If popular wisdom holds that music is good for the soul, science is increasingly seeking to better understand how music can affect the body, brain, and mind, as evidenced by the 2020 publication of the first World Health Organization report on health and music.
In response, the newly established University of Ottawa Music and Health Research Institute (MHRI) has made it its core mission to delve deeper into how musical intervention can affect health, developing the knowledge, innovative therapeutic practices, and solutions that can contribute to improving the health of populations.
The driving force behind this interdisciplinary initiative, which stands at the intersection of music, health sciences, social sciences, engineering, and medicine, is Faculty of Arts Professor Gilles Comeau, who has been appointed as director of the Institute for a five-year mandate. He is joined by the MHRI associate director and Faculty of Health Sciences professor Anna Zumbansen, who will bring her own complementary expertise to the Institute’s leadership.
“We want the Institute to become recognized as a major research hub and a reference in the field of music and health. A place where scholars, clinicians, caregivers, and music educators can exchange knowledge and work together to investigate and demonstrate, through a science-based approach, the benefits of music practice and therapy on physical, sensory, cognitive, and mental health,” says Gilles Comeau.