“A delightful mash-up of neuroscience and music” – open lecture at QE

Sixth-Formers, staff and visitors were treated to an exposition of the effects of music on the brain by leading neuropsychologist and musician Dr Catherine Loveday.

During the open lecture, Lost in Music, in QE’s Shearly Hall, Dr Loveday, of the University of Westminster, endeavoured to unravel the mystery of music’s power, accompanied by professional pianist Anna Tilbrook, soprano Joanne McGahon and guitarist Darren Loveday.

Dr Loveday described music as “fundamental, universal and ubiquitous”. She referred to a 2004 study which documented more than 100 different feelings evoked in people by music. She outlined how physical changes to the body and brain underlie these emotional responses to music. Dr Loveday also referred to evidence that music can lower blood pressure, ease stress and reduce pain.

“Laughter, screaming and crying – they’re all basically a form of music and we’re innately primed by it,” said Dr Loveday. “We have these primal, direct responses, but then, as we learn the language of music more, our appreciation deepens. We become able to use sounds in more complex ways…matched by the complexity of our emotional responses.”

A lecture by Dr Loveday on the same theme, at the University of Westminster, was described in The Psychologist magazine as “a delightful neuroscience and music mash-up”.