people

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. On sabbatical for 2022-23, he will be a Visiting Fellow at Western University Faculty of Music (Fall 2022) and a Fellow at the Durham UK Institute for Advanced Studying (Winter 2023) working with Thomas Eerola. For additional information read his biography or view recent TV and radio appearances. For more information on percussion activities (including performing and teaching), visit www.michaelschutz.net.

Cam Anderson, M.Sc is long-standing member of our lab who is now a second-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 is a first-year PhD student 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.

Connor Wessel is a first-year PhD student on the auditory alarms project. He undertook his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Psychology at the University of Plymouth in England. To date, his research has focused on how auditory alarms can be made to be more localisable, and how different levels of urgency can be more discriminable. He recently studied whether newly designed alarms are detrimental to performance on cognitive tasks (and vice versa), and whether digital bike bells can improve the safety and experience of cyclists and pedestrians. As a musician, Connor has played trumpet in Concert band and Orchestra, and has sung Tenor in various choral activities. 

Max Delle Grazie (Graduate) is a second-year M.Sc student currently working in the MAPLE Lab on the Emotional Piano Project. Max recently completed his B.A (’21) in Music at McMaster with a Performance diploma in Trombone. His main research interests are exploring the perceptual consequences of music’s acoustic features, as well as how composers varied their use across history. By combining knowledge from the fields of music theory and psychology, he hopes to elucidate the connections between expressive patterns in music and speech, and how that affects listener’s emotional responses. Max spends most of his free time both playing and listening to music, but also loves travel, golf, skiing, fitness, and rock climbing.

Jamie Ling is our lab manager. She recently received her B.Sc (’22) in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour and specialized in Music Cognition. Jamie completed her senior honours thesis in the MAPLE Lab on the effect of performance expression on musical emotion perception. She enjoys playing the guitar, attending live shows, and has always been fascinated by how music affects our emotions. In addition to managing, she is excited to continue learning about the various projects in the lab and to expand her research and technical skills!

Fadi Mansour (Thesis) 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 the MAPLE Lab on the Auditory Alarms project in hopes to further improve the quality of healthcare in Canada (and hopefully internationally)!

Jackie Zhou (Thesis) is a fourth year Honours PNB student, previous QQ and upcoming Thesis student at the MAPLE Lab working on the Emotional Piano Project! She has passions in both music and mental health. Growing up, she fell in love with music through playing the piano and violin. This past year, she started working with kids on the autism spectrum, providing IBI and integrating music in their day to day lives. It’s been very rewarding for her to get to experience the bridging of both of her interests together. She is super excited to continue using her musical background to contribute and work with the amazing team for another year!

Leanne Cherian is a third-year student pursuing a a BSc in Music (Music Cognition Specialization) in the School of the Arts. She is a Classical Piano major within the program and is exploring the genres of contemporary music and jazz. Beyond studying piano, Leanne also sings, and plays the violin, electric bass, and flute. She aspires to become a composer or a music researcher for an entertainment studio dedicated to television programs and film. Her inspirations are The Caretaker, A.R. Rahman, and Maurice Ravel, as well as various musicians from all over the world expressing their creativity for the classical and contemporary musical arts.

Dorsa Ghenaati is a third-year student. She is extremely passionate to learn about the connection between the mind and the body, and its effects on our health. Growing up, she was surrounded by her brother’s music and was encouraged to incorporate music in her daily life by learning different instruments. She has always been fascinated by the ability to connect to music and its effect on our emotional state. She is excited to be a part of the MAPLE Lab and learn more about music cognition while contributing to the emotional piano project and working with the fellow lab members.

Jessica Jalbert is a third-year student. She is passionate about the physiological and psychological systems that allow us to hear sounds in our environment. Her fascination with the universality of music drew her toward music cognition. She enjoys playing the guitar, listening to film scores, and being in nature. Jessica is excited to contribute to the auditory alarms project at the MAPLE Lab.

Kiarash Kouhdani is a fourth year student who has always had a special interest in cognition and the way people perceive things. Kia aspires to be a singer songwriter, working on many musical projects both independently and with local groups in his spare time. Kia is drawn to the MAPLE Lab as it mixes his interest in perception, cognition, and the mind with his natural love for all things musical.

Chiara Malatesta is a third year music cognition student who always wanted to combine her passion for the arts and sciences. Starting piano and vocal lessons at a young age, she went on to learn violin, and guitar. Now, she teaches classical vocal and piano, sings as a Soprano 1 in McMaster Cantemus choir, and wishes to further her musical expertise in her undergraduate career. As a teacher, she is interested in how music is perceived and experienced at a psychological and physical level. She is looking forward to working with like-minded and passionate individuals in the MAPLE Lab.

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!

Maya Mattar is a third-year student. She grew up learning piano from her father and played in several bands as a percussionist and trumpet player. Maya is curious about the ways in which neural and cognitive processes intersect with musical elements such as rhythm and form, and how these elements contribute to music’s therapeutic benefit in the management of neurologic disorders. Maya is eager to debut in the field of music cognition and develop her research skills as a member of the MAPLE Lab’s Auditory Alarms team. 

Jordan McClean is a fourth-year Honours Music student specializing in Music Cognition. 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. Jordan plans to have a career in music therapy and is looking forward to studying the research behind it at the MAPLE Lab. Jordan has had a great experience being a QQ and Summer USRA recipient for the Emotional Piano Project. She is excited to continue contributing to the project and working with its researchers again.

Olivia McIsaac is a third year student pursuing a BSc in Music (Music Cognition Specialization) in the School of the Arts and minoring in English and cultural studies. She started playing guitar at the age of six and has yet to find an instrument she doesn’t love. She has been involved in a number ensembles over the years and enjoys volunteering in high school music classrooms in her spare time. She currently plays double bass at McMaster but is more often seen with PlayStation controllers and fidget toys in her hand! 

Anika Minoji is a third-year student. Her love for music ignited as an eight-year-old when she started dancing and attending vocal Carnatic music classes. Music is the most interesting and exciting way to learn about the brain. At the MAPLE Lab, she is excited for the opportunity to continue exploring the research world while learning more about the brain on music. As a part of the Alarms project, she hopes to understand more and contribute to improving hospital care. 

Efe Momodu is a third-year Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. Her love for music started in elementary school when she started playing the violin. Since then, she has continued to play in several school ensembles. She has also recently taken up the guitar. In her spare time, Efe loves listening to music while making art. Efe is very excited to join the MAPLE Lab where she will be able to explore her interests in both music and psychology. 

Ava Paidar is a third-year student at McMaster in the PNB program specializing in music cognition. She has played piano since she was 6 years old and achieved up to level 10 of RCM. Music has always been a huge part of her life. She enjoys all genres including rap, jazz, and classical. She never imagined incorporating music and her desire to study psychology. Her interest in music cognition has grown over the past couple of years, drawing her to the MAPLE Lab. Her main interest is how music can cause physiological responses in people. Ava is looking forward to working on the Alarms Project!

Julie Park is a fourth-year B.Sc student in the Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour program specializing in Music Cognition. According to her parents, ever since she could speak Julie has loved to sing and dance. Julie started playing violin at the age of 5 and enjoys playing in intimate chamber groups as well as large ensembles like the McMaster Symphony Orchestra as principal violist. In her spare time, Julie likes to arrange K-pop songs for string ensembles. Julie is very curious about the cognitive processes that occur during music perception and music making. She is excited to explore her interests among the great researchers at the MAPLE Lab!

Vidhi Patel is a third-year student at McMaster. Through the auditory alarms project, she looks forward to learning about the real-life applications of different topics in music cognition. In her free time, she enjoys practicing Bharatanatyam and learning about the theory behind the accompanying Carnatic music. Vidhi is excited to be working with the talented team at the MAPLE Lab and hopes to learn many different skills!

Aditi Shukla is a third-year Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour student specializing in Music Cognition. Her love for listening to music started as soon as she heard her first piece, and her love for playing music started as soon as she picked up her first instrument. When she’s not playing her flute or lyre, she’s likely to have her head buried in a book. Aditi is incredibly excited to work with amazing team members who are passionate about music cognition. She especially looks forward to working on the Emotional Piano project and pursuing future research in the field!

Adrienne Yau is a fourth-year student who loves listening to all genres of music. She especially likes listening to any suggested playlists on her feed and is looking to expand her playlist on Spotify. Growing up, she played the flute and has experience playing the piano. Adrienne is very excited to join the MAPLE Lab to help research how music can impact emotions! A fun fact about Adrienne is that she loves designing keychains!

Cindy Zhang is a third year Health Sciences student currently working on the auditory alarms project. She is investigating the history of auditory alarms and how they have evolved (or not evolved) into how they sound today. She was part of the McMaster Percussion Ensemble and is currently in the Marching Band. One day, she hopes to use her passion for music to make a difference in the medical community. She is excited to continue her project in the MAPLE Lab this year!