From Tod Machover’s Facebook, photos from INK Talks, Kochi, Kerala, India:
Dan Ellsey, a young man with cerebral palsy whose life was transformed when he learned to compose music using Hyperscore, is the subject of a new documentary film, Music is My Voice. Hyperscore was developed by the Opera of the Future group at the M.I.T. Media Lab and featured in this TED Talk by Tod Machover, with a live performance by Dan. The new film, directed by Jesse Roesler, is a semi-finalist in the Focus/Forward contest. Congratulations! Here’s the trailer and a chance to vote!
Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed made the 90-minute drive up to Santa Barbara last week to attend Tod Machover’s talk on “Music, Mind and Health: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Well-being through Active Sound,” one of four lectures he gave recently at the university’s Sage Center for the Study of the Mind. In today’s issue, Swed reflects on the concept of music as therapy and a future in which each of us could have music that is tailored to our individual psyches. Tod’s new CD “…but not simpler…” gets a nice mention too!
Here’s an excerpt:
“Machover, an intriguing futurologist as well as an inventive composer, runs the departments in hyper-instruments (acoustical instruments given spiffy electronic features) and opera of the future at MIT‘s ultra-high-tech Media Lab…Music, Machover said, touches on just about every aspect of cognition. There are theories that music exists to exercise the mind and to help coordinate its separate functions. Music lovers intuitively know what researchers have verified, that music modulates our moods, helps us move, stimulates our language skills, strengthens our memories and can wondrously bring about emotional responses without their bothersome consequences…
“In an inspiring feedback loop, Machover and his MIT minions, which include some of the nation’s most forward-looking graduate students, are applying their musical gadgets to therapy. The process of making remarkable restorative advances is changing how they think about and make music. And that could affect how the rest of us might think about and make music in the not-so-distant future.”
Read the full article here: Musical therapy is making breakthroughs
The new movie “Anonymous” shows that our culture is more obsessed than ever with celebrity and genius, and that we look for transcendent heroes capable of leading us through the darkness. On the other end, masses of people meet online as “friends” to share intimacies or to solve problems collectively. The truth is that the real power of invention lies in between these two extremes, where experts can collaborate as equals with everyone else, combining unique and broad perspectives for the benefit of all. Music provides an ideal test bed for this new mode of collaboration.
Tod Machover’s group at the MIT Media Lab has spent the last 25 years developing technologies to enhance the musical expression of virtuosi like Yo-Yo Ma, to open the expressive and creative musical potential for amateurs, children and the infirm, and to breakdown barriers between artist and audience. We are now entering a bold new phase of inter-skill collaboration, informed by the recent successes of Guitar Hero, Björk’s Biophilia, and RjDj’s mobile music apps. Through physical composing, sequenced sonic objects, morphing Mozart-to-merengue, and creating City Symphonies and Personal Operas, Tod believes that a more satisfying musical ecology can be forged which – in turn – will be a powerful inspiration for a more creative society.
Watch Tod’s recent TEDxNewEngland talk:
Here’s a cool article and video from Adam Boulanger’s visit last week to Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School in Midland, PA. Twenty-one students from the school are being trained to teach Alzheimer’s patients to use a music composition tool. They are part of a collaborative research study with the M.I.T. Media Lab, the Cleveland Clinic and the Yamaha Music and Wellness Institute.
Adam, a postdoctoral researcher at the Media Lab, spent the day training students to compose music using Hyperscore. This graphical music composition tool was developed some years ago by Tod Machover’s Opera of the Future research group at the Media Lab, and has been used with great success around the world. Originally designed for children, it has been embraced by adults and has even shown powerful therapeutic benefits in people with physical and psychiatric disabilities (see Tod’s TED Talk).
Early next year, the students will teach 18 volunteer seniors to compose music using Hyperscore as part of a clinical trial.
Bowers & Wilkins put up this post that gives you a chance to hear some of the music from Tod Machover’s most recent work, “Spheres and Splinters”, debuted in Aldeburgh and London last November. The video is a tad confusing because it mixes in footage from other performers and composers at TEDx Aldeburgh, but it provides an evocative record of a special event.
This week’s Classical Music Magazine features the “Spheres and Splinters” collaborative work that composer Tod Machover, cellist Peter Gregson, sound designer Ben Bloomerberg and artist collective UVA (UnitedVisualArtists) will be working on during their residency at TEDx Aldeburgh and Aldeburgh’s New Music New Media.
Here is the article (click to enlarge):