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Author: Cadence

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Cadence is a podcast about music: how it affects your brain, your life, and the community in which you live.

Join our host, cognitive neuroscientist and classically trained opera singer Indre Viskontas while we talk to scientists, musicians, musicologists, and composers to find answers to some of the biggest questions still surrounding the intersection of music and science. How much can we learn about the mind with music as the lens?
18 Episodes
In this final episode of season 2, we look at the dramatic effects music can have on patients with dementia—in some cases, it can bring back people who seem to be almost completely lost.
Watching someone suffer through a serious illness is heartbreaking—especially if it’s a child, and even more if it affects their ability to communicate. Can music empower such people by giving them a way to express themselves during moments when they may not be otherwise capable? MyMusicRx, a unique program that puts control into the hands of the kids, is attempting to do just that.
In this episode, we meet Tony Deblois, an individual with autism who is also blind. Tony can play 23 instruments, has toured all over the world, and has accompanied musical theater productions—all without out ever opening a score. How does he do it? Where does this prodigious talent come from? And what can we learn about ourselves from Tony’s story?
This episode was partly taped live during Indre’s faculty artist recital at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. It explores how music can be used to comfort, heal, and reduce conflict under the most extreme circumstances. But it’s also not always welcome.
In this episode we meet Terry. After a devastating car accident he was left with profound damage to his brain’s left hemisphere, significantly impairing his ability to speak. We learn about how—with music—Terry is rewiring his brain and regaining speech.
In this episode, we meet Sandra C., a guest at a sanctuary called Rosie's Place for poor and homeless women in Boston. At Rosie's Place, guests are treated with dignity and respect, and given access to resources designed to improve their lives. One of these resources is an English language class done in partnership with the music therapy program at the Berklee College of Music in which music is part of the core curriculum.
In this episode, we tell the story of a dance class designed for people who are losing the ability to move voluntarily. Mike Gabel, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease four years ago, explains why he never misses a class.
This season, we’re going to focus on music as medicine—telling the stories of people whose lives have been immeasurably improved with music. In this episode, we talk about William’s Syndrome, a genetic condition that causes heart problems, intellectual disabilities and a profound love of music. We hear from 31-year-old Benjamin Monkaba, who has the condition, his mother Terry, and Jennifer Latson, author of The Boy Who Loved Too Much, a book about William's Syndrome.
As we finish up season one, we look back to one of the most famous and strange musical illusions: speech turning into song through repetition. We explore some new research on the relationship between singing and speaking and what happens in the brain when the illusion works. And we look forward to season two, in which we'll focus in on what music can tell us about medicine.
It takes years to train your ears - but not necessarily a music degree. Auditory neuroscientist Nina Kraus tells us how musicians listen and therefore hear differently with training. Orchestral conductor Eric Dudley explains that the secret to getting an orchestra to sync up is teaching them to listen and ukulele player and comedic musician Molly Lewis demonstrates how she taught herself to become a musician by listening better.
In this episode we continue our exploration of how musicians tell time and how anyone embodies pulse. We talk to Dean Buonomano, a neuroscientist who studies time at UCLA and we hear from previous guests: music cognition researcher Jessica Grahn, percussionist Jack van Geem, and film director Jonathan Lynn.
How do our brains tell where the pulse is in music? Can we improve our sense of rhythm or is it something we're just born with? In this episode, we learn how professional percussionist Jack Van Geem became a precision timing machine, and how he teaches his student, Katrina Shore, to develop her skills. We also talk to music cognition researcher Jessica Grahn to find out what's happening in our brains when we feel the beat.
You often hear people say that music is good for your brain because it's the only activity that uses all of it. That's not true. And the truth is actually much more interesting. In this episode, we talk to auditory neuroscientist Nina Kraus, who explains how musical training changes what we hear, or, more specifically, how we listen.
Is there music that is considered universally great? Why do some composers from 18th century European countries still sell out concert halls hundreds of years later, while most of their contemporaries have been forgotten? Is their music really that much better? Or have we convinced ourselves that it’s better because we know that we're supposed to like it?
We take a step back from neuroscience and psychology to listen to what artists have to say about what music is for.
Last episode we met George Shin, who not too long ago received a cochlear implant and started to take piano lessons as part of a study at the University of California in San Francisco. This week we will learn more about his journey, the purpose and results of the study, and we’ll start exploring how people find meaning in music.
This week we attempt to find out if there are any universals in music, how the same sounds can go from speech to song, and how our auditory system processes music.
What is music? How would you define it? Does it defy definition? In this episode we try to get answers to those questions from from a pioneer in music cognition research, a musicologist, and an otolaryngologist who surgically restores hearing and studies the brain basis of musical improvisation. Produced by Adam Isaak and Indre Viskontas. Music in this episode was provided by acclaimed New Zealand composer Rhian Sheehan from his album Stories From Elsewhere.
Comments (4)

Misty Aurora Reilly

Cochlear implants

Oct 1st

Ziyad Alli

Ethiopia Oromo Music Videos Apple Music

Sep 6th


looks like found what I've been looking for.

Sep 5th

Amanda Lutes

Absolutely LOVE Cadence! Thank you for the brilliant merge of music & medicine. ❤️

Jan 11th
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