I am interested in music, brains, and music in brains


Music came first.

I was 3 years old when my parents enrolled me in Early Childhood Music lessons. Classically trained baby I was, I decided that flute was my instrument. "Decided", though, implies some deliberate process of reasoning. In fact, as a 12-year-old, and quite literally overnight, I came to know the flute was for me.

By 15 years old, my parents were chauffeuring me to and from music lessons every day of the week. Flute, musicianship, singing, piano, orchestra, choir, drama; I went to school, I did music, I slept. It came as a surprise to all, therefore, when I chose psychology as my profession. 

Brains, then, came second.

Fast forward to my third year of undergraduate study. I was becoming increasingly ambivalent about what I should do with my soon-to-be completed psychology degree. Whilst people, brains, and their behaviour still fascinated me, I was not sold on the gig of traditional psychotherapist.

Serendipitously, I was pointed in the direction of Oliver Sacks and his book "Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain". Music! In brains! What a thing! It was at that moment, with the same clarity as my 12-year-old-overnight-flautist self, that I began pursuing what would allow me to "do what Oliver did".

This led me from beach town to the University of Melbourne, and to my brilliant supervisor, Professor Sarah Wilson. Currently, I am in my fourth year of a combined Master/PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology and conducting my own research in the field of music neuroscience. Of course, I now understand that nobody will ever quite do what Oliver did. Instead, I am doing what I do. And I have some stories to tell about life as a neuroscientist on music.

Welcome to part three: Music in brains.