The Guardian reports on the day Tinie Tempah has his brain scanned ‘on music’

What really happens to our brains when we hear music?’ That’s the question asked by Richard Vine of The Guardian at the start of his feature about the day that rapper Tinie Tempah agreed to let scientists scan his brain.

There follows a fascinating article shaped around research undertaken by Professor Slawomir Nasuto, director of Reading University’s Brain Embodiment Laboratory, and Dr Ian Daly on the Brain Computer Music Interface for Monitoring and Inducing Affective States (BCMI-MIdAS) – a joint project with a team at the University of Plymouth lead by Professor Eduardo Miranda.

Normally the pair work with undergraduate students. But their participant for this experiment was award-winning rapper Tinie Tempah. For Professor Slawomir Nasuto and Dr Ian Daly, this is the “holy grail” at the heart of a five-year project. They’re hoping to harness the emotional power of music for therapeutic uses – “to create a system which eventually will be able to help people with depression and different forms of emotional disorders associated with neurological disorders.”


For the experiment, they get subjects like Tinie to listen to music under laboratory conditions: hooked up to an EEG (electroencephalogram) while having their brains scanned from the inside of an fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine. By combining the data collected, a fuller picture of what’s happening when we experience emotions emerges; we can see what areas of the brain are being stimulated when our brains are listening to music, and how much activity there is. In other words, what your brain looks like “on music”.

Watch the video of Tinie Tempah’s brain on music or read more using the sources below.


The Guardian:
Music Channel Blog:

Principal fires security guards to hire art teachers — and transforms school

A primary school in the States was ranked bottom in its state and plagued by violence – until a new head got rid of the security guards and invested money in the arts.

Back in 2003, Orchard Gardens, the newest school in the community of Roxbury, Massachusetts, USA, had art studios, a dance room, even a theatre.

But the dream of a school founded in the arts never materialised. Instead, the dance studio was used for storage and the orchestra’s instruments were barely touched.

The school was plagued by violence and disorder from the start, and by 2010 it was ranked in the bottom five of all public schools in the state of Massachusetts. Then Andrew Bott became principal – the sixth  in seven years —  and everything started to change.

Three years later, the school is almost unrecognisable and Orchard Gardens has one of the fastest student improvement rates in the state.

NBC News:

Music with young people in challenging circumstances

Stories/case studies written by Anita Holford and featuring music work with young people in challenging circumstances, supported through Youth Music’sMusical Inclusion programme. If you’re involved in working with young people through music and/or reaching young people who may be disengaged from learning and from life, then these stories will be of interest.

It’s been fascinating, and a privilege, to talk to these music leaders about their work and hear the stories of the young people they work with and the difference that music has started to make to their lives and futures. Thanks to everyone who I spoke to and all who have been involved.

Wiltshire Music Centre – Learning disabled young people: A place for us and for our creativity
Wiltshire Youth Arts Partnership – Music Matters: Re-engaging vulnerable young people in learning and in life
Roses Theatre Tewkesbury & Gloucestershire Music Makers – Investing in a young music leader: small cost, for a long-term impact

Gloucestershire Music Makers – Michael’s story: from Hospital Education to performing live
Gloucestershire Music Makers – Charlie’s story: getting back into learning through music work in PRU setting
Gloucestershire Music Makers – Home-schooled pupil finds confidence and concentration through music

NB: The final three case studies were written earlier (a year or so ago) to advocate the work of Gloucestershire Music Makers (now called The Music Works) and the Make Music Gloucestershire music education hub.  For more about inclusion work in Gloucestershire, see the Music Changes Lives section of the Make Music Gloucestershire website.

To read more about musical inclusion work …

There’s a great book published by Music Mark and edited by Phil Mullen and Chris Harrison, called Reaching Out: music education with ‘hard to reach’ children and young people. Music Mark members can get it from their website at a reduced price. An important buy for anyone working with children and young people through music, particularly those involved in music education hubs.

More about Youth Music and Musical Inclusion

The National Foundation for Youth Music (Youth Music) is the leading UK children’s charity using music to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people. It develops, funds and supports exemplary music provision at every stage of a young person’s development. The Musical Inclusion programme is funding music work with children and young people in challenging circumstances across England – addressing gaps in provision, increasing opportunities, and improving effective practice and outcomes.

With thanks to Malcolm Pollock for the largest of the photos above; and to the projects for all other photos.