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: Winter 2023

Music Education and Educating with Music

Up Next:

Webinar: What Music Teaches Us: A Conversation about Music Education and

Educating Using Music

February 28th, 2023

Our next webinar will be released on February 28 2022. We'll be talking to Grammy-nominated music educator Alice Tsui & founder of the #HipHopEd Social Movement Dr. Christopher Emdin on how music's role in education can be more than a memory enhancement, and how music can foster students' wellbeing, brain health, and social development. You'll find it on our YouTube Channel, and while there, don't forget to subscribe, and check out our other content. 

Virtual Platform Live Day: Integrative Health and Music

March 22nd, 2023

This March, SHN is hosting another Live Day on our Virtual Platform to network and discuss integrative health and music. In this live event, we will have conversations with organizations that offer integrative health options involving music to enhance health and well-being, moderated by Dr. Sheri Robb. There will also be networking opportunities. View the agenda and access the platform here!

Spotlight On:

Alice Tsui, Music Educator

Alice Tsui is a woman of many titles. As an Asian American/Chinese American pianist who grew up in Brooklyn, New York, she was educated in its public school system, after which she attended New York University where she studied Piano Performance. She received a Bachelor of Music degree, followed by a Master of Arts in Music Education. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate (ABD) in music education at Boston University.

In October of 2022, The Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum nominated Tsui as one of twenty-five semifinalists for its Music Educator Award. The award recognizes current educators who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the music education field and demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in schools and using music to promote health and wellbeing.

Join us for the premiere of our upcoming webinar featuring Tsui and Dr. Christopher Emdin here on February 28th, 2023.

Watch other Sound Health events here.

Creating Connections: Highlighting collaboration interests from

Sound Health Network Directory participants

Daniel Kenner, M.A., is a playwright and actor who recently created an ethnodrama titled “A Window at the Moment” about using music as a treatment for the improvement of cognitive function in people living with dementia. Twenty-two participants attempting to reimagine, redesign and reform long term care were interviewed - people living with dementia, caregivers, music and occupational therapists, geriatricians, culture change specialists, professors and pharmaceutical researchers - and the script was created word for word from the qualitative data of eight of those interviews. He is interested in collaborations that might help move the script forward to a table read or fully-realized staged play, as well as hearing about opportunities for funding and presenting at health conferences for music and memory.

Barbara Drew, emeritus Professor of Nursing and Medicine (Cardiology) at UCSF, is part of a non-profit program called “Music on Wheels” which provides free concerts by professional musicians in senior residences. Dr. Drew is interested in participating in clinical trials related to music and health as well as working with graduate/post-graduate students interested in the topic. 

Joshua Hill, an LA-based musician and multimedia artist who is part of Song Cycle, created a music and dementia documentary project when his father was diagnosed with dementia. The show was performed at REDCAT, a theatre in the Walt Disney Complex. Joshua is looking for collaborators who can not only expand the work he did into a bigger community, but is also interested in research collaborations and advocacy for music and dementia.


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 Dayvin Hallmon of The Black String Triage Ensemble

This is a video about Black Strings Triage Ensemble as seen on TMJ4 Newss

Great ideas often start with a ‘What if...’ Serving as a church musician for nearly thirty years, Dayvin Hallmon’s ‘what if’ wasn’t an exception.  While a county board supervisor in Kenosha, Washington, before the wake of the George Floyd protests, he wondered what would happen if black and brown string players played a concert that wasn’t Bach or Beethoven?” And “what would happen, if, after the immediate aftermath of a shooting, those players arrived on the scene?”

Hallmon didn’t have an answer for his questions. While sitting with the idea over a few months, time began to slowly reveal the answer, like pieces fitting together in a jigsaw puzzle. Then, an opportunity presented itself to explore the idea further, when Hallmon became unemployed. He decided to move to Milwaukee, in September of 2018, and went to work finding players and a church for rehearsals. And the Black String Triage Ensemble was born.

The Process

"I start thinking about the music in October", says Hallmon. "During January and February, I have music arrangements. By April we do rehearsals and that is the only time there is a scheduled event.  The first weekend of June, and continuing three consecutive weekends, on Fridays and Saturdays through July and August, the Black Triage Ensemble is on call to play scenes". 


The players gather on those evenings, with food and drink provided by board members, about to comb through 911 calls in anticipation of playing a scene. 

The Music

The music program is designed in advance, two programs for each season that the ensemble plays. The season occurs over a span of a few weeks, in the summer and on Friday/Saturday pairings.

The music is based upon the five stages of grief. But as Hallmon notes, “I don’t know if as people of color if acceptance – the fifth stage – is enough. Something must convince us that things will be better.” Thus, the Black String Triage Ensemble has added a sixth stage: faith. 

Music serves to convince individuals that there is grounding to their pain, that they don’t have to remain jarred. Once the ensemble arrives at the scene, they assess the situation, and stage of grief, and that dictates which song they'll begin with. The music becomes a conversation between victims and the players.  “I have to listen to where the people are and musically respond to that. I have to hear them spiritually and emotionally and deliver music that speaks to that condition. In summation, it is part psychiatrist and part pharmacist in terms of making the music choices.”

The goal of The Black String Triage Ensemble is to respond in the immediate aftermath of an event, and is usually two and a half hours after an incident has occurred. Hallmon is sensitive to “not missing the moment. There’s a sweet spot to speaking to people’s emotional need. There is the moment when it sinks in versus when it happens. We don’t want to show up too early nor do we want to show up too late.”

The Players

The ensemble’s name includes three important details; the players all use string instruments, Black for the context of the Transatlantic Slave Trade which exported people from Africa, and Triage for the medical term that defines rationing care to those who are in need the most. The players are volunteers and become part of the ensemble by invitation. They are all aged 18 and up. 

“It depends on what people are going through in the immediate moment.” Hallmon tells the story of scene that included a man shot while driving his car. A man came onto the scene almost out of nowhere he recalled. He hollered, cursed, and identified the man shot, as a friend of his. 

The ensemble began to play, ‘Sometimes, I Feel Like a Motherless Child,’ originally performed by Fisk Jubilee Singers in the 1870’s. “I noticed that people started physically gathering together, getting closer, putting their arms together." 

The ensemble aims to use the music to break down the incident so that those in the neighborhood, including family of the victims may find some peace, even if that means it comes in a restful night of sleep. 

The Scene

Hallmon determines a viable scene for the ensemble to play by monitoring 911 calls on the evenings that they are on call. Admittedly, it’s a tricky situation, as they want to show up to a scene where there is valid activity. Since they are not in coordination with the police, the work of parsing through details like ‘shots fired’ or knowledge of a known problematic area, is determined by them. 

Once dispatched and on scene, the ensemble, none of whom are music therapists, don’t speak to anyone present. Chaplains travel with the ensemble and help in their own way, which allows the string players to focus on the music. 

Hallmon admits this focus can be a challenge when you have a drunk grandmother proclaim they are too loud, a spectator who wants to join the ensemble in song, or someone local to the neighborhood that is extremely chatty. To that end, upon arrival to the scene, the ensemble endeavors to set up so that they might be heard by the people without compromising their space. 

"I try to look for someone who is grieving heavily, but we don’t want to have a cello in their face,” said Dallmon. 

Finding this balance has taken some trial and error which has resulted in successfully navigating the complicated dynamics of their peace and music keeping mission. They might find themselves playing ‘Redemption Song’ by Bob Marley to represent faith, Richard Smallwood’s ‘Total Praise’ for an 80-year grandmother who could know the song too, ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ by Sam Cooke for the stage of grief that is acceptance. 

“If we can cushion the blow of tragedy, everyone’s healthier,” said Dallmon.

To learn more about The Black String Triage Ensemble visit here and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

Funding Opportunities

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.

NEA Research Labs

The NEA Research Labs program funds transdisciplinary research teams grounded in the social and behavioral sciences, yielding empirical insights about the arts for the benefit of arts and non-arts sectors alike.

NEA Research Grants in the Arts

Research Grants in the Arts support research studies that investigate the value and/or impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and/or with other domains of American life.

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, with a particular focus on music and health grants.

Research Spotlight: Music and Education

Wang et al., 2022  Impact of Music Education on Mental Health of Higher Education Students: Moderating Role of Emotional Intelligence  This paper found a link between music education and mental health, with emotional intelligence moderating this relationship. The study found that music has numerous measurable physiological effects and that listening on a daily basis may be beneficial for general health and well-being.


Said and Abramides, 2020 Effect of Music Education on the promotion of school performance in children This study examines the benefits of musical learning associated with various areas of education. Children were surveyed to assess the impact of music education on school performance and academic competence. 

Bates, 2019 Standing at the Intersection of Race and Class in Music Education  This essay is a critical analysis of social class with respect to American social justice scholarship in music education. In particular, the author explores how class and race interact and the benefits of the intersectional alliance between critical class and antiracist scholarship.

Durham, 2018 Baltimore OrchKids: An Examination of Student Outcomes  This study was sponsored by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and was a quasi-experimental analysis of the effects of OrchKids' out-of-school-time (OST) program participation on student outcomes. It found that students who participated in OrchKids for more than a year had higher average school attendance, fewer chronic absences from school, and were less likely to receive school suspensions. The authors suggest that school-based art programs may help retain families in the district. 

Ye, 2022 Research on the Influence of Music Education of Urban Left-behind Children's Mental Health and Misbehavior Habits.  This article looks at music education as a tool to help vulnerable children with mental health and behavioral habits and found music education to have positive effects on the children's mental health and on mitigating misbehavior.

Related Conferences and Events

Come see our panel at the 2023 NAMM Show!

Sound Health: Defining the Building Blocks of Music-Based Interventions

Saturday April 15th, 2023 9:30-11am

Anaheim Convention Center, Level 2, 212AB

Our Co-Director Dr. Charles Limb will be moderating a conversation with our Director of Communications, Dr. Indre Viskontas, Cognitive Neuroscientist Dr. Assal Habibi and other guests TBD.

Click here for additional upcoming events!

Job Opportunities in Music and Health

Check out music and health job opportunities on our website here!

Multiple Anticipated Positions in the Music, Social Engagement, and Development Workgroup in the Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab, Nashville, TN (PI: MIriam Lense, PhD)

  • Music Therapist (Part or Full-Time) *Note: combined music therapist/postdoctoral fellow position possible for candidates with both clinical and research training
  • Postdoctoral Fellow (Part or Full-Time) *Clinical experience/skills preferred


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:

·     Postdoctoral Research Associate posting


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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