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AMPS: Past Seminar Series

Past Seminar Series

Select the that year you would like to see

2012 Seminar Series

The 2012 Brotherton Lecture: Music in the Brain
Speaker : Professor Isabelle Peretz, International Laboratory for Brain, M
Date :8th Mar


Psychological Sciences, in association with Music, Mind and Wellbeing at The University of Melbourne present:

The 2012 Brotherton Lecture: Music in the Brain

Thursday 8 March, 7-8pm
Carrillo Gantner Lecture Theatre,
Sidney Myer Asia Centre, University of Melbourne
761 Swanston St, 3052.

Podcast: 80/ess/echo/presentation/3d8564b3-aa25-4143-9d81-1d974dc0030c/media.mp3


Professor Isabelle Peretz
International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), University of Montreal

Of all the performing arts, music is the most mysterious. Why and how music works on our brain will be the focus of this talk. The study of musical emotions plays a crucial role in this neurobiological perspective. Indeed, musical emotions are inherent to experiences of music and may account for its ubiquity, its therapeutic effects and its benefits to cognitive functioning.

To register for the event, please go to
For more information on the organisers:
Music, Mind & Wellbeing, The University of Melbourne:
Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences:
University of Melbourne:

Adolescents' experiences of music
Speaker : Professor Susie O'Neill
Date :12th Apr


There is evidence that the involvement of young people as collaborators in the process of research contributes to the value and relevance of the information gathered. Young people, working within their own peer cultures, have a perspective that is not always easy for researchers and teachers to tap into. Yet, their “insider” knowledge can make an important contribution to understanding the ways in which young people relate to it, interpret it, respond to it emotionally, and make their own personal, meaningful connections. Drawing on a blend of positive youth development, emotional and motivational competence frameworks, and real-world learning research, A/Prof O'Neill will discuss how different perspectives frame aspects of youth experience in ways that enable purposeful engagement by some while creating barriers and constraints for others. A/Prof O'Neill will also discuss how a psychological approach can both shed light and obfuscate our understanding of motivation and emotional expression in adolescents' experiences of music.

Associate Professor O'Neill is an authoritative and distinctive figure in music psychology, arts and music education and performance internationally. A/Prof O’Neill is primarily a music psychology researcher and arts education theorist who has undertaken pioneering research on artistic and skill development and the acquisition of expert musical skills. She hasbeen an invited speaker at many universities around the world, including Oxford, Cambridge, University of London, Harvard, Northwestern, Columbia, and she has taught in universities in Canada, England, Hong Kong, Portugal and the United States. From 2001-2003 she was awarded Visiting Fellowship at the University of Michigan, USA. She has over 100 publications, including 15 chapters in books published by Oxford University Press. She is currently the Senior Editor of the Canadian Music Educators’ Association Biennial Book Series, Research to Practice.

To attend this event, please register at

Sources of Individual Differences in Musical Ensemble Skills
Speaker : Dr Peter Keller
Date :30th Apr


Here is a link to a recording of a recent presentation, kindly provided with permission. This link will remain active for a limited time.

Fluent in Music: Improvisation Through Informal Learning
Speaker : Chris Sommervelle
Date :24th May


Chris Sommervelle, recipient of an AMPS Travel Assistance Award, will present a preview of his upcoming presentation at the 30th ISME World Conference on Music Education, Thessaloniki, Greece in July, 2012 with colleagues Dr. Anthony Branker from Princeton University; Associate Professor Kathleen Camara from Tufts University; and Professor Ed Sarath, Michigan University.

The process of improvising music has often been likened to speech. Most humans improvise speech effortlessly with only a surface knowledge of the process. We learn to speak via modelling: hearing sounds, making sense of them, copying and reproducing them. In this way, children master the complexities of pronunciation and grammar without knowing how. In contrast to this, many formally trained musicians are “mute”: unable to improvise music the way we improvise speech. Other musicians are “fluent”: able to improvise easily and effortlessly. This distinction may be to do with differences in how music is learned. Most formal music instruction happens via the visual process of reading notation and technical and theoretical instruction. Very little happens via aural modeling. In informal learning, the main learning approach is modeling: copying recordings of real music by ear (Green, 2002). This approach has been shown to develop high levels of aural skills and a concomitant “fluency” in music. The aim of this paper is to explore the literature on informal learning, music cognition and modeling to suggest why copying music by ear may be an effective and enjoyable way to teach and learn the art of improvisation.

The Magnificent Galactic Odyssey of Captain Alice, the Neon White Rabbit and the Howling Herd of Amplified Elephants
Speaker : Dr. James Hullick
Date :21st Jun


In this presentation Dr. James Hullick will discuss the intersection between science, sound art and community in the context of his role as researcher, sound artist and Director of The Click Clack Project – a sound art organization that nurtures professional outcomes with artists from community. James will focus the discussion on his research with the Amplified Elephants – a sound art ensemble for people with an intellectual disability who are based at the Footscray Community Arts Centre. James will discuss the following question: where is the place for sound art in music psychology discourse?

Biography: Dr. James Hullick

James completed his doctorate at RMIT University's School of Music in early 2011 where he researched Recursion in Sonic Art. In 2012 James was accepted as a McKenzie Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Melbourne's Music Mind and Wellbeing Initiative. James has been a professional composer for 20 years and is the Director of The Click Clack Project Inc., a not for profit sound art organisation dedicated to delivering professional outcomes with community participants and professional sound artists and musicians. He is also the director of JOLT Arts Inc., a professional sound art organisation. Among his work through JOLT, James has Artistically Directed major international projects, examples of which include the JOLT 2011 International Sound Art Festival and JOLT's Dark Luminance project, which involved exhibitions by Australian artists in New York Galleries (2009). In September 2012 James will direct the JOLT 2012 International Festival and Tour in Japan.

For many years James has worked in partnership with the Foostcray Community Arts Centre, where he works closely with the Amplified Elephants, a sound art ensemble for people with an intellectual disability.

Artistry and the ear of the beholder
Speaker : A/Professor Dorottya Fabian, The University of New South Wales
Date :20th Aug


Listeners and critics are quick to decide who the greatest interpreters of classical music are. But the evidence of sound recordings tells a sobering story regarding changes of taste and expert opinion. This is nowhere clearer than in the history of performing J. S. Bach’s music. In this presentation Dorottya Fabian will discuss the implications for our understanding of music’s expressive and emotional power.

This talk forms part of Melbourne Recital Centre's "Music and The Mind" series presented in association with Music, Mind & Wellbeing, which explores the relationship between music and the human brain and the related links to social wellbeing, participation, learning and development and the role of music in our contemporary communities.

Location: The Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre, Cnr Southbank Boulevard & Sturt Street, Southbank, Vic.


This event is free and general admission, however tickets are required for entry.

Click here to book tickets online, or otherwise call the Melbourne Recital Centre booking office on +61 (0)3 9699 3333.

Tickets only guarantee you a seat if you enter the Salon before 5.50pm. If you are not seated by 5.50pm, then entry is not guaranteed and your tickets may become invalid.

In reserving tickets for this event, you agree to the conditions above.

If you are unable to reserve a ticket, then it is likely that all tickets are allocated. You are still welcome to arrive at the Centre and after 5.50pm, you are welcome to any unoccupied seating. Please note that if you choose to arrive without a ticket, there is no guarantee of seating or entry to the event.

Humming, Silence and Trance: Music and Human Evolution
Speaker : Joseph Jordania
Date :23rd Aug


Everyone might have witnessed a situation where a TV or radio is switched on in a household although no one is listening. Is this just negligence and a waste of energy, or there are deeper psychological reasons? The author will argue that human singing and humming has been an important means of survival for our species in the earliest stages of evolution, and that silence is basically a sign of danger for us as a species. A wide range of topics, from the use of music and rhythm universally in religious rituals all over the world and the use of loud rock music by contemporary American soldiers before they go into combat missions, to the soothing sounds of lullabies and use of music in music therapy, will be discussed in the light of human evolution.

The presenter is Joseph Jordania, PhD in musicology, author of three books on choral singing and the origins of music. In 2009 he was awarded the “Fumio Koizumi Prize in Ethnomusicology”, in recognition of “his contribution to systematic analysis of folk polyphonies of the world, and for proposing a new model for the origins of traditional choral singing in the broad context of human evolution.” His most recent publication “Universals in the world’s musics,” written together with Steven Brown, appeared in Psychology of Music (published online on December 2011).