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, M.Sc is long-standing member of our lab who is now a first-year Ph.D 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.

Andres Elizondo Lopez (Graduate) is a first-year M.Sc student currently working on our Auditory Alarms project. Andy recently completed his B. Sc (’21) in Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour 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.

Max Delle Grazie (Graduate) is a first-year M.Sc student currently working in the lab on the emotional piano project and recently completed his Honours BMus (’21) with a minor in Mathematics and a diploma in Trombone performance. His main research interests include musicology and studying how composers’ choices affect perceptual experiences. He thoroughly enjoys learning new things about music cognition and psychology in general. He enjoys playing trombone and guitar, making playlists of his favourite tunes, and talking about music. Most importantly, he is happy to be making contributions to the project and is excited to see where this interesting work will lead.

Julia Bissessar is our lab manager. She recently received her B.A (’21) in Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour and specialized in Music Cognition. Julia completed her senior honors thesis in the MAPLE Lab on the best methods of delivering a music psychology education online. In addition to managing, Julia will be continuing her work on music education and helping to improve the various music psychology classes offered at McMaster. She is also currently teaching piano students of various ages at the Tabone Academy of Music. Julia looks forward to pursuing graduate studies in music therapy or music education after her year as lab manager.

Jamie Ling (Thesis) is a fourth-year Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. She enjoys listening to various music genres, playing guitar and saxophone, and is excited to attend live shows again soon. She is very interested in how we perceive music in our everyday lives and how different aspects of music evoke different emotions. Through the Emotional Piano Project, she is excited to explore these topics further along with an amazing team.

J.J. Magee (Thesis) is a fourth-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 and played trumpet throughout her high school career. JJ 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 and drew J.J. towards the MAPLE lab. She is excited to work with a team of talented researchers on the Auditory Alarms Project.

Jen Li is a curious scientist with a love of the arts and music. Growing up, she was surrounded by her father’s music and played the piano for many years. They even share a Spotify account to this day! She is drawn to the MAPLE Lab because she is fascinated by the ability to connect with and understand music from a cognitive perspective. She is most excited to learn more about music cognition and to work with other great scientists.

Jordan McClean is a third-year Honours Music student specializing in Music Cognition. Jordan has loved music since picking up the baritone at age ten. She plays a variety of musical instruments including the euphonium and piano. She has recently found an interest in learning electric guitar and experimenting with different genres on the electronic keyboard. She is also a member of McMaster’s Concert Band. Jordan plans to have a career in music therapy and is looking forward to studying the research behind it at the MAPLE Lab. Jordan is especially excited to contribute to the emotional piano project and work with its researchers.

Fadi Mansour is enrolled in the Music Cognition specialization (PNB), who first fell in love with music when picking up a guitar 12 years ago. Since then, Fadi has fallen in love with music more and more each day, especially when he played a variety of instruments in high school and guest conducted at school concerts Fadi is thrilled to be working with the amazing team here at MAPLE lab on the Auditory Alarms project in hopes to further improve the quality of healthcare in Canada (and hopefully internationally)!

Alaney Marinucci is a fourth-year student at McMaster in the Honours PNB program. She has been singing since she was four years old, has sung in multiple choirs since elementary school, and attended a performing arts high school. Music’s profound influence on Alaney is one of the many reasons why she is drawn to the MAPLE Lab.  She is excited to work with such an amazing group of individuals in understanding how we listen to, perceive, and respond to music. A fun fact about Alaney is that she was born with 12 fingers. Extra digits, every pianist’s dream!

Hannah Matthews is a fourth-year Honors Life Science student pursuing a Minor in Music. Hannah has been playing piano since she was 6 years old and is now working towards achieving her ACRT certification. She was also a part of the McMaster Concert Band as a clarinetist. Hannah is excited to join the MAPLE lab, specifically the Emotional Piano project as it combines her interests in science and music. She is also eager to learn more about the relationship between music and emotions.

Jung Pao is a fourth-year Music student specializing in Music Cognition and minoring in Mental Health, Addiction, and the Society. She has experience playing the piano and cello and was involved in various small ensembles and orchestras. Currently, she is involved in the McMaster Symphony Orchestra as a harpist. During her spare time, she spends numerous hours listening to various genres of music and curating playlists. She also loves to cook and bake! Jung is extremely excited to join the MAPLE Lab this upcoming school year and further explore into music cognition through working with fellow lab members.

Batool Rahal is a fourth-year B.Sc student in the Music Cognition Specialization (PNB). Growing up, Batool used music as an emotional outlet that fostered her curiosity for music theory and cognition. Though she started her undergraduate degree strictly interested in the sciences, she was eager to combine two of her passions in her studies Batool is excited to be able to explore the intersections between music and science through the MAPLE lab.  She enjoys all genres of music, with an emphasis on alternative. Outside of the lab, Batool collects plants and has one too many exotic pets. 

Fermin Retnavarathan enjoys listening to various genres of music and has had a keen interest in music since childhood. Fermin has performed several times with her school’s concert and jazz band on the alto saxophone. She has performed vocally at school events as well as various coffee houses. Fermin is excited to join the MAPLE lab and combine her interest in music with her passion for psychology. In particular, she is most excited about participating in research that will have a positive impact on others lives. Fermin looks forward to meeting the talented team at MAPLE lab and contributing to their research.

Maria Sushcheva started playing piano at a young age, of around 4 years old which has developed into one of her greatest passions Maria is most excited to learn about different ways that musical sound can be perceived, and the ways we can use sound to our advantage to help reduce risks specifically in hospital environments. She is also eager to use the information she has learned to understand the importance of music in everyday life from a psychological standpoint!

Tun Zheng has 10 years+ experience in piano achieving RCM level 10 as well as many music band participations in high school. He loves exploring various genre of music such as house, techno, k-pop, and EDM, as well as finding bits and pieces of everyday sounds incorporate into music. He was drawn to the MAPLE Lab’s work on musical emotion and is excited to meet and work with brilliant individuals and continuously learn more about our psychology and music. Fun fact: Tun is obsessed with the coffee brewing processes but doesn’t like to drink it!

William Zhang is a third-year Arts & Science student combining in Computer Science. He is an avid musician with experience in piano, vocals, percussion, and composition. He is a member of the McMaster Percussion Ensemble and has volunteered with the Hamilton’s Parkinson Chorus. He has a great interest in music cognition, AI and machine learning as well as the interdisciplinary connections between Music Cognition and other disciplines. Outside of music, he really likes bell peppers and penguins.

Jackie Zhou’s passion for music started at 5 years old when she began playing piano and violin. Music became and remains a major part of Jackie’s life, even after she finished her ARCT in Piano Performance. Jackie is looking forward to bridging her interests in music and psychology while working on the Emotional Piano project. She hopes to engage herself in music research this year and follow up with a thesis in music cognition next year.