Depaul Unheard

The stories of homeless young people are often unheard. They are hidden behind stereotypes, behind doors, behind false assumptions.

Depaul Unheard: Playlists Against Homelessness aims to uncover young peoples’ real-life stories through Spotify Playlists. You can find out more about them here.

In response to this wonderful project, I interviewed four of the participants about their own music, and how it helped them whilst they were homeless. My findings show quite how important music is in their lives to cope from day to day, to mark milestones and bring meaning to their experiences. You can read more here.


The resonance of the cello 'closest to human voice'

"Popular wisdom and many cellists (including Cello Fury, 2CELLOs and famous classical artists such as Steven Isserlis and Yo-Yo Ma) also suggest that the resonance of the cello is the closest instrumental equivalent to the human voice."

The article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette goes on to describe a study in Musicae Scientae which suggested that the the claim is "inherently unprovable", they suggest that it is "linked to psychological phenomenon rather than actual instrumental mechanics".

Choral singing boosts mindfulness

The physical and psychological benefits of choral singing have become crystal clear in recent years. Less certain is precisely why joining voices in song is so powerful. Is it connection with a like-minded community? A sense of shared purpose? The thrill of creative expression?

While all of those surely play a role, new research from Ireland points to a different health-promoting factor. It finds choral singing boosts mindfulness.

Read more at Pacific Standard

ASU professor explores the beneficial aspects of rhythm

Public workshop at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center in Gilbert to feature demo

On a recent Saturday morning in September, a small group of people files into a room at Arizona State University’s Counseling Training Center on the Tempe campus. Laid out on tables are drums of various shapes and sizes. They each pick one, some tapping hesitantly to test the sound, and then take a seat.

Read more on ASU Now

Music sparks divergent thinking

"Listening to happy music while working may spark the kind of divergent thinking that’s associated with creativity and problem solving, a recent study in the Netherlands suggests.

"In particular, classical music that ranks highly for positive and energetic qualities, such as pieces composed by Antonio Vivaldi, were most likely to encourage creative thinking, researchers found."

Read more on Reuters

Resolving the question: does music hurt or help memorisation?

Psychology Today explores the impact of music on memorisation. You can read the full article on their website. It begins:

"Most of us remember early school years where we were taught the memory trick of turning item names into a song. Lyrical rhymes seemed to help. In fact, one common mnemonic peg system uses rhyme to create numerical image pegs to which we can attach mental images of what we want to remember. The pegs are expressed, for example, for one as one/run, for two as two/zoo, for three as three/tree, and so on. Though I think there is a better number peg system, this one does show the power of rhyming."