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Music and Health Research Collaboratory (

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MaHRC is a synergistic and collaborative set of researcher groups exploring connections of sound to the human experience of health. Officially established in the Faculty of Music on March 27, 2012, MaHRC is now in the process of formalizing affiliations, appointing members, and activating projects.

The focus of MaHRC is on music (sound) and health broadly defined by four overlapping and inter-related spheres: (1) Therapy and Medicine, (2) Body, Brain, Mind, (3) Society and Culture, and (4) Teaching, Learning and Performing.
The vision of MaHRC is aligned with the Strategic Research Plan of the University of Toronto. In particular, the vision of MaHRC is to (1) Promote: Healthy People, Healthy Communities, and a Healthy World through music, and to (2) Engage: Minds, Culture, and Values around music.
It is the goal of MaHRC to bring together inter-disciplinary teams of researchers to collaborate on questions of fundamental importance to our vision. This requires discussions in colloquia, workshops, etc to identify the fundamental complex questions and to find ways to move these questions into a research agenda. This takes place within the four research spheres. A few examples of the type of research goals or questions that emerge within the research spheres include:

Sphere 1. Music in Therapy and Medicine
  1. To clearly distinguish music therapy from music medicine in research endeavours.
  2. To define specific characteristics of music and sound as well as types of therapeutic approaches required for specific therapeutic purposes.
  3. To identify specific intra-subject and social context variables that impact on the effectiveness of treatment.
*Adapted from Dileo, C. and Bradt, J. (2005). Medical Music Therapy: A Meta-Analysis & Agenda for Future Research. Cherry Hill, NJ: Jeffrey Books.

Sphere 2. Music in Body, Brain, and Mind
  1. What does “entrainment of brain activity” mean?
  2. How passive or active does this attention have to be to see an EEG response?
  3. How important are habituation and repetition to creating a driving response?
*Adapted from “Brainwave Entrainment to External Rhythmic Stimuli: Interdisciplinary Research and Clinical Perspectives Conference 2006," Stanford University, Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics

Sphere 3. Music in Health of Culture and Society
  1. What is the role of music in the well-being of communities, culture, and humanity?
  2. How do musical works and discourses about music raise and/or address issues concerning gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age, economics, and power, and how do these relate to health of/in cultures, societies, and humanity?
  3. In what ways does music represent “social capital,” and what are the implications for one’s socioeconomic health?
*Adapted from the Second International Health Humanities Conference: Music, Health and Humanity

Sphere 4.  Music and Health in Teaching, Learning, and Performing
  1. What mental perceptual and cognitive abilities, structures, dispositions, and knowledge are required to enjoy and produce music?
  2. How can these mental perceptual and cognitive abilities be developed? 
  3. What skills, identity, and confidence are required to employ music in a communicative and relational manner in Social contexts?
  4. How can the emotional sensitivity, range, and stability to experience and express the affective dimension of music be developed? 
Acting Director
Lee Bartel, PhD. Professor and Associate Dean - Research

(in process of development)
The Board is responsible for the overall management of MaHRC. The Board is responsible for approving MaHRC’s research direction and priorities, its membership, and global decisions regarding the overall management of its budget and resources.

The Executive Committee
(in process of development)
The Executive Committee is responsible for MaHRC's policy decisions and resource allocations. 

The Council of Laboratories
The Council of Laboratories provides advice to the Board on local and practical matters of collaboration.  

The following organizations have responded and agreed in principle to affiliate with MaHRC. A representative from each will sit on the MaHRC Council of Laboratories

•    Music & Cognition Laboratory, UTM -- Glenn Schellenberg 
•    Auditory Development Laboratory, UTM -- Sandra Trehub
•    Laboratory for Infant Studies, UTS  -- Mark Schmuckler
•    Music Cognition Laboratory UTS -- Mark Schmuckler
•    Wasser Pain Management Centre -- Allan Gordon,
•    Science of Music, Auditory Research and Technology Lab, Ryerson University- Frank Russo
•    McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind (MIMM) McMaster University - Laurel Trainor  
•    MAPLE Lab (Music, Perception, Acoustics and LEarning) McMaster University - Michael Schutz 
•    Conrad Institute for Music Therapy Research, Wilfrid Laurier University. -- Heidi Ahonen   
•    The Royal Conservatory --     Ann Patteson
•    Musicians' Clinics of Canada  -- Dr. John Chong     
•    Voice Disorders Clinic, St. Michael’s Hospital -- Dr. Jennifer Anderson
•    Health, Arts and Humanities Program, University of Toronto -- Dr. Allan D. Peterkin  
•    Vigour Projects  -- Dr. David Alter
•    MEG Lab, Baycrest -- Bernhard Ross
•    ERP Lab, Baycrest  -- Claude Alain
•    Centre for Memory and Neurotherapeutics, Baycrest. -- Dr. Morris Freedman 
•    Department of Health, Aging, & Society, McMaster -- Dr. Gavin Andrews
•    Others are in discussion

The International Advisory Council
The International Advisory Council provides counsel on collaborative research, research evaluation, articulation of an international research agenda, and development.

Council Members (in process of development)

Vera Brandes
Director of the Research Program in Music-Medicine, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria

Jane Edwards, PhD
Director of the Graduate Program in Music Therapy; Assistant Dean, Research of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; and Associate Professor in the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick

Joanne Loewy, DA, LCAT, MT-BC
Director of the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine, New York. 

Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, MD., PhD
Director of the Neuroimaging Laboratory and Director of the Stroke Recovery Laboratory, Dept. of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Co-Director of Comprehensive Stroke Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Chief, Cerebrovascular Division, Dept. of Neurology, BIDMC.

Connie Tomaino, DA., MT-BC, LCAT
Senior Vice-President for Music Therapy at Beth Abraham Health Services, and Executive Director and Co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function in New York.