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The Eastman/UR/Cornell/Buffalo Music Cognition Symposium

September 30, 2017
02:00 PM - 05:00 PM
Ciminelli Lounge, Eastman Student Living Center, 100 Gibbs St., Rochester

Sean Hutchins, PhD
Director of Research for The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto)

Topic: Music, Language, and Learning

2:00-2:15 General introduction
2:15-3:15 Sean Hutchins, "Music and Language Production"
3:15-3:30 Discussion

3:30-3:45 Break with refreshments

3:45-5:00 Sean Hutchins, "Music Educators and Psychology"
(A short presentation followed by open discussion)

A complimentary lunch will be provided for all attendees before the session at Stromboli's Restaurant, 130 East Avenue, at 12:45. If you wish to attend, please e-mail Ethan Lustig at



Dr. Sean Hutchins is the Director of Research for The Royal Conservatory of Music. He founded and currently leads The Royal Conservatory’s Research Centre, focusing on experimental studies of music neuroscience and performance. He received his PhD from McGill University in 2008, and is trained in experimental psychology and neuroscience, with a specialization in the field of music cognition. Dr. Hutchins has held positions at l’Université de Montréal and the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Hospital in Toronto. Dr. Hutchins is an expert in the science of vocal perception and production; his research has studied the factors that affect basic singing ability and the relationship between speech and singing. His current work examines the role of musical training and experience on cognitive and linguistic abilities.


Music and Language Production

Music and language share many similarities, in form, in goals, and in usage. Given this overlap, it has long been supposed that musicians’ training transfers to improved linguistic ability. In this talk, I’ll discuss some of the behavioural and neurological evidence for music-to-language transfer, then hone in on an important piece of the puzzle that has been largely ignored: the role of production. This talk will describe some of my recent experiments investigating the transfer of production abilities with people of all ranges of musical ability and training, and discuss how this fits with current models of music and language transfer, and wider impacts of musical training.

Music Educators and Psychology

The psychology of music is a field that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decades; we now know much more about the musician’s mind and the factors that can affect (and be affected by) musical skill. However, one problem with any interdisciplinary field can be lack of communication. In this discussion, I will discuss my role as a scientist within a music conservatory, the challenges of effective communication across disciplines, and the ways that we attempt to integrate cognitive psychology into curriculum design. The session will include a general discussion on effective two-way communication with music educators, the most important areas in the field for an educator to know, and practical examples of successful integration of music education and psychology.

Category: Talks