Research Groups

Current Projects

Music, Cognition, and the Brain

Western’s Music, Cognition, and the Brain initiative brings together faculty members and students from the Don Wright Faculty of Music, the Brain and Mind Institute, the National Centre for Audiology, and related areas. The initiative facilitates collaborative research on musical experience and expertise, and cross-disciplinary educational opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate level.

Past Successes

Musical Futures Canada

Musical Futures is a new way of thinking about music making in schools that brings non-formal teaching and informal learning approaches into the more formal context of schools. Musical Futures worked with the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University to develop a Canada-wide program of professional development and research to support the growth of, and further embed, Musical Futures’ approaches to music making with young people.


Toccatina is an app for touchscreen devices where users watch, listen, and interact with previously recorded live performances. Using typical gestures such as pinch-to-zoom, and panning (as one would with a photograph) users are then able to select and focus on specific performers or instruments. This enables users to isolate specific audio and visual aspects of a musical performance; in essence, listening to the piece of music however they wish. If one zooms into the bassoon, that particular sound is isolated while the performance continues. There are additional features already included in the app, and many more that are being added as a direct result of the $50,000 Western Innovation Fund.

The project began several years ago with Mike Godwin and Dr. Leslie Linton in the Don Wright Faculty of Music, who were then connected with Dr. Mike Katchabaw and Justin Doyle in the Department of Computer Science. Shortly after, Dr. Natalie Sudzy of Western Research, and Jonathan Deeks of WORLDiscoveries joined the team. Once a prototype was ready, it began a development phase where presentation and feedback was gained through various audiences across Canada and at conferences around the world; New York, Brazil, and Los Angeles to name a few.

The Musical Chairs team is very excited about the Western Innovation Fund of $50,000 (administered through the Department of Computer Science) because of the resources that are now available. This will have a direct impact on the the growth and development of the app to reach its market potential while also providing valuable research opportunities on how people listen and interact with music.