The Sound Health Network is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the University of California, San Francisco, in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Renée Fleming.

Our mission is to promote research and public awareness about the impact of music on health and wellness. Visit our website here.

SHN Newsletter: Fall 2022

How Can Music Heal our Communities?

This fall, we're shining the spotlight on music's potential to help heal communities. We will be talking with the Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, as well as Quetzal Flores and Fred Johnson in November, mapping out how music can build and bridge communities and what our stakeholders can do to support this work. What would you like to know about the role that music plays in our communities? Submit your questions to by November 9th and we'd be delighted to include them in our webinar, which will be released on November 16th on our YouTube channel

Up Next:

Webinar: How Music Heals Communities

November 16, 2022

Our next webinar will be released on November 16th, 2022. We'll be talking to musicians Fred Johnson & Quetzal Flores, along with NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, on how music can be most effective in our communities. You'll find it on our YouTube Channel, and while there, don't forget to subscribe, and check out our other content. 

Virtual Networking Day

November 16, 2022

This November 16th, SHN is hosting a live event on our Virtual Platform to network and discuss the healing benefits of engaging in music as a community. In this live event, we will have conversations with community-based organizations that offer music programming to help promote health and wellness in communities. There will also be networking opportunities to discuss the impact of music engagement. View the agenda and access the platform here!

Spotlight On:

Quetzal Flores & Fred Johnson

California-born Chicano Artivista Quetzal Flores' community roots run deep - he's a son of social activists, is an advocate of music in California's local communities, and is the founder of rock band Quetzal, whose collective songwriting has been a key creative exercise in the bands’ development and pedagogy for the past two decades. His resume of cultural work includes being at the helm of movements like Zapatista and Fandango which has facilitated artistic practices between communities despite being borders apart. He is the Director of Arts and Culture for East Los Angeles Community Corp. where his belief that art is a symbiotic resource empowers the communities that he serves. 

International lecturer Fred Johnson aims to teach the world the importance of creative expression as a catalyst for personal and communal empowerment. He’s a student of West African natural healing indigenous music traditions fusing ancient sound traditions with 21st- century scienceJohnson is the community engagement specialist and director of The Arts Legacy and Arts and Healing initiatives at The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida, and is a member of Solo Arts Heals.

See our webinar featuring Quetzal and John in conversation with NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson here on November 16th.

Watch other Sound Health events here.

In Case You Missed it: Writing a Strong Research Plan

Watch a recording here!

Writing a Strong Research Plan” was the second session in the “Music and Health Grant Writing Series”, sponsored by the Sound Health Network in collaboration with the NEA and NIH. This session went into more depth about the research plan section of a grant application.

NEW! Creating Connections

Featuring collaboration interests from Sound Health Network Directory participants.

Andrew Rossetti, PhD, LCAT, MT-BC is the Director of the Louis Armstrong Center for Music & Medicine’s multi-site Music Psychotherapy Program in Oncology at Mount Sinai Healthcare System. He is interested in finding collaborators who are interested in the development of ethical and professional guidelines in professions and activities that use music in healthcare settings.

Bryce Davis at the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is interested in connecting with other arts organizations and collaborators to discuss health and wellness initiatives in the performing arts, including the RPO's new program.

Peter Baguma, PhD, professor at Makerere University in Uganda is seeking US-based research collaborators for a NIH research proposal on the effect of music therapy on the emotional distress of children with cancer.


View the SHN Directory here to discover and connect with stakeholders working at the intersection of music and health. 

Create a Directory profile here. 

In Conversation:

 with Composer and Conductor Eric Whitacre

Grammy Award-winning composer and conductor, Eric Whitacre, is among today’s most popular musicians. His works are programmed worldwide and his ground-breaking Virtual Choirs have united more than 100,000 singers from more than 145 countries. He sat down with SHN's Director of Communications, Indre Viskontas, a few weeks after his moving performance at the Kennedy Center, leading the Children's Chorus of Washington alongside his virtual choir in a rendition of Sing Gently, a piece he wrote during the pandemic. This conversation was slightly edited for clarity. View the full conversation in the video below.  

This is a video conversation between Eric Whitacre and Indre Viskontas.

SHN: Some of our audience might not be aware that you were a pioneer in virtual choirs, well before the pandemic. Can you give us just a hint as to how it all started for you?


Eric Whitacre: Absolutely. It's funny when you say the word pioneer, because of course, while it was happening, I never once thought that it was anything special. It started for me just with a single video. This young woman named Brittany Lucy. She was seventeen years old. I didn't know her. She was from Long Island, and she uploaded a YouTube video singing the soprano part to a piece that I’d written this back in 2009, and a friend sent me the link, and I saw it and thought, what if we get twenty-five people doing what Brittany is doing? And so I made my first very humble virtual choir way back then stitching together all of these individual videos of people uploading their parts.


And, like I said, at the time, I never once thought that anybody outside like my little circle of choir geeks would be interested right? And then the video went viral, and then I was just inundated with emails and posts from singers from around the world, saying, I have to be a part of the next one. And so that's what really started the whole thing, and we've been doing it for twelve years now, I guess.


SHN: What do you think drew in those first people before it took off? Of course, everybody wants to be part of something that's hot. But in the beginning, what do you think it was?


Eric Whitacre: I think there is a certain kind of spirit, and I think it's more prevalent than people on the outside would believe, which is that there are people who just love to sing, and it's a lot of people - you and I both know this, right? - that there are just people who have to sing. I have the soul of a singer. I don't have a great voice. I think that's why I compose because I can't sing that well. But I want to sing. I just ache to do it, and a lot of those first people, and frankly, throughout all the virtual choir projects, they’re not all great singers, but they want to sing, and I think there's something deeply spiritual and human about that that they want to join.


They want to lend their voices to be part of something larger than themselves, and all it takes is just the call to do that, and people see that. It's an amazing thing to see people gravitate to it. It's more than gravity. It's really magnetic. To be pulled into that thing almost without truly understanding how much they want to be a part of it.


SHN: We’re talking this month about music and its role in terms of healing communities. And we wondered what do you hope that the larger public could understand about the power of choral music to heal a community, specifically choral music?


Eric Whitacre: Well, to go back to simple data, there's study after study now, that shows from all different angles, how good singing together actually is for people, and you know it's everything from these massive health benefits - it reduces the levels of stress hormones in your body, and increases all of the good hormones, and it creates a sense of bonding again, and you feel part of something larger than yourself. Even before the moment you sing with a group of people - you're connected! And we all know now that that's a massive part of a healthy lifestyle - feeling [like you're] part of something, feeling involved and feeling valuable.


But then there are all of these social components of singing together. We know especially for children. It makes them better students, regardless of the discipline. They become better students in math, in science, in history, literature, and geography, biology and music, just by making music together. It also increases levels of empathy and compassion, and it just makes people better citizens.


I'm not a religious person, but my music often gets associated with the religious experience, I think, mostly because it's choral music. And I actually think music is much, much bigger than religion. It's maybe the most fundamental way we have of becoming a group - of bonding together as a group on so many different levels - and it happens almost instantly the moment you take a breath together and sing.


People used to sing together all the time. Sometimes every day you'd simply come together in a single place and sing. And I know from personal experience and anecdotal experience and scientific experience that that just makes a better community - makes a stronger, more compassionate community. That's the whole game.


The funny part is that it’s all there already. It's not this wild, magical fix. Just get everybody in a room and start singing, and it's amazing what happens. It’s maybe the oldest toolbox we've got.


I will say too if there are any of you out there who are considering joining a choir and have never done so - I would just encourage you to be brave. Take that one single step, and you'll be like me. You'll be chasing that dragon the rest of your life. You just won't be able to imagine a life without coming together and singing with people.

Stay tuned for more details about last month's Sound Health: Renew/Remix Convening!

Funding Opportunities

Did you miss our webinar on applying for NIH and NEA grants? You can find the slides and webinar presentation with Q&A here.

NEW! NIH (NCCIH/NIA) Music-Based Interventions Research Networks U24

National Institutes of Health (NIH) has published a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to solicit applications for: Research Networks to Promote Multidisciplinary Mechanistic Studies on Music-Based Interventions for Pain or Alzheimer’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease Related Dementias (AD/ADRD) (U24 Clinical Trial Optional). Please refer to FOA: RFA-AT-23-006 for more information. The application deadline for this opportunity is January 10, 2023. Any questions about this FOA, contact us SAVE the DATE: Technical Assistance Webinar – November 30th, 2022 from 1:00-2:00.ET.  

NIH Music and Health: Understanding And Developing Music Medicine (R21 Clinical Trial Optional)

This funding opportunity is intended to: (1) increase our understanding of how music affects the brain when it is used therapeutically and/or (2) use that knowledge to better develop evidence-based music interventions to enhance health or treat specific diseases and disorders.

NIH Music and Health: Understanding And Developing Music Medicine (R01 Clinical Trial Optional)

This funding opportunity is intended to: (1) increase our understanding of how music affects the brain when it is used therapeutically and/or (2) use that knowledge to better develop evidence-based music interventions to enhance health or treat specific diseases and disorders.

NIH Promoting Research on Music and Health: Phased Innovation Award for Music Interventions (R61/R33 Clinical Trial Optional)

The purpose of this FOA is to promote innovative research on music and health with an emphasis on developing music interventions aimed at understanding their mechanisms of action and clinical applications for the treatment of many diseases, disorders, and conditions.

Research Spotlight: Music and Community

Garry and Phelan 2022, An evaluation of training using singing as a tool for community building in changing societies This study uses an ethnographic approach to evaluate "Singing as a Tool for Community Building in Changing Societies' ' facilitated by Musicians without Borders and the Health Research Institute PART-IM. It concludes that programs need to have experienced facilitators and culturally diverse teams, so that it can meet the whole-person needs of facilitators and participants.

o'Rourke et al. 2021, Music Connects Us: Development of a Music-Based Group Activity Intervention to Engage People Living with Dementia and Address Loneliness This paper uses the design of "Music Connects Us", a music-based group activity intervention to promote social connectedness and quality of life. It describes an adapted approach using the framework of the group activity with a goal to test its effects and use in future clinical practice. 

Sanfilippo et al. 2020, Community psychosocial music intervention (CHIME) to reduce antenatal common mental disorder symptoms in The Gambia  This feasibility study looks at a music intervention co-created by local Kanyeleng groups, or "all-female fertility societies [who] sing together and perform ceremonies that promote fertility and support women during pregnancy and throughout motherhood." Results show potential benefits of CHIME in a low and middle-income country context. 

Daykin et al. 2018, What works for wellbeing? A systematic review of wellbeing outcomes for music and singing in adults.  This is a systematic review. Music and singing appears to help many people including older adults. There is a need for more studies that are inclusive of marginalized communities. 

Hallam, Creech, Varvarigou, and McQueen 2012, Perceived benefits of active engagement with making music in community settings The focus for this study was the Music for Life project in the UK which looked at the impact of weekly music activities and saw that it led to improvements in quality of life as well as cognitive/social/emotional/physical benefits.

Related Conferences and Events

On November 9, 2022, The Aspen Institute Arts Program, Health, Medicine & Society Program and Society of Fellows invite you to The Michelle Smith Arts and Culture Series. Titled Music on your Mind: Power of Music to Educate and Heal will honor and celebrate Marin Alsop, 2022 Harman/Eisner Artist in Residence. Alsop will be in conversation with Alexander Pantelyat, co-founder and co-director of the John Hopkins Center for Music and Medicine about the power of music. The panel conversation will occur from 6:00-7:00 pm with refreshments occurring thirty minutes before. RSVP here.

Click here for additional upcoming events!

Job Opportunities in Music and Health

PhD students, The Subjectivity Lab, Dept. of Psychology, Northeastern University

PhD students, Language, Attention, Music, and Audition (LAMA) lab, University of Toronto - Mississauga. Candidates interested in studying the development of auditory processing should email Dr. Christina Vanden Bosch der Nederlanden at

Postdoctoral Fellowship Position The Department of Music at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton is searching for a postdoctoral fellowship position in the area of Music Theory and Cognition. 

Postdocs in Neurodevelopment and Rhythm Processing (Amiens/Dijon, France) Two 3-year post-doc positions are available within the research project PreMusic, funded by the French National Research Agency ANR. This project's aim is to evaluate the impact of early musical interventions in the NICU on preterm infants’ development, starting from 28 weeks gestational age up until 18 months. 

  1. Amiens. Send applications to
  2. Dijon. This post-doc will be mainly in charge of the longitudinal testing program aiming to evaluate the impact of the musical interventions on the rhythmic, cognitive and social development of the preterm infants. Send applications to

Postdoctoral Research Associate and a Research Assistant

The Music, Imaging, and Neural Dynamics Lab at Northeastern University, Boston, MA, is looking to hire a Postdoctoral Research Associate and a Research Assistant (both full-time benefits-eligible) to help with neuroscience studies on music as a form of brain stimulation for Alzheimer’s Disease. 

All applications should be submitted online through Northeastern’s Workday site:

Postdoc and/or grad student to work on rhythm perception in songbirds (Tufts University)

Dr. Aniruddh Patel and Dr. Mimi Kao are looking for a talented postdoc and/or graduate student to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying rhythm perception in songbirds. The project title is Investigating auditory-motor interactions during rhythm perception in a small animal model. This work is an NIH-funded collaboration between Kao's lab (songbird neurobiology) in Biology and Patel's lab (music cognition) in Psychology at Tufts University. 


Graduate Trainee at MAPLE (Music, Acoustics, Perception and LEarning) Lab at McMaster University has one opening for a new graduate trainee beginning Fall

2023. The successful applicant will join an interdisciplinary, SSHRC-funded project exploring musical emotion from three perspectives: experimental (music cognition), analytical (music theory/musicology), and computational (music information retrieval). Specific questions beyond those addressed on the application page should be directed to

Dr. Michael Schutz (

PhD Positions available in Auditory/Music Perception and Communication

The SoNIC (Science of Neural, Interpersonal Communication) Lab at the University of Rochester is recruiting graduate students interested in a PhD in Brain and Cognitive Sciences for the fall of 2023. PhD students in the BCS program will have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering, and Data Science, as well as the Eastman School of Music, one of the world’s premier music conservatories, and participate in a quarterly Music Cognition Symposium on campus. For more information about applying, visit and, and feel free to contact Dr. Piazza ( with any questions. Applications are due on December 4.

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