Summary of research meetings held by AIRS members July – August 2008

A summary of research meetings held by AIRS members July – August 2008

Harold Abeles, Lori Custodero, and Lily Chen-Haftek and I met at Columbia University on June 2(I was in NY for a conference unrelated to AIRS). We discussed the project in general, and their expertise in education, cross-cultural issues, and singing. Each of them has a wealth of information and expertise relevant to our project.

Frank Russo of the Dept. or Psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto, and the Department Chair, Jean-Paul Boudreau met with me on June 5 to discuss the AIRS project in general and its potential connection to some new collaborations under development at Ryerson with the Royal Conservatory of Music, and an early childhood education program. Frank also showed me his new laboratory which is well equipped to measure the movement of muscles of the face during singing and to record and analyse singing. While in Toronto, I also met with Henrietta Lempert who has expertise in developmental psycholinguistics and with the CHILDES database.

In June, in conjunction with the Canadian Psychological Association annual meeting taking place in Halifax, Sandra Trehub, Jennifer Sullivan, Leslie Philmore, Mary Gick, Jennifer Nicol, met. The following day I met with Petra Hauf and with Chris Blanchard and Janice Richman-Eisenstat. Many of us attended Sandra Trehub’s keynote on children’s musicality, including Jean-Paul Boudreau.

On June 19, at the University of Western Ontario, Rachel Heydon, Susan O’Neill, June Countryman, Frank Russo, and Christine Tzang met. I presented an overview on AIRS followed by discussion, then a working lunch. The afternoon focused on the Intergenerational Art program developed and well articulated by Rachel Heydon at Mount Saint Vincent senior care institute in Seattle. The following day, I met with Steven Brown, unavailable the previous day, who delivered a key-note at the Canadian Society for Brain, Behavior and Cognitive Science (CSBBCS) at UWO. A poster was presented on the AIRS Digital Library (Cohen, Armstrong, Drew, Johnson, & Leggott). The next day, I met with Peter Graf who serves on the executive of the Canadian Psychological Association, and we discussed the possibility of partnership with CPA. He was optimistic about this idea, with suggestions of a special AIRS session at the next CPA in Montreal.

On June 23, Rena Upitis, Anne Patteson, and Larry O’Farrell met at Queen’s University in Rena’s office. Rena and Anne co-ordinated a major national multi-year program of Learning through the Arts in conjunction with the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto, and Anne is the research co-ordinator now for the RCM. Larry holds a UNESCO Chair in the Faculty of Education.

At Neuromusic III in Montreal the following persons had a working lunch on Friday, June 27: Isabelle Peretz, Frank Russo, Laurel Trainor, Lauren Stewart, Stephen Brown, Simone Dalla Bella, Sandra Trehub, Jean Zarate, and Judy Platinga. Stephen Mithen, author of the Singing Neanderthal and recently appointed Dean of Science at Reading University gave an impressive address. The group agreed to invite Stephen Mithen to be on the arms-length AIRS Advisory Board. He has accepted. I also met with Rena Sharon who was unable to attend the Friday meeting, and also Boris Kleber from Tubingen conducting remarkable brain imaging research who will likely be joining the BRAMs group in a postdoctoral position in Montreal next year. A poster on the suggested protocol for singing acquisition data (Cohen, Armstrong, Lannan & Coady) was presented.

At the 2nd. Joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America at the European Acoustical Association in Paris the special session to honour Johan Sundberg, organized by Sten Ternström and myself, included Simone Dalla Bella, Jaan Ross, and Stephanie Stadler Elmer as invited speakers, and Johan Sundberg was also present and offered closing comments. This was the first public presentation of the AIRS project and it led to contacts with Masataka Goto creator of the RWC Music Database and co-organizer of next year’s International Conference on Music Information Retrieval (with our AIRS researcher, Ichiro Fujinaga). Kathleen Murray, a vocalist and graduate student in computer science at U. Penn, also followed up on our presentation. A working lunch took place Tuesday, July 1 at 12:30 and also included Nathalie Henrich, who had organized another special session on singing at the meeting, and Coralie Vincent who is an engineering technician supporting a major phonetics and phonology laboratory at the University of Paris. Coralie had previously assisted the Arts-Netlantic Project at UPEI several years earlier. Members of this group continued to meet over the next two days. Stephanie Stadler Elmer accompanied me to a meeting with Georges Poussin of UNESCO and his staff (set up by Larry O’Farrell, UNESCO Chair in Arts and Culture at Queen’s) and on a visit to IRCAM where we discussed with the eminent Xavier Rodet the possibility of partnership with IRCAM on three possible projects (acoustic analysis of choir singing, traditional singing in Corsica, and artificial intelligence models of singing – adapting programs created at IRCAM for voice synthesis, which we heard demonstrated). IRCAM is a renowned large facility dedicated to support new music and composition with the latest technologies. I also met Gina Cardillo a graduate student at the University of Washington, (a member of the Microsoft orchestra) who was keenly interested in the project.

A number of AIRS researchers from around the world will have significant roles in the ISME (International Society in Music Education) conference in Bologna, and they will take advantage of the opportunity to meeting as a group to discuss the AIRS proposal (e.g., Lily Chen-Hafteck, Lori Custodero, Beatriz Ilari, Helga Gudmundsdottir,  Suzie O'Neill, Andrea Rose) and Lily and Steven Clift and possibly others will be at a related meeting in Rome. An effort will be made to have a working lunch to discuss AIRS international projects associated with education.

The first regional AIRS workshop will be held at UPEI on Wednesday,July 30th. Betty Bailey, Godfrey Baldacchino, Jean Mitchell, Petra Hauf, Jennifer Sullivan, Chris Blanchard, Kati Szego, Sun-ha ShinBouey and Annabel Cohen) followed by a grant-development and writing session the next day,July 31st.

Following this, several of us will have to take on the task of finishing up the proposal, and we will continue working hard to have a final draft by August 15th

Still we leave open the opportunity for fine-tuning when a dozen or more of the AIRS researchers will meet in Sappora (Mayumi Adachi, Annabel Cohen, Laurel Trainor, Sandra Trehub, Takayuki Nakata, Bradley Vines, Jane Ginsborg, Maija Fredrikson, Kate Stevens, Ian Cross, Jennifer Nicol, Graham Welch, Isabelle Peretz, Richard Parncutt, Steve DeMorest) in an AIRS 1st International Expert Workshop, taking place August 24, from 4 – 7 pm the day before the start of ICMPC10.


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