Meditation and Mindfulness are often recommended as important tools for stress management. Could music listening be the next “M” alongside these two powerful ways of supporting health?
Recent neuroimaging studies show that individual differences in various traits ranging from perceptual and cognitive skills to personality features can be predicted to some degree from the structure of the brain. Musicianship entails a combination of years of intensive practice of specific auditory, motor and cognitive skills, as well as perhaps innate musical capability. How this combination of intensive training and innate skills is reflected in the structure and function of the brains of musicians is something that has intrigued cognitive neuroscientists, giving rise to a substantial amount of work in the field of cognitive neuroscience of music.
Ever tried a wonderful wine or food at a restaurant and then brought some home, but it just didn’t taste the same? Recent studies show that the perception of taste is not just a matter of the tastebuds, but it is also affected by the sound environment. Therefore, to recreate a great dish, you might just need a different soundtrack!
Many people experience positive effects on focus and endurance from music listening during exercise, as well as on recovery after physical activity. This link between music and movement and the experienced benefits of music listening have also intrigued scientists for decades, resulting in a great deal of investigation to uncover exactly how and why music exerts its benefits.
Exercising intensely but not getting the results you are looking for? The reason may not lie in what goes on at the gym but in what happens outside of it. In addition to factors like diet, sleep is one of the most important but often overlooked components of building a strong, healthy body. Recent scientific findings are presenting an interesting picture of why muscle strength is important for health, and how sleep plays an important part in helping you grow stronger.
Digitization is transforming work and the demands that are posed on humans. As simple work tasks become automated, the cognitive requirements of human work grow. And, as more is required from your most important work tool – the brain – the ways in which you take care of your cognition and mental fitness not only matters for health, but also for work performance. One of the easiest, most powerful, and also most enjoyable ways of ensuring high cognitive performance is taking care of the quality of your sleep.
We’re extremely delighted to announce that four musical artists we deeply respect are joining the Sync Project. Our new advisors – Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Peter Gabriel; Grammy Award-winning alternative artist, Annie Clark (St. Vincent); critically acclaimed electronic musician, Mercury Music Prize and Ivor Novello nominee, Jon Hopkins; and distinguished composer and conductor, Esa-Pekka Salonen – will work with our team on product strategy as we develop music as precision medicine.
When we asked Peter, why he decided to become an advisor, this is what he said: “Our senses provide us with different ways of inputting and experiencing ideas and emotions and also provide wonderful opportunities to change our physical and mental health. A good collection of music has always been used as a box of mood pills. I am delighted that The Sync Project is now using evidence-based science to explore and develop real tools and a platform to engage sound and music in the practice of medicine.”
Peter, Annie, Jon and Esa-Pekka are all using technology in creative ways to push the boundaries of what music can be. We feel very lucky that they have chosen to apply their creative focus to work with us on the Sync Project.
The new advisors will join our existing scientific advisors including Robert Zatorre, Ph.D., Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University; Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center and Professor of Physiology, Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco; Tristan Jehan, Ph.D., Founding Chief Technology Officer of The Echo Nest (Spotify). We are excited by the breakthroughs that may come from this unique collaboration of world-renowned musical artists and scientists.
Below please find a bit more about each of our new advisors.
Marko, Yadid and Ketki
Peter Gabriel is a six-time Grammy Award-winning British singer-songwriter, musician and humanitarian activist. Gabriel was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010 as a member and lead singer of the progressive rock band, Genesis. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame again in 2014 for his multi-platinum success as a solo artist.
Annie Clark (St. Vincent) is an award-winning American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. St. Vincent’s unique sound, guitar work and songwriting style won her the 2015 Grammy for Best Alternative Album.
Jon Hopkins is a classically trained British pianist, critically acclaimed recording artist, Ivor Novello nominated composer of film scores and prominent producer/collaborator. He has produced and collaborated with artists including Coldplay, Brian Eno, Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes and King Creosote. Jon has twice been shortlisted for The Mercury Prize, a highly prestigious honor awarded annually for the best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Esa-Pekka Salonen is the Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London and Conductor Laureate for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he was Music Director from 1992 until 2009. He is currently the Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence at the New York Philharmonic and the Artistic Director and co-founder of the annual Baltic Sea Festival, which invites celebrated artists to promote unity and ecological awareness among the countries around the Baltic Sea. Salonen also drove the development of an iPad app, "The Orchestra," which allows the user unprecedented access to the internal workings of eight symphonic works.
We’re very grateful that Steven Holtzman will join the Sync Project Board. Steve is the former Executive Vice President of Corporate Development at Biogen Idec. Prior to this he was the Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors of Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he served as the company's founding Chief Executive Officer. Prior to starting Infinity, he was an early leader and Chief Business Officer of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. From 1996-2001, he served as a Presidential appointee to the US National Bioethics Advisory Commission.
As we were discussing the potential application of evidence-based music therapeutics across a range of conditions, Steve said this: “Opioid abuse has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and it often begins with a prescription for pain medication following surgery or injury. We need to pursue alternative solutions for managing pain and other conditions, and clinically-validated, personalized music therapeutics present a promising option.”
Thank you Steven for that introduction and for joining the Sync Project!
The stress-relief industry is booming. Mindfulness and meditation have become common practices in many large corporations, and research is backing their positive effects on stress management, cognitive functions and general health. Understanding the mechanisms of stress and relaxation as well as their effects on the brain and mind can help in creating a lifestyle that supports wellbeing throughout life. Recent research shows that music may have special power in dissolving stress and creating room for relaxation in our busy lives.
Our software engineering and machine learning focused team has been growing. We’re now nine people and today we moved to our new office in Boston. Its a former gallery space in the Leather District right by South Station. The entire team still fits on one long table and the first soundtrack we played in the new space was by Jon Hopkins.