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ESM/UR/Cornell/Buffalo Music Cognition Symposium

September 24, 2016
Ciminelli Lounge, ESM

The ESM/UR/Cornell/Buffalo Music Cognition Symposium
Saturday Sept. 24, 2016, 2:00-5:00
Ciminelli Lounge, Eastman Student Living Center, 100 Gibbs St.

2:00-2:15 General introduction

2:15-3:00 Brad Mahon, Neurosurgery / Brain & Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester
  "Mapping music during awake brain surgery"

3:00-3:15 Discussion

3:15-3:30 Break with refreshments

3:30-4:30 Michael Thaut, University of Toronto
  "From the brain science of music to clinical translations and practice"

4:30-5:00 Discussion

A complimentary lunch will be provided for all attendees before the session at the Golden Port Restaurant, 105 East Avenue, at 12:45. If you wish to attend, please e-mail Ivan Tan at



Brad Mahon, "Mapping music during awake brain surgery"

Intra-axial tumors are tumors beneath the cortical surface (i.e., within the brain) and require a cortical incision for removal. A surgical decision must be made about where to make the incision. I will talk about recent research in my lab that uses functional and structural MRI to map critical functions in individual patients’ brains prior to surgery. In particular I will focus on our investigation of a patient who is a musician and a music teacher, and who had a tumor in his right temporal lobe directly adjacent to a key neural area for music ability.

Preoperative functional MRI showed that music-related neural activity was indeed directly adjacent to the tumor. The tumor was successfully removed while the patient was awake on the operating table. Our research team tested the patient in the operating room, with the help of of a music expert, in order to map his music abilities with direct electrical stimulation. This represents the first time that music has been mapped in the human brain using both functional MRI and direct electrical stimulation. As such, our investigations of this individual exemplify the intersection between personalized neuromedicine and basic science, and highlight an ongoing multidisciplinary effort between the Eastman School of Music, the College of Arts and Science, and the Medical School at the University of Rochester.

BIO: Brad Mahon is a cognitive neuroscientist who studies the causes of functional specialization in the brain and how the brain is able to overcome those constraints to reorganize after injury. His research uses structural and functional MRI and behavioral analysis to study disruption and recovery of neural systems in neurosurgery and stroke patients. The particular focus of his research is on how concepts are retrieved from vision and how concepts are mapped onto language. Brad Mahon received his PhD from Harvard University (2009) where he studied the organization of knowledge in the brains of congenitally blind adults.


Michael Thaut, "From the brain science of music to clinical translations and practice"

ABSTRACT: In the past 25 years, research in the basic and clinical neuroscience of music has been able to discover many transfer functions how music and rhythm based therapeutic exercises can effectively assist in brain rehabilitation and brain development. Research has shown breakthrough results for motor recovery, speech and language training, and cognitive rehabilitation. These transfer functions were discovered by using a scientific theory model of studying the brain basis of music perception and cognition. These non-musical transfer functions have been well documented for stroke, Parkinson's disease, dementia, developmental disabilities, autism, traumatic brain injury, etc.

Based on clusters of research data clinical techniques have been standardized and codified since 1999 in Neurologic Music Therapy which differs in theory and practice from traditional music therapy and generic music and health practice. The presentation will give an introduction to the theory and research in clinical music neuroscience and clinical applications in Neurologic Music Therapy.

BIO: Michael H. Thaut received his PhD in music with a cognate minor in movement science in 1983 and his masters in music 1980, both from Michigan State University. He also studied at the Mozarteum Music University in Salzburg, Austria, and holds a German Diploma degree in psychology/education. At Colorado State University he held appointments in music and neuroscience and was Director of the School of the Arts from 2001 to 2010. In 2016 he was appointed Professor of Music at the University of Toronto with cross appointments in Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Sciences.

Professor Thaut's research career has been focused on the neural and psychophysical basis of music and rhythm perception and clinical application of music and rhythm to motor, speech/language, and cognitive training in neurologic disorders. He has received the American Music Therapy Association's National Research Award (1993) and its National Service Award (2001). His recent publication (with Volker Hoemberg), The Oxford Handbook of Neurologic Music Therapy (2014), was second overall in the British Medical Association (BMA) 2015 Book Awards for 'Best New Book in Neurology'. He is the founder of the evidence-based treatment system of Neurologic Music Therapy, whose certificate training has been endorsed by the World Federation of Neurorehabilitation.  He is President of the International Society for Clinical Neuromusicology, Vice President of the International Society for Music and Medicine, a Management Board Member of the World Federation of Neurorehabilitation, and an elected Overseas Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (U.K.). In addition to his groundbreaking work as a researcher and clinician, Dr. Thaut is an accomplished musician and violinist in the classical and folk genre, having toured and recorded extensively, especially in folk music. His anthology of European and North American Fiddle Music (Das grosse Fiddlebuch) has been in print since 1981.

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