Starting a new year in the lab


It’s a new school year and the MAPLE Lab would like to welcome our new team of students for 2017-2018! This year we are welcoming a graduate student, Sharmila Sreetharan, into the lab. We also have new undergraduate research assistants Cameron Anderson, Rebecca Benjamin, Sebastian Kay, Isabella LaMantia, Laura Noble, Melissa Paul, Alisha Song, and Alex Wong. You can find out more about them on our people page. Keep up with all of our new projects and events on our news and events page!

MAPLE Lab End-of-Semester Brunch

  The MAPLE Lab recently came together for an end-of-semester brunch at West End Diner.  The lab had a lot to celebrate after a very productive term of running experiments, presenting findings, and publishing papers.  We look forward to what the next year will bring so stay tuned for more new and exciting updates.  Until then, you can look over our publications, learn more about our research projects, and read about the people in the lab.  We hope you have a safe and happy holidays!

Practice, practice, practice: “This is your Brain on Excerpts”

Toronto, ON

RyersonRepetition is widely known as one of the building blocks of expert performance.  As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!  To assess the neural implications of practice, Dr. Schutz spent his 2015-16 sabbatical as a Visiting Professor at Ryerson University’s SMART Lab, which led to an ongoing project using EEG to explore use of the Action Observation Network (AON) when processing musical movements.  

This collaborative effort will build upon Dr. Russo’s previous work exploring the AON in other contexts, by examining whether it is triggered when trained percussionists watch musical movements they have previously performed repeatedly. If you are a percussionist and would like to participate, please click here for more information. 

Music Cognition lectures at the Honors Music Institute

State College, PA

Honors Music InstituteCome learn about music cognition at the Penn State Honors Music Institute! These plain language summaries of hot areas within music cognition will take place from 2:40-3:20 in Esber Hall on July 18, 19th, & 20th.  Oriented towards our exceptional high school musicians, they are also open to the Penn State Community at large and are titled:


  • Monday July 18th: Seeing Music?  What performing musicians need to know about vision and perception
  • Tuesday July 19th: Communicating emotion in music: A complex dialogue between composers, performers, and audiences
  • Wednesday July 20th: How “feeling the beat” can help improve musical rhythm

Using Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier to explore cues used to convey emotion

Toronto, Ontario

BachExcited by developments in tuning during his lifetime, Johann Sebastian Bach wrote The Well Tempered Clavier in 1722 to explore the then-novel possibility of using all 24 major and minor keys.  Widely recognized as a landmark composition, it has captured the hearts and minds of pianists, harpsichordists, and audiences for generations.  From a music cognition perspective, it offers an ideal corpus for exploring the complex relationship between pitch height, modality, and timing – three cues known to be salient in the communication of emotion.  Dr. Schutz will discuss new insights on the communication of emotion in music taken from this landmark composition as part of the Brain, Perception & Cognition group series of talks at Ryerson University (starting at 2:30 in room 943 Jorgensen Hall).

Dr. Schutz selected for first Faculty of Humanities Research Time Stipend (RTS) award

As part of the Faculty’s Research Incentive Program, the Faculty of Humanities Dean’s Office awarded 3 units of course release.  These awards were based on a combination of grant acquisition and strong productivity for the stage in their career.  The award will provide additional funds to hire a session instructor for one 3 unit course during the 2014-15, allowing Dr. Schutz more time to focus on the lab’s research regarding amplitude envelope.



Meet lab members playing in the McMaster University Percussion Ensemble

We complement music research with music performance.

Humanities Media Computing visited the McMaster University Percussion Ensemble to talk with students about the group’s incredible musical growth.

The result is this engaging “info-mercial” featuring excerpts from recent performances, explanation about the group’s role in offering an artistic outlet for students from a variety of Faculties, and discussion of the ensemble’s role in community engagement.

The clip features interviews with several students who both play in the ensemble and work the Lab: Raven Hebert-Lee (Humanities), Monique Tardif (Science), Zach Louch (Humanities), Shawn Kerr (Humanities), as well as ensemble members Christine Chung (Health Sciences) and Stewart Crocker (Humanities).



McMaster ARB funds Research and Conference travel

Dr. Schutz has been awarded two McMaster ARB grants for the lab: (1)the research grant ($6,695) providing funding to continue and expand the lab’s work on acoustic cues for communicating emotion in music and (2) The conference travel award ($825) helped to offset costs related to Dr. Schutz’s presentation at PASIC 2011 on the uses technology in percussion related research. Read more about these projects on our ARB funding page discussing each of the lab’s ARB awards. Happy sad music note


Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation recognizes Dr. Schutz with the Early Researcher Award ($140,000)

Dr. Schutz received Ontario’s Early Research Award, a prize for faculty within the first 10 years of their research careers. This $140,000 award will support graduate and undergraduate students in the lab working under his supervision.

Dr. Schutz is McMaster’s first Humanities faculty member to receive this award. This will provide crucial funding to help build his research team and secure future grants to enhance the lab’s productivity.

McMaster University’s three Early Researcher Award recipients (Joanna Wilson, Gianni Parise, and Michael Schutz) along with MPP Sophia Aggelonitis and Dr. Mo Elbestawi.