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Major grant: When brain research and music interact

Brain researcher and jazz musician Peter Vuust from AU and AUH conducts research into how music affects the brain. He has just received DKK 52 million from the Danish National Research Foundation towards a brand new basic research centre: The Danish National Research Foundation's Centre for 'Music in the Brain' (MIB).

2014.10.21 | Helle Horskjær Hansen

Music is emotion, says brain researcher and jazz musician Peter Vuust. He conducts research into what happens to people who listen to music.

Music is emotion, says brain researcher and jazz musician Peter Vuust. He conducts research into what happens to people who listen to music.

What happens to people who listen to music? Where does music live in the brain? And how can musicians touch listeners' feelings? Those are some of the questions that form the focal point of Peter Vuust’s research, during which he has spent the past 13 years using music in brain research.

In 2006 Peter Vuust formed his own research group that seeks to map how music is processed in the brain. This research group is a collaboration between Aarhus University and the Royal Academy of Music and is affiliated with the Centre for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience (CFIN) at Aarhus University Hospital, which is an interdisciplinary centre for brain research founded by the Danish National Research Foundation. This is also the fund that is supporting Peter Vuust and the research group to the tune of DKK 52 million.

"The brain is designed to predict the future and encode patterns. And if you know how, where and when the patterns are formed, then this knowledge can map new brain functions. This can in turn lead to potential clinical applications in the treatment of diseases. Furthermore, it may be important to our understanding of how we learn to play music," explains Peter Vuust, who in addition to conducting research at Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital, is also professor at the Royal Academy of Music. As jazz bassist and composer he has contributed to more than 85 albums and has also published five albums with his own group, the Peter Vuust Quartet.

The new 'Music in the Brain' centre is a unique collaboration between AU, AUH and the Royal Academy of Music. This collaboration makes it possible to use the newest brain scanning methods to shed light on questions arising out of a deep understanding of, and practical experience with, the basic workings of music.

"The research has the potential to influence the way in which we play, teach, use and listen to music. At the same time, it is also significant for our understanding of human brain functions in general," says Peter Vuust, who makes use of his background in music in his medical research.

Further information

Professor, PhD Peter Vuust
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine
Aarhus University Hospital, Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, (CFIN)
Direct tel.: +45 7846 1617

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