Music, Mind & Body

10 Nov - 15 Dec

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Why does music have such an enormous impact on our minds and bodies? What are those notes, chords and rhythms actually doing to us?

In this Series you will learn:

  • How music impacts brain function and human behaviour

  • Why certain songs stick in our head

  • The impact of music on cognitive and motor skills, spatial-temporal learning, and symptoms of stress, pain and depression

  • How people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s respond to music

  • Why silence is a powerful tool in music for creating suspense and emotion

From its effect on our memories, to the science behind our favourite earworms and most heartfelt break-up songs, this Series reaches across music’s ability to move and change us in unexpected ways. We'll be joined by experts from the fields of psychology, neuroscience and the arts to explore music's effect on our minds, bodies and cultures.

So, join us in The Garden for Music, Mind & Body and learn how science is discovering that an art form as old as humankind itself, is finding new ways to teach us.

View talks lineup
Dates10 Nov - 15 Dec
Talks structure30 minute lecture20 minute Q&A

3 talks in this Garden Series



Philosophy & Religion
Psychology & Behaviour
What is the power of silence?

Silence is one of the most important elements when writing music and silent compositions like John Cage’s 4’33” can transform our perspective of what music is and help us to develop a more nuanced understanding of the world. Read more

Dr Naomi Woo

Royal Opera House

Dr Naomi Woo is a prominent young Canadian conductor and pianist, recognised by CBC Radio, ARTV, and Flare magazine as a rising star on the Canadian classical music scene. Currently Assistant Conductor of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Naomi is a finalist for the position of Artistic and Music Director of l'Orchestre Symphonique de l'Estuaire, and a member of Tapestry Opera’s Women in Musical Leadership program and the Orchestre Metropolitain Montreal’s inaugural conducting academy. Following debuts with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, Regina Symphony Orchestra, and Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra in 2021-22, this season sees her debuts with the Calgary Philharmonic, Orchestra NOW (New York), the Ann Arbor Symphony, and at LSO St. Luke’s with the ensemble Tangram Sound in London. On the opera stage, she conducts the Canadian premiere of Du Yun’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Angel’s Bone in Vancouver, Ellis Ludwig-Leone’s The Night Falls in New York City, and assists at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London.

When she's not riding her bicycle and enjoying outdoor swimming, Naomi is a board member of the Winnipeg Repair Education and Cycling Hub.

Read more



Science & Nature
Psychology & Behaviour
What does music do to the brain?

Thu, 8 Dec 2022 6:00 pm UTC


Cognitive neuroscience is pushing boundaries and is now able to pinpoint specific signatures of the brain, differentiating between nuanced emotions like how we experience awe and beauty - vastly complex feelings that, until now, have been out of reach. Read more

Dr Diana Omigie


From the age of 17, Dr Diana Omigie knew she wanted to understand the root of who we are by studying the brain. She has always been particularly fascinated by why, as a species, we produce and have an affinity for, the arts.

Diana studied her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at University College London, during which time she carried out research stays in UCSD and Columbia University. She went on to take her MSc and PhD at Goldsmiths University of London and these allowed her to specialise in music cognition and neuroscience. After carrying out fellowships in Paris (Brain and Spine institute), New York (New York University), and Frankfurt (MPI for Empirical Aesthetics), she returned to Goldsmiths where she now holds a lectureship in Psychology and runs the MSc in Music Mind and Brain.

Diana's interest in this subject comes from her own personal love of music and the arts and a fascination with how they affect us. When not playing the piano, she enjoys reading everything she can about arts and culture and taking long walks with her husband and friends.

Read more



Science & Nature
Psychology & Behaviour
Why do certain songs stick?

Thu, 15 Dec 2022 6:00 pm UTC


Yes, earworms are annoying, but have you ever stopped to think what they reveal about our brains? They are the price we pay for an astounding relationship our minds and bodies share with music that lasts our entire lives. Read more

Dr Victoria Williamson

Dr Victoria Williamson is trained in multiple academic disciplines having completed her Bachelors with Honours in Psychology at the University of York, Masters in the Psychology of Music at Sheffield and her PhD in the Psychology of Musical Memory (2008). She has worked as a Professor of Performance Science at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland, a Lecturer at The University of Sheffield, and as a Visiting Scholar at The University of Rochester in New York, USA.

She has published over 30 peer-reviewed research papers on diverse aspects of music impact including memory, amusia, sleep, ear-worms and wellbeing. Her research work has been covered in international media including the BBC, TED, the Conversation and the Wall Street Journal, and she has given presentations to worldwide universities, festivals, TV, and schools. She is the author of 'You Are The Music' (Icon Books) and the webmaster of the popular educational blog at

Victoria lives in Barcelona with her husband and 2 children. Her lifelong passion is music and she is trained in classical Spanish guitar. She also loves cooking and even worked as a sous chef to pay her way through university, dancing (especially salsa. merengue and bachata) and immersing herself in biographies and travelogues.

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