The Music Exchange: The Music in my Head – Friend or Foe?

Hearing music in one’s head is extremely common, but relatively little is known about how this regular feature of our mental lives relates to our wider wellbeing.

So-called ‘earworms’ have a reputation for being intrusive, but we might also ask in what ways, and in what contexts, it is helpful to imagine music.

  • To what extent does the music in our head act as a form of mental company, serve therapeutic goals, distract us from emotional experience, or even entertain our ‘mind’s ear’?
  • What can musical imagery researchers learn about imagination and mental health from different disciplines?
  • What opportunities exist for academic researchers to collaborate with clinical practitioners to support people who suffer from intrusive musical imagery?
  • What cultural differences exist in relation to how we feel about imagining music?

These and related issues will be explored during a panel discussion with BBC Radio Leeds presenter Andrew Edwards, musicologist Jan Hemming (Kassel University), neuropsychologist Rebecca Schaefer (Leiden University), and psychologist Ira Hyman (Western Washington University). The discussion will be chaired and introduced by Dr Freya Bailes, Associate Professor in the School of Music.

The event is free to attend, open to all, and will be of interest to the general public as well as musicians, health practitioners, and researchers from a wide range of disciplines interested in the significance of imagining music in our daily lives.

This event is the third in The Music Exchange (TMX) – a new research series by the School of Music at the University of Leeds. The aim of the series is to foster the development of new partnerships with non-academic groups and organisations. Using staff research interests as a springboard, TMX seeks to develop conversations that bring together interconnected voices, bridging the gap between research and industry.

This event will run simultaneously, in-person at the Clothworkers’ Centenary Concert Hall Foyer, and online, via interactive webinar.

Please book your ticket via Eventbrite.