Where To Next For Functional Music?

Music classification is now less about genre and more about mood, with listeners often building their digital playlists for a specific occasion or activity. It’s music with a purpose – or functional music – and it promises to get even more interesting as scientific inquiry comes into play. The Sync Project muses on what could happen next… 

Sync With Others to Feel Closer

Music automatically moves us. Even if you are sitting absolutely still, your motor cortex is still active when you listen to music. This special link between movement and sound is thought to have been around since music began. It has been proposed that through its capacity to synchronize movements of individuals, music made it possible for us to cooperate more efficiently and thereby survive as a species. Music can therefore be thought of as an inherently social phenomenon, and as something that exists to move us in synchrony, in order to help us bond.

Music for Pain Management

Management of pain is a major goal in the treatment of many conditions. Alongside traditional options for pain alleviation, music therapy shows promise as a powerful, non-pharmacological intervention. In addition to active therapy conducted by trained professionals, the possibilities of mere music listening in pain alleviation are intriguing. Could such a seemingly simple, everyday activity actually produce observable improvements in pain?

Biotech Industry Veteran Steven Holtzman Joins the Sync Project Board

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.” 

Steve is also a trustee of the Berklee College of Music and we actually first met when he introduced us to the Berklee team that lead to our fruitful and continuing collaboration

Thank you Steven for that introduction and for joining the Sync Project! 

The Link Between Rhythm and Speech

Previously, scientists have shown that the processing of music and language relies on partly overlapping neural resources. Therefore, the same neural mechanisms that are active when an individual processes the rhythm of music, or the beat, are active when we process the rhythm of speech. In testimony of this, researchers Elizabeth Wielanda, Devin McAuley, Laura Dilleya, and Soo-Eun Chang recently discovered that children who stutter have difficulties in perceiving the beat in music.