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Seeking bright undergraduates for doctoral program in music cognition

Dear colleagues:

I am writing to let you know of our strengths in Auditory and Music Cognition at McGill, and our interest in recruiting two or three top students for our doctoral program next year. We believe that McGill offers a unique combination of opportunities, and hope that you will consider encouraging your best undergraduates students to apply for graduate study here. McGill is very strong in both psychology and music, and students will have access to advisors in both faculties. In addition, The Montreal Neurological Institute offers the possibility of neuroimaging studies for qualified students, including fMRI and PET. To build on our existing strengths, our team was recently awarded a half million dollar grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation to equip a state-of-the art music cognition laboratory. Some of the items available to students and post-docs will be a Yamaha DiscClavier recording piano, digital audio and video editing stations, ProTools, digital reverberation simulators, and high speed computers for processing soundfiles, running computer simulations, and analyzing neuroimaging data.

In addition, the city of Montreal offers an attractive place to live and study, offering (1) McGill's reputation as one of the leading research centers in the world; (2) four universities, with multidisciplinary opportunities through agreements among all Quebec universities; (3) a large, cosmopolitan city that is among the safest in North America; (4) one of the highest qualities of life and lowest costs of living of major North American cities; and (5) musical diversity with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, a vibrant jazz scene, the well-known Montreal Jazz Festival, and world music from many different cultures

Our faculty and their areas of interest include:

Albert Bregman, (Department of Psychology, emeritus, available to co-advise students): auditory scene analysis, pattern processing, grouping

Eugenia Costa-Giomi (Faculty of Music): musical development, music perception in children, music education, the nonmusical effects of music instruction.

Daniel Levitin (Department of Psychology): memory for music, musical expertise, grouping principles, Williams Syndrome

Robert Zatorre (Montreal Neurological Institute): cognitive neuroscience of music, psychophysics, auditory cognition and perception, brain substrates of musical emotion.

Some of the topics our research currently addresses include:
(1) Auditory object formation and grouping principles;
(2) The nature of musical expertise: why some people become "expert"
and others don't, even with equivalent amounts of practice?
(3) What are the neuropsychological underpinnings of musicality?
(4) What is the nature of musical memory?
(5) What is the functional and structural organization of the human auditory cortex, including hemispheric asymmetries; how can these features help us to understand the neural underpinnings that allow the processing of musical sounds?
(6) What are the long-term effects of music instruction on children's development?
(7) How critical is the age at which music instruction is provided for the development of certain musical (e.g., absolute pitch) and nonmusical (e.g. specific spatial skills) abilities?
(8) How do young children perceive harmonic functions?

More information is available from the McGill Web site: http://www.mcgill.ca and http://www.psych.mcgill.ca
Daniel J. Levitin Phone: (514) 398-8263
Assistant Professor FAX: (514) 398-4896
Department of Psychology
Associate Member of the Faculty of Music

Mailing Address:
McGill University
Stewart Biology Building
1205 Ave. Dr. Penfield
Montreal, PQ H3A 1B1

email: levitin@psych.mcgill.ca

Web site: http://www-ccrma.stanford.edu/~levitin