Happy to share my first academic publication from the July issue of Music & Medicine! Article includes my work from UC San Diego on musical intensity and self-harming behaviors as well as 3 case studies illustrating how music can be used in life-preserving ways. Conducting this research was one of the most challenging and meaningful endeavors of my life, and I’m honored to see these individuals’ powerful stories shared.
This year, I had the privilege of serving as event photographer and social media chair for the annual meeting of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition. I am happy to share that the official #SMPC2017 flickr is now online! Feel free to download, tag, and share your memories from this year’s conference. Link for sharing: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm5Qgj2M
Here’s the slideshow I put together of the conference photos. If you were in attendance, it was the video shown during the banquet Wednesday night.
Hope everyone had a blast at SMPC 2017! Happy viewing!
San Diego’s scientific prowess to be on display amid historic rally for science
On April 22, thousands will gather downtown to represent San Diego in the nearly 500-city strong March For Science, a once-in-a-lifetime science outreach event. In just a few short months, an innocuous internet comment has morphed into a massive, volunteer-led celebration of science across America and throughout 6 continents. Amid this historic event, San Diegans will gather to hold up our region’s scientific prowess as second to none.
8,000 San Diegans have already responded online to converge in downtown San Diego on April 22 for this family-friendly, nonpartisan, educational event. Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran, Scripps CO2 Program Director Ralph Keeling, and others will speak at the event, and we will host a pop-up science expo showcasing San Diego’s most exciting science.
The mission of MFS-SD is two-fold. Our first goal is to encourage face-to-face conversations between scientists and the public. We want scientists to come show who they are and what they do, and for all San Diegans to come show what science means to them. We believe building trust is prerequisite for our second goal – public policy that both supports and is supported by scientific research.
This is a nonpartisan event. We are gathering to show what we are for, not to protest against. We believe that science belongs to all of us, and the best solutions come from combining scientifically-supported ideas from across the political spectrum. We applaud the long tradition of bipartisan, public support for science, and we are marching to bolster this support from all sides.
What: March for Science – San Diego will include an educational set of speakers at both the beginning and end, a short (about 1 mile) march between the two points, and a mini science expo at the end. The family-friendly science expo will feature exhibits from the Fleet Science Center, San Diego Natural History Museum, Mad Science, Taste of Science, and leading scientists from across San Diego sharing what they do every day.
Who: March for Science – San Diego is a nonpartisan group of scientists, engineers, students, teachers, and STEM enthusiasts, with all backgrounds and beliefs. 8,000 local science enthusiasts have already confirmed their attendance at our march, representing San Diego’s scientific prowess among nearly 500 sister marches across the nation and the world.
When: Saturday, April 22 at 10:00 a.m.
Where: The march will begin at the San Diego Civic Center, 1100 Third Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 and walk about 1 mile to Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway.
Why: The spontaneous emergence of nearly 500 volunteer-run Marches for Science, across America and around the globe, in just a few weeks, shows that motivations run much deeper than any single trigger. Many people clearly hold long-growing concerns about the role of science in our society, including continued investment in research and education, freedom of speech for scientists, climate change, vaccination, and genetic engineering. However, the broad support for these marches also demonstrates a unique opportunity – science is cool! Science tangibly saves lives, creates jobs, and powers our technology, but it also inspires, amazes, bubbles, and fizzes. If we can unite around anything, it’s science.
Why Here: Our city is a powerful core of scientific innovation. San Diego hosts a world-renowned community of research institutes, universities, tech and biotech companies, medical centers, and aerospace industry leaders. Our city’s non-profit research institutions alone generate a 4.6 billion dollar total economic impact on the regional economy (San Diego Regional Economic Development Council).
For more information, contact Diana Hereld at email@example.com
In partial fulfillment of my graduate thesis, this poster represents the findings of my study conducted at the University of California, San Diego. Presented July 5, 2016 at the 14th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition in San Francisco.
For full study, see chapter 2 of my thesis.
For PDF, see HERELD poster ICMPC.
Prior research associates listening to heavy music with reduced suicide risk, especially among teenage girls when utilized for vicarious release. Nevertheless, few studies consider the active use of heavy music in self-regulation for those who suffer from thoughts of self-harm and/or mental illness. In order to to better understand the mechanisms by which engaging with heavy and intense music may circumvent self-harming behavior, a pilot study is presented of 283 subjects. The majority of those surveyed report suffering from thoughts of self-harm or mental disorders. To examine the use of affect regulation via both generic (non-specified) and heavy, intense, and highly emotive music, we created the Music in Affect Regulation Questionnaire (MARQ), utilizing music in mood regulation (MMR) strategies from the work of Saarikallio. We identify heavy music by the presence of capacious, distorted riffs; loud, pervasive percussion; or an overall feeling of ‘raw power,’ emotion, and affective intensity stemming from the instrumental or vocal parts. Our findings collectively show that heavy music listeners (and those who have thoughts of self-harm, in particular) interact with definitively heavy, intense, or highly emotive music differently than with generic music, especially in the use of modulating negative mood. These findings seem less related to genre-specific categories than certain musical commonalities collectively understood as intensity, and provide significant evidence for heavy music’s ability to circumvent self-destructive impulses, especially when applied in tandem with specific listening strategies of affect-regulation. Additional evidence from prior case studies further suggests the value of deeper investigation of the conscientious use of heavy music as a potential intervention for those suffering from affect dysregulation and self-harm.
Hello all! Sincerest apologies for the severe lack of content over the past year or so. I have been tucked away studying music and psychology at UCSD, and who knew: grad school can be time-consuming! Luckily, I’m unwaveringly passionate about what I have been privileged to research, and I’ve enjoyed…well, many moments 🙂
To come to the point, I’d like to ask a bit of support in order to finish my thesis. In 2011, I received generous support from you all to attend my first conference surrounding music and the brain. Five years later, I find myself again in need of assistance to conduct research in my field. This time, however, your help will fund the final steps for completion of my thesis: broadly approaching how music might be used to combat and intervene in young people who struggle with self-destructive behavior. I have an immense faith in music’s capacity to heal, transform, and even save lives.
Taking place in 3 weeks, I have been invited to participate and present my research in the UK in Epigenesis and Philosophy: A Workshop on the Work of Catherine Malabou. This event brings together scholars in both the humanities and natural sciences. We will engage in critical discussion regarding our work in tandem with the work of the aforementioned French philosopher widely known for her ideas which merge philosophy, neuroscience, and psychoanalysis. Some of you may recall my enthusiasm for her work on plasticity as the catalyst for my decision to pursue graduate studies in how music may be used as a healing tool. I have since been lucky enough to converse with Catherine on a number of occasions, and she remains a primary source of inspiration and critical analysis in the wake of her timely question “What Should We Do With Our Brain?”
As a graduate student, I have been obscenely blessed with a fellowship that allows me to study in a wonderful program. Last year, I was awarded graduate travel stipends that allowed me to present my work locally and abroad. Unfortunately, the financial situation in my department is quite different this year, and it seems what few resources were available have been exhausted. Participation in the upcoming workshop would be a tremendous aid in research for the thesis (which must be completed by May of this year for graduation in June). The budget including air travel, ground transportation, food and lodging comes to around $1,700.
Funding this vital research not only supports completion of my graduate thesis — it furthers investigation of the transformative healing, powers I believe music can have on the mind. Please consider joining others who have donated here and help us make the largest impact possible.
For information on the types of research I do, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit any of the sites below:
Thank you so much for your support!
Note: My sincerest apologies for veering ever so slightly off topic. However, I humbly remind that extending compassion, love, and hope for healing to those in times of crisis could not be closer to my heart, and is truly my launch-point for all research endeavors. It is with the greatest conviction and empathy that I share this post to any who will listen. Thank you.
I have a friend, just younger than myself. We will call her Sophie.
I met Sophie ten years ago, through a church I was attending when I lived in Washington State. Sophie was a shy, beautiful girl, who wore a lot of black and a lot of timid smiles. She loved music to the extent that it radiated from her being. Her eyes sparkled, and continue to do so a decade later.
If Sophie had undergone trials in her life up to that point, they could not begin to preview what this young woman has had to endure since then. Maybe, choices were made along the way that could have prevented one or two of the hundreds of trials she would face. And maybe not. I, for one, have made many mistakes along the way, and though experience may be one of the most brutal and effective of teachers, not all mistakes can be rectified. If Sophie has even once chose option C when option A might have been best, I empathize most fully and emphatically.
Over the past decade, this bright young girl has suffered from crippling anxiety. Abuse. Hunger. Poverty. Sadness. Homelessness. She is also one of the strongest, sweetest, and most resilient women I’ve ever known.
I do not know what it feels like to wonder where I’m going to sleep. I can’t empathize with fearing for my life, and the life of my children. I cannot say, in good conscience, that I know what it’s like to be starving. To truly feel that vacant, desperate feeling of anxiety from sleeplessness, hunger, and fear.
Many of you know I am a passionate researcher for music in the intervention of mental health. Some of you know that I am blessed with the ability to travel, and even begin to present some of my work. Sophie, with her patient listening, sharing of experience, and feedback, has been tantamount to the forming and shaping of the current direction of my research.
Though my family has known trials, and I have not been exempt from a couple of life’s cruel realities, I have been blessed with supportive and loving friends and family members. I am lucky enough to know some of her family, and I am confident that when they are able to assist, they do. I give you my word that this young woman is worthy of love, and worthy of support. We all are.
I know how the homeless are treated in Seattle. I’ve been there, and I’ve worked the shelters. They can be wonderful resources, but they are underfunded and overcrowded to the point that there are wait-lists. Until she is allowed a safe, healthy solution, she is asking for help to remain at the local campground.
I know from experience that one of the most difficult things in life can seemingly be to reach out and ask for help when it is needed. Sophie has taken the courage to do so, and it is with this little post that I now take the courage to echo her words: if you can, please help. This is not a permanent situation, but at the moment, it is the situation. If you are able to help, please do. And from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
Springfest 2015: UCSD Music Festival Premiers Live Performance Art, Synthesizer Petting Zoo, Music Psychology Panel and More
Springfest 2015 is the annual showcase of UC San Diego Department of Music’s emerging composers, instrumentalists, and electronic musicians. From April 7-11, concerts will take place every afternoon and night at the Conrad Prebys Music Center and on April 7th and 9th at The Loft (UCSD). On April 19th, Springfest travels to the Birch Aquarium for their annual Immersion event.
Since its founding in the late 1960s, the UCSD Department of Music has been a world leader in experimental music of all stripes, boldly charting the future of jazz, classical, multimedia, and electronic music genres.
SpringFest 2015 begins April 7th at 7:30pm at The Loft (UCSD) with improvisations and new compositions and innovative jazz works. From April 8th through April 11th, there will be two to four performances daily at the Conrad Prebys Music Center featuring masterworks of the late 20th century concert repertoire by Kurtag, Lang, Reich, Scelsi, and Stockhausen, music by UC San Diego’s very own alums Nicholas Deyoe and Edward Hamel, small group improvisation at the aggressive fringe of jazz and popular music, and unprecedented alloys of performance art, sound and media, including investigations of music of the speaking voice (4/9), the experience of motion through music (4/10) and the collision of music and theater (4/11). On April 11th, Springfest hosts an interactive “synthesizer petting zoo,” where audiences can get their hands on the Audio Electronics Club’s handmade music hardware and software, synthesizers, and effects processors.
Reprising last year’s spotlight event, an immersive walk-through concert/installation at Birch Aquarium in La Jolla on April 19th, will feature live performances spread throughout the aquarium including Gavin Bryars’ Sinking of the Titanic, a Gamelan Ensemble, sound installations by Tina Tallon, Nicolee Kuester, Jon Forshee, and Tommy Babin, and SEA SOAR and short films by Lyndsay Ellis Bloom with sound design by Caroline Louise Miller. $10 Discounted admission ($8 for UCSD students) for the entire aquarium.
New this year, Springfest will host its first ever panel discussion on the culture of music and affect, From Fragile to Plastique: Confronting the Culture of Music and Affect, curated by Diana Hereld. Additionally, this event includes exploring alternate models for sound presentation, Celeste Oram’s Microventions, 60 second mini-concerts, and Curt Miller and Nichole Speciale presenting two viewings of their sound installation, Polyester.
Admission to all Springfest events on campus are free of charge.
For full event calendar, visit http://ucsdmusic.blogspot.com/
Scott Makeig, research scientist and director of the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience at the Institute for Neural Computation of UC San Diego, has brought together a research group from four UC campuses who have won a $300,000 President’s Research Catalyst Award, one of five such awards across the UC system announced by President Janet Napolitano.
The group’s research, which uses music to understand the human brain, “brings together UC experts on music listening, performance, neuroscience, brain imaging, and data science to understand the transformative potential of music for health and cognition,” says Napolitano’s announcement.
Makeig and his colleagues are among the first to receive the new awards, which will channel $10 million over three years to fund research in areas of strategic importance, such as sustainability and climate, food and nutrition, equity and social justice, education innovation, and health care.
“It’s gratifying to know our work on the frontiers of music, systems neuroscience, and human experience has been recognized for its potential value,” said Makeig. “I’m especially pleased for my collaborators. This is a true team effort by scientists from different disciplines with common interests in musical experience and communication.”
His winning project proposes “an American center for the scientific study of musical experience, communication, and behavior.” The UC Music Experience Research Community Initiative (UC MERCI) will allow UC researchers to share cutting-edge resources and collaboratively develop methods to understand – and enhance – music’s ability to affect and even transform the human mind.
Working with Makeig on the project are John Iversen, Sarah Creel, and Gert Lanckriet of UC San Diego; Ramesh Balasubramaniam, UC Merced; Petr Janata, UC Davis; and Mark Tramo, UCLA. Under the initiative, a group of graduate students will work together across the four campuses. California music-industry groups may also be involved.
“The study of musical experience and communication is truly interdisciplinary,” said Makeig. “For centuries, humanists and scientists have studied music and language from different angles and for varied purposes at conservatories and universities around the globe. We now have an opportunity to gain new understanding by using new scientific tools including brain imaging and computation.”
“A thorough and systematic study of music cognition requires a truly multidisciplinary effort, bringing together neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, medicine and, of course, music. While the UC system has much invested in individuals, technologies, and methodologies for studying each of these separately, a systematic interdisciplinary effort to tackle music-cognition problems could enable UC to attain worldwide prominence in these research areas.”
Above information taken directly from full press release by Paul K. Mueller, which may be found here.
More information on MERCI may be found here.
Introducing Superbands, a non-profit movement dedicated to helping those who struggle with depression, self-harm, eating disorders, thoughts of suicide, and other mental illnesses. Through the shared love of music, Superbands aims to encourage hope and positivity, and to remind people that they are not alone.
I’d love to share with you the words of my friend and founder of Superbands Jessica Villa, whose similar vision has been a significant encouragement in my own journey in music and suicide prevention advocacy.
Even at twenty two years old— a recent college graduate— I still feel like life is so quickly whirling around that I can barely keep up. While things are constantly changing around me (which can be quite overwhelming) one thing that has never changed is my passion for music. From a young age, I learned that music can heal the broken and give people a means of escaping their troubles, realizing that they are not alone. As I learned to battle my own inner demons growing up, I developed a vision to create a community of people all over the world who believe in the power of music. A community of hope. That’s where Superbands was born: a nonprofit movement dedicated to helping those struggling with depression, self-harm, other mental illnesses, or simply feeling lost. Through the shared love for music, we aim to encourage hope and positivity, and to remind people that they are not alone.
If you looked time back to 2006, you would likely find fourteen-year old me screaming at the top of my lungs at a dimly-lit Jonas Brothers concert, wearing a tour t-shirt plastered with the faces of the three brothers. In the midst of being an awkward pre-teen with an obsession with music, I was struggling with being bullied at school; the taunts of my peers echoing through the halls on a daily basis. This verbal abuse led to depression, self-loathing, and downright disgust every morning when I saw myself in the mirror. Struggling with self-hate for years, there were multiple days where life got so difficult that I considered attempting suicide.
It was around this time that I spent all my free time listening to my favorite songs on a hand-me-down CD player, miserably held together with medical tape from my mom’s cabinet. I awaited the final bell to echo through the school hallways so I could drown out everything around me — just by putting on my headphones. The stress of schoolwork, the taunts of bullies, the loneliness I felt after moving to a new town, the perils of growing up— it all disappeared. Nothing else mattered except the music. I refused to take my own life and give up. I wanted to go to more concerts, listen to my favorite songs, and meet my musical idols. Because of this, I firmly believe that these songs and these bands—though they did not know my name or my face—saved my life.
While most kids my age played sports or got involved in after-school clubs, the fear of being further tormented by my peers kept me at home everyday. Buried underneath the covers with my CD player, I felt alone, like no one understood me or my passion for music. Concerts were the only place where I truly felt happiness. Why did I feel so at home in these dark venues, surrounded by these complete strangers?
It was because we were united, connected by the music.
It was something that is nearly impossible to explain in words. Hundreds, thousands, of people singing along to songs that I sang along with in my bedroom alone. People’s eyes twinkled with hope as they sang, faces glimmering with amazement. We were in the same vicinity as our favorite musical artists, who jumped around on stage and played these songs just for us. Here we all were, people with the same passion for music, swaying to melodies that once only radiated from our headphones. It was like an island of misfit toys, with everyone finally finding a place where they belonged. We formed bonds, friendships that thrived on new albums and tour dates. We were a family of music lovers — something I had yearned to find for so long.
Today, there are so many ways to reach out to others thanks to social media. From Instagram to Twitter to Facebook to Tumblr, these different social media platforms allow us to interact with people worlds away, regardless of culture, religion, language, or sexual orientation. Barriers are breaking because of music. This is something that we could not do until now – sharing our favorite band photos on Twitter and Instagram, posting our most memorable concert experiences on Tumblr, talking to people about our favorite bands’ upcoming tour dates on Facebook. It’s surreal how much technology has grown in such a short amount of time.
Superbands was an idea that had been swirling around in my head for as long as I could remember. It wasn’t until I came back from college and saw my younger sister Jenna’s passion for music that I got flashbacks from my own awkward teenage years. My own passion for music never faded, but instead grew stronger. I wanted to create the network that I once longed for, somewhere that music lovers could find a place they belonged. Music inspires so many people to keep fighting to overcome obstacles, no matter how difficult their lives become. This passion for music is something that people shouldn’t be ashamed of; it should be something in which we we find comfort. It should be what breaks down those barriers to unite us.
And that’s what I wanted to do with Superbands. I want to connect us, so we can continue breaking down barriers.
For more information on Superbands, please visit http://www.superbands.org
Photo of band After Our Juliet