The 'Music in the Brain' Initiative - Thursday 1 October 2015

Music in the Brain - PianoThe 'Music in the Brain' initiative - hosted by the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development - aims to share exciting developments in music and science with musicians, students, teachers, educators, and music lovers.

The twin goals of the initiative are to work with musicians to uncover the core neural and mental processes that underpin successful solo and ensemble performance, and to better understand the heath and educational benefits of musical training by exploring how music shapes the brain.

Who Are We?

The Music Cognition and Action group in the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development is a team of Neuroscientists, Psychologists and Musicians who apply neuroscience techniques to explore how the brain gives rise to musical behaviour.

Our members have worked with musicians from across the globe including the Chicago Orchestra(opens in a new window) and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.(opens in a new window)

We are primarily interested in understanding the psychological, neural and social elements involved in solo and group ensemble performance.

  • How do we develop musical expertise?
  • What group skills assist ensemble performance?
  • How does musical memory work?Music in the Brain - Recording
  • What are the health and educational benefits of music in children and older adults?
  • Can music help physical rehabilitation and combat the effects of neurodegeneration?
  • What are the causes of musician's dystonia and how can we treat it?

Event Details

The initiative will be launched with an afternoon information session held on Thursday 1 October 2015 at the Bankstown Campus of Western Sydney University (Bullecourt Ave, Milperra).

The event will open with a short series of presentations covering the ongoing projects at the MARCS Institute.

This informal discussion will provide a forum for attendees to ask questions and identify critical areas for future research.

The session will include with a tour of the research facilities to demonstrate the experimental techniques used to explore Music in the Brain.

You can learn more on our Music Cognition and Action home page.

For any questions or further information about this event, please contact Dr Bronson Harry.

Event 'Music in the Brain' Initiative
Date Thursday 1 October 2015
Time 3.00pm - 5.00pm
Venue Western Sydney University, Bankstown campus
Building 23, Room 23.G.40
Contact Dr Bronson Harry (

Event Program

Welcome and Masters of Ceremony
Building 23, Bankstown campus, Western Sydney University

Dr Bronson Harry and Dr Jennifer MacRitchie

MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development

Opening Addresses
Building 23 [3.00pm - 3.30pm]

Launch of Music in the Brain Initiative

Professor Peter Hutchings, Provost & Dean of the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University

Performance Skills

Associate Professor Peter Keller, Program leader of the Music Cognition and Action group, MARCS Institute, Western Sydney University

Creativity, Improvisation and Meaning in Music

Professor Roger Dean, Research Professor in Sonic Communication, MARCS Institute, Western Sydney University

Music in the Lab
Building 9 [3.30pm - 4.00pm]

Use it or Lose it! Piano lessons as a health intervention for older adults

Dr Jennifer MacRitchie

Exploring joint music making irrespective of musical expertise

Dr Giacomo Novembre

Using Motion Capture Technology to understand Musicians' Movements

Dr Manuel Varlet and Dr Kohei Miyata

Measuring brain waves with electroencephalography (EEG)

Ms Peta Mills and Ms Anita Paas

Speed Presentations
Building 23 [4.00pm - 4.30pm]

Forget-Me-Not: Predicting Melody Recognition

Mr Steffen Herff

Making Connections: How music shapes the brain

Dr Bronson Harry

Applying music to health: Music therapy

Ms Tina Read

Capturing audience reactions to music and dance

Professor Kate Stevens

Software for generating rhythms based on novel mathematical principles

Dr Andy Milne & Mr Steffen Herff

Q&A Panel
Building 23 [4.30pm]
Facilitator - Dr Jennifer MacRitchie
RefreshmentsMargot Hardy Gallery, Building 23


To register your interest in attending this event, please use our registration form.(opens in a new window)