Seminar Series

The initiative’s seminar series brings guest speakers to Western to present varied research on music, cognition, and the brain.

Winter 2021 Workshop

Contact for Zoom access

Thursday, Feb 18, 7 p.m. | via Zoom
Patrick Savage (Keio University)
“Music as a coevolved system for social bonding”

Friday, Mar 5, 1 p.m. | via Zoom
Caroline Palmer (McGill University)

Friday, Apr 9, 3:30 p.m. | via Zoom
Donald Hodges (Professor Emeritus, University of North Carolina, Greensboro)
“Peering Into The Musical Brain”
Presented in collaboration with the Graduate Studies department

Friday, Apr 30, 1 p.m. | via Zoom
Sam Norman-Haignere (Columbia University)


Fall 2019 Presentations

Wednesday, Oct 9, 3:30 p.m. | MB 140
Pete Miksza
(Indiana University)
“Communicating emotion in music: The role of acoustical and visual cues in vocal performance”

Wednesday, Oct 30, 3:30 p.m. | MB 140
Julia Hyland Bruno (Columbia University)
"Exploring the social dynamics of zebra finch vocal development and performance"

Wednesday, Dec 4, 3:30 p.m. | MB 140
Miriam Piilonen (Northwestern University)
"Against Adaptationism in Evolutionary Musicology"


Winter 2019 Presentations

Friday, Jan 25, 3:30 p.m. | TC 101
Andrew Goldman (Western University)
“Using Neuroscience in Music Research: Critical Challenges and Contributions” 

Friday, Feb 15, 3:30 p.m. | TC 340
Zachary Wallmark (Southern Methodist University)
"Sound Affects: Three Theories of Timbre"

Monday, Mar 4, 3:30 p.m. | TC 340
Leigh VanHandel (Michigan State University)
"Melodic influences on tempo determination”

Wednesday, Apr 10, 3:30 p.m. | TC 340
Maria Witek (University of Birmingham)


Fall 2018 Presentations

Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis (University of Arkansas)

Nori Jacoby (Columbia University)

Glenn Schellenberg (University of Toronto)
"Music Training and Nonmusical Abilities: Associations or Causation?"


Winter 2018 Presentations

Laura Stambaugh (Georgia Southern University)
“But I Played It Correctly in the Practice Room! Motor Learning Theories Can Inform Music Practice”

Andrew Oxenham (University of Minnesota)
“Perceiving Pitch for Speech and Music: All in the Timing?”


Fall 2017 Presentations

Michael Hove (Fitchburg State University/Harvard Medical School)
“Links between Rhythm, Bass, and Movement: Neural Mechanisms and Applications”

Robert Zatorre (McGill University/Montreal Neurological Institute)
“The Musical Brain: Born or Made?”

Bryn Hughes (University of Lethbridge)
“The Effect of Style on Musical Syntax”


Our retreats bring together faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students from across Western University for presentations and discussion. The aim is for individuals with research interests in to meet others with similar interests, share expertise and facilities, and form research collaborations.

Previous Retreats

October 20, 2014 – Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre, London
July 15–16, 2015 – Windermere Manor Hotel, London
August 17–18, 2015 – Windermere Manor Hotel, London
June 22–23, 2016 – Music Building, Western University

If you are affiliated with Western, McMaster, or Edinburgh University and you are interested in attending our next retreat, please contact Jonathan De Souza at

Launch Event

Our launch event took place on Saturday October 17, 2015 in the Paul Davenport Theatre, Talbot College, Don Wright Faculty of Music, with speakers from the Brain and Mind Institute, the Don Wright Faculty of Music, the Institute for Music in Human and Social Development, University of Edinburgh and additional guest speakers from the USA and UK. One highlight of the day was a beautiful performance from the Alzheimer Society's Intergenerational Choir. The event closed with an interesting panel discussion and a small wine reception.