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Faculty of Music


'Musics, selves and societies: the roles of music in effecting change'

25 and 26 June, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge

Music has powers over us that we usually don't realise: as background, shaping how we feel when we watch films, play computer games, or even shop; as foreground, when we are moved by listening to our favourite songs or watching our favourite artists; and as communication or communion with friends and strangers, as when we dance or sing together.  In all these different situations, music affects us in different ways; it can change our mood, heighten our alertness, or give us a sense of intimacy, and it can act on individuals, and on groups and societies.

In the Centre for Music & Science at Cambridge, we are exploring music in a number of projects in the laboratory and in the real world, trying to find out what it is that music does and howit does it.  In one of our biggest projects, we have been conducting research (funded by the John Templeton Foundation) that explores the role of music in enhancing empathy in children.  The culminating event of this three-year project is a two-day workshop entitled 'Musics, selves and societies: the roles of music in effecting change', to be held in the Faculty of Music in Cambridge on the 25th and 26th June.

This workshop will bring together practitioners—music therapists, music educators, community musicians, performers and policy makers—and researchers from institutions across the world (including Sistema Scotland, Nordoff Robbins, government committees, and leading universities), to evaluate, discuss and debate music's roles in effecting change.

In four panel sessions—on music therapy, education, social development, and public policy—we will engage in focused discussions with the purpose of evaluating and consolidating the evidence that we have, and of setting the agenda for future research. The principal aim of the workshop is to work out how we can promote and encourage the implementation of evidence-based policies that harness the powers of music to bring about positive change for individuals and for society.

Professor Ian Cross, Dr Tal-Chen Rabinowitch and Rebecca Whiteman, Workshop organizers