How do we learn to detect and predict musical features?
What influences the relationship between musical perception and synchronization?
What happens when we make music together with others?
I am interested in typical and atypical human development, particularly as it relates to auditory, motor, and social processing. My research uses music as a means to examine auditory and motor development in infants and children, and to investigate how musical experiences influence individual behaviour and interpersonal interactions. I use both quantitative and qualitative experimental methods to assess children’s sensitivity to musical features, capture changes in musical ability over the course of development, and examine how shared musical experience impacts development. I am particularly interested in the role of temporal information in auditory entrainment, sensorimotor synchronization, and auditory-motor interactions. My secondary interest is in the prosocial effects of interpersonal synchrony and collaborative music making, both for children who make music with their peers, and for the child-caregiver dyad.
In addition to scholarly research, published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at academic conferences, I also engage in applied research and in knowledge translation. I have a certificate in Knowledge Translation from SickKids Hospital in Toronto, I received the Merit Award for New Faculty at McMaster in recognition of excellence in university teaching, and I have been the recipient of two Dean’s Awards, both for Knowledge Mobilization and Innovation and Excellence in Communicating Research. Separate from my academic investigations, I have worked directly with children and their parents as an arts educator for more than a decade. The goal of my research is to inform pedagogical practice for those educating children and youth, and to influence best practices in care for clinical professionals engaged in treatment or therapy.
Selected Academic Honours
Teaching Merit Award for New Faculty, McMaster Students Union (2014)
Dean’s Award for Excellence in Knowledge Mobilization and Innovation (2014)
Herb Jenkins Discovery Scholar Award, McMaster Alumni Association (2013) [watch the video]
Dean’s Award for Excellence in Communicating Graduate Research (2013)
People’s Choice Award winner, McMaster Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) (2013) [watch the video]
William H. Yates Scholarship, McMaster School of Graduate Studies (2012)
Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS-Masters Award, SSHRC (2010)