on “New Submission”. For oral and poster presentations, submit an abstract of up to 250 words together with title of the presentation, preferred format, 5 keywords (to assist with allocation to appropriate reviewers), and author names. Proposals for a symposium on a specific theme should include a 250-word abstract that sets out the goals of the symposium and the titles and authors of the papers within the symposium. A 250-word abstract for each paper within the symposium will also need to be submitted. Proposals for a workshop that would be of broad interest to AMPS as well as delegates of ALTA, ADCS, and ALS, should consist of a 250 word abstract outlining the goal, format, length, target audience and presenters involved with the proposed workshop. Workshops of interest across the four conferences would be scheduled for Confluence on Parramatta South campus, Wednesday 9 December.

Due Date Abstracts due for oral presentations, poster presentations, symposia, workshops 1 September 2015 See the AMPS2015 website for further details.

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