Michael Schutz, Ph.D. is the lab’s founding director and a core member of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind. Drawing upon his unique background as a professional percussionist (BMA, MM), as well as his training in experimental psychology (MA, PhD), and computer science (BS), he explores core issues of music cognition from new points of view. He enjoys helping students acquire research skills by actively exploring novel topics relevant to psychologists, musicians, and neuroscientists alike. He currently serves as the Secretary for SMPC (Society for Music Perception and Cognition), and received the University Scholar Award from McMaster in 2019. For additional information read his biography or view recent TV and radio appearances. For more information on percussion activities (including performing and teaching), visit

Cam Anderson (Graduate) is a second-year M.Sc student exploring changes in musical emotion over historical eras.  This project builds on his background in both music cognition and music theory, and will provide a novel look at the complex process of transmitting emotion from composer to performer to listener.  He previously completed a Bachelor of Music with a specialization in Music Cognition, working on the auditory alarms project. Outside of the lab, Cam spends his free time practicing trombone, composing music and learning Spanish.

Liam Foley (Graduate) is a second-year M.Sc. student in Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour investigating how psychoacoustic and music cognition research can help design more ergonomic and informative auditory alarms. Liam completed a B.Sc (Hons) in Psychology at Memorial University. His honours thesis investigated differences in auditory working memory between musicians and non-musicians. He was also involved in various projects across numerous areas including, brain plasticity and musical training, tonal hierarchy, auditory segregation, and generalized anxiety disorder and directed forgetting. Outside of academia, he is an avid drummer playing in numerous groups. Liam is excited and grateful to be applying both his research and musical experience to the MAPLE lab.

Benjamin Kelly is our lab manager. He recently received his BSc (’20) in Biology & Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour. He completed his senior thesis in the MAPLE Lab under the Emotional Piano Project. In addition to managing, Ben will be assisting with research on the same project. He has experience with piano, vocals, and primarily the trumpet; practicing and performing with various choirs, concert bands, and jazz bands over his musical career. He loves most forms of music, with a specific interest in the differences between new and old alternative, indie, and rap. Ben looks forward to pursuing graduate studies after his year as lab manager.

Julia Bissessar (Thesis) is a fourth-year B.A Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. She is completing her thesis in the MAPLE Lab this year focusing on how music and emotion are connected. Julia enjoys listening to various genres of music and has experience playing piano, saxophone, and ukulele in various bands. With a background of teaching piano, Julia looks forward to learning more about how emotion shapes our musical perception and learning more about music cognition in the future.

Jessica LaMantia (Thesis) is a fourth-year B.Sc Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour student specializing in music cognition. She is looking forward to being a continuing member of the MAPLE lab, investigating the effects of amplitude envelope on the perception of sound. Jessica has always had a passion for music which started at the age of 4 when she took her first piano lesson. Along the way, she has picked up other instruments such as the viola and guitar, and she is always open to learning how to play something new. She is extremely excited to combine her love for science and music while conducting research in the lab. During her free time, she loves listening to and playing music, exploring the outdoors, and watching Leafs games.

Subeetsha Uthayakumar (Thesis) is a fourth-year Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. Subeetsha appreciates various genres of both instrumental and vocal music. She has had experience playing several instruments in concert band, marching band, and small ensembles, as well as vocal experience as a soloist, in choir, and in acapella groups. Subeetsha is excited to continue working on the Auditory Alarms project as a thesis student in the MAPLE Lab.  

Max Delle Grazie is a fourth-year Honours Music major currently working in the Maple lab on the Emotional Piano Project performing cue extractions. His main interests are playing trombone and music theory, and enjoys the psychological side of music as well. Max has been studying music either independently or through school for about 9 years, and thoroughly enjoys it. He listens to a variety of genres of music, mostly classical and alternative. Most importantly, Max is happy to be making contributions to the project.

Alessandra Lima is eager to combine her knowledge in both music and science working on the Emotional Piano Project. She is a fourth-year BSc. Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour student with an interest in music from a very young age. Alessandra has trained with the Royal Conservatory of Music in both piano and vocals. She also has musical experience from musical theatre as well as choir performances. She is excited to examine the relationship between musical expertise and judgment of emotion in music.

Vivian Li is a fourth-year Health Sciences student. She loves playing and listening to a variety of music and has completed her Grade 10 Piano with the Royal Conservatory of Music. In her spare time, she enjoys singing and playing piano at McMaster Children’s Hospital and Shalom Village. This lifelong love of music motivated her to delve into the field of music cognition in second-year and she has been curious to learn more ever since. This year, she is excited to continue her exploration into music cognition through working on the auditory alarms project in the MAPLE Lab.

Jamie Ling is a third-year Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. She enjoys playing guitar and saxophone and has been involved in concert and jazz bands growing up. Jamie listens to numerous music genres and is especially interested in how music impacts our emotions. She is excited to be a part of the Emotional Piano Project where she can combine her love for music and psychology.

Andres Elizondo Lopez is a fifth-year Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour (BSc) student specializing in Music Cognition. He has a deep curiosity and appreciation of how we interpret musical qualities, as well as how we process auditory information from our environment. He has been part of the McMaster University’s Concert Band, Percussion Ensemble, and the Marching Band. Andres is a percussionist, and also plays the piano and the guitar. He is very excited to be able to combine his love of psychology and music in the MAPLE lab, and to contribute to the music cognition scientific community.

J.J. Magee is a third-year student in the Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour B.Sc. program. Her musically immersed upbringing has fueled her current interest in music cognition. Growing up, she sang in different choirs, then shifted towards playing trumpet throughout her high school career. She still enjoys singing in her spare time and has now taken up guitar and songwriting. As she broadened her horizons through psychology and neuroscience, she was intrigued to learn about music from this new cognitive perspective. The ability to intertwine these two interests within one discipline is what drew J.J. towards the MAPLE lab. She is excited to work with a team of talented researchers on the Auditory Alarms Project.

Kailey McMillan is a fourth-year Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. Performing since the age of four in voice, piano, guitar, saxophone, and trumpet, Kailey’s experiences include concert and jazz bands, brass quartets, a Capella, and choir groups. She has recorded and performed across Ontario as a vocalist in an R&B-Soul band. With a passion for learning how music affects the brain, Kailey is eager to investigate how music facilitates healing and learning through medical alarms in the MAPLE Lab this year.

William Zhang is an avid musician with experience in piano, vocals, percussion, and composition. He is in the Percussion Ensemble at McMaster and is involved with volunteering in the Hamilton Parkinson’s Chorus. William is a second-year Arts & Science and Computer Science student with a great interest in music cognition, science, AI/Machine Learning, and all things music! Will looks forward to contributing to the research being done in the MAPLE Lab and further advancing the interdisciplinary intersection between music and science.

Please visit our Lab Alumni page for information on the next steps of past team members!